Students’ backdrop of recycled materials adorns fashion show

A photo backdrop made of hundreds of repurposed milk jugs were designed and built by Texas A&M environmental design students to complement an Austin fashion show featuring models clad in recycled materials and reconstructed textiles.

Those attending the Sept. 24, 2016 event, the Trash Makeover Challenge, posed for photos in front of the eight-foot tall, six-foot wide, three-dimensional backdrop that was crafted by students in a studio led by Weiling He, associate professor of architecture.

The project compelled first-year students to investigate basic but critical architectural design issues such as composition, space, scale, material, structure, and craftsmanship, said He.

“As a two-week introductory exercise, I chose a hands-on design and making process to stimulate their curiosity and help them pose questions that will lead to future design inquires and explorations,” she said.

The backdrop was accented with LED lights installed by visualization faculty members Morgan Jenks and Jinsil Hwaryoung Seo, who developed a sensor system that activated the lights based on a viewer’s proximity to the installation.

The milk jugs in the piece were previously part of “Milky Way,” a He-designed installation that was on display last December at the Brazos Valley African-American Museum.

He also designed “Plastic Poetry,” a giant installation of plastic grocery bags that was part of an exhibit at the University of Texas in 2013.

The backdrop studio project was supported by the College of Architecture, The Institute of Applied Creativity, Department of Architecture, and Department of Visualization.

posted October 11, 2016