A group of SFA students recently ventured to Chicago, Ill., as part of an interior design class focusing on commercial furniture and architecture. Pictured, from left, are: (front row) Shannin Williams, Lauren Terrizzi, Sally Swearingen, Cassie Welch, Loren Brown, Imelda Badders, Sharon Watkins, Adriana Lopez, (back row) Suzanna Lawler, Donna Youngblood, Katye Adams, Michelle Carr, Jennifer Hamilton, Tiara Whitsell, Kristy Zajac, Reagan Peck and Andres Penafiel.

A group of Stephen F. Austin State University students recently ventured to Chicago, Ill., in fulfillment of a summer interior design class focusing on commercial furniture and architecture.

The 16 students, accompanied by Professor Sally Ann Swearingen, started the trip at the annual National Exposition of Contact Furnishings located in the Merchandise Mart in downtown Chicago.

"NeoCon is the largest trade show of its kind in North America and offers a unique showcase of residential and commercial furniture," Swearingen said. "The students learned about new commercial furnishings designed by famous furniture designers while touring many furniture showrooms located inside the Merchandise Mart. "

In addition, students studied architecture throughout Chicago, including Millennium Park and the Art Institute of Chicago Museum where they studied famous works of art such as "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" by George Seurat.

The group traveled to Oak Park and Hyde Park to study the work of famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The students toured Wright's house and museum and the Frederick C. Robie House, which Wright designed. Students also studied Wright's Taliesin house in Spring Green, Wis., and learned about his architectural designs with cantilever forms, concrete and natural elements.

While in Wisconsin, students also toured Kruger International, a commercial furniture manufacturing facility in Green Bay, and learned about the mass production of furniture. Students also visited Integra Seating in Walworth and learned how upholstered furniture is produced.

Each student was required to complete a research project, a research presentation and a journal assignment in order to earn credit for the class. In addition, each student was assigned a location visited on the trip and required to research the destination and present their findings to the class.

"The interior design students experienced the world of design in Chicago and gained a wealth of knowledge," Swearingen said.