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#NTUDI Product Design Student Showcase Spotlight: Lara Smith

Today’s Spotlight piece features BA (Hons) Furniture and Product Design student Lara Smith.

Lara Smith, The Un Dressing Table
The Un Dressing Table by Lara Smith, BA (Hons) Furniture and Product Design

While we are deeply disappointed that the summer degree show is unable to go ahead as planned, we are excited that the NTU Design Industries' (NTUDI) Product Design Online Student Showcase will launch on Friday 19 June 2020.

In the run up to the launch of the virtual event, will be sharing a series of student projects from across our BA (Hons) Product Design, BSc (Hons) Product Design and BA (Hons) Furniture and Product Design courses through #NTUDI Spotlights.

Un Dressing Table

Designed to provide an intimate space to undress from the stress of modern life, to settle, breathe and focus. The Un Dressing Table is a serene space designed for self-care routines. In our hectic lives we are often bombarded with distractions and rarely allow ourselves time to slow down and switch off.

Contemporary furniture design company Joined + Jointed approached Nottingham Trent University with a brief for students to design a dressing table for their range. Lara Smith took the opportunity to explore what a dressing table, previously a piece of furniture designed for applying makeup, could become in modern day society. Intrigued by the idea of furniture made to be experienced by the senses, she proposed a holistic piece which drew from aspects of Japanese Zen meditation.

Constructed from oak, finished in a way that looks pale and raw, the Un Dressing Table surrounds you in inviting materials that are natural to the touch. Simple, refined storage is an important feature of the table as organisation and tidiness play a role in our relaxation. Instead of traditional drawers, the table has sturdy cotton baskets with solid oak bases which can be tucked away.

These add a tactile depth to the piece. Inspired by patterns found in Japanese construction, the table’s legs have repeating slats to let light and air freely pass through. By creating the illusion of solidness from one view and openness from another, the legs add to the sense of calming depth. When the light shines through them, shadows reveal precise forms. The pure yet striking structure of the Un Dressing Table is reminiscent of Japanese architecture and spiritual culture.

Lara Smith, The Un Dressing Table
Lifestyle objects accompany the Un Dressing Table

Lara has designed a small range of lifestyle objects to accompany the Un Dressing Table. The aim is to encourage people to create rituals which allow time to unwind and reconnect with themselves.

This range is formed of three different sized oak valet trays, glass bell jars for skin care products, a brass and oak jewellery tree for treasured items, a glass carafe and a teapot with cups.

Speaking about the project, Lara said: “As humans I think we need spaces where our minds can be quiet and not overstimulated. The Un Dressing Table provides this.

“People forget to consciously appreciate the natural beauty of life and yet it’s a very calming thing to do.”

Lara describes her work as simplistically beautiful and functional and says it draws inspiration from both historical and contemporary design. She highlighted French Architect and Designer Charlotte Perriand as her muse while designing the Un Dressing Table.

Lara Smith

Find out more about the NTU Design Industries' Virtual Student Showcase on our website and follow @NTUDI on Instagram for all the latest updates.

Published on 3 June 2020
  • Subject area: Art and design
  • Category: Current students; School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment