Vignelli Center
for Design Studies
Rochester Institute of Technology


Archives in the Vignelli Center Massimo and Lella Vignelli Papers Product Timecapsule Additional Collections Cary Graphic Design Archive Collections




About Product Timecapsule

A time capsule is an historic cache of goods and/or information, usually intended as a method of communication with future generations. Product Timecapsule, a Vignelli Center for Design Studies Archives initiative, collects significant artifacts which, in conjunction with the final products they represent, create a multifaceted understanding of the design process. Each acquisition tells a rich story of its place in the history of design. Below is a selection of Product Timecapsule collections.



Ants by Arc Works (Stan Rickel)



ArcWorks Design was conceived as a sustainable in-house product development and manufacturing division of Arc of Monroe in Rochester, NY, cele­brating differences and enriching social/community outreach. The aspiration of its in-house design teams, along with guest artists is to produce objects with a unique story that invites participation and fosters a means of discovering the ethereal relationship between the producer/creator and the user.


“Stan has really captivated us with his enthusiasm and talents,” said Moylan. He has been very, very generous with his time. He has introduced us to the world of design and given us the opportunity to launch an exciting new business line. We always wanted to have a sustainable product we could call our own, so this is a dream come true.”


Rickel firmly believes in the abilities of individuals with developmental disabilities and feels that their unique character and gifts can enrich the field of industrial design. Ants, first design launched by ArcWorks Design Team overall intent of the project, however, is not philanthropic. Stan Rickel, RIT’s Graduate Director for Industrial Design, is the driving force behind the launch of this new initiative.

“This gets away from traditional manufacturing and takes advantage of a more human side of design,” he said. “As consumers, we’re so far removed from the life of the objects we use. We want to put a face and a story on these furniture pieces and make each one different from another. We want a strong bond between the consumer and their product. These pieces and the way they are made will be a celebration of individual character.”- Arc Works




Cubebot, Blockitecture by Areaware (David Weeks)


Areaware, a New York City based manufacturer of functional and unusual everyday objects, has donated several new items to Product Timecapsule. 

Students have already used Areaware’s donation for research and reference tool for Metaproject 03; an industrial design course with an industry partnership, placing student output into a global venue. Areaware is RIT’s industry partner for Metaproject 03. The ‘Design is One’ philosophy exposed by the Vignelli Center for Design Studies will be overlaid into the conversation, linking the work thematically to the Vignelli Center. Through their donation, Areaware is making a major contribution to the education and experiences of young designers. The winning student’s design, Blockitecture, was manufactured and is now available on the Areaware site.

“We try to create thoughtful products that encourage a dialogue between people and their surroundings. We like to think that we have a good sense of humor and that our items are poetic. Our goals are to create objects that inspire an emotional response and to explore design languages as a means of creating new syncretic forms. We wish to create a forum for young and local talent to see their ideas become real and tangible, and to develop their narratives through a larger body of work. We like working with designers who are earnest in their ideals and together, we hope to become a strong voice for American design on the world stage. We believe that appreciation for beauty is central to what it means to be alive and want to embody this principle in even the simplest things.”

Industrial Design professor and Metaproject creator, Josh Owen, states “The donation of these wooden toys to the joint Vignelli Center/ ID Product Timecapsule initiative benchmarks excellence in product design for our students to study in a hands-on way. Experiential learning is tightly intertwined with the language of items like these, which fall in direct lineage of the Bauhaus and Modernist thought. We are delighted to have contemporary examples of good design like these for the students to learn from as they develop their own, related research projects.”

Dovetail Animals, designed by Karl Zahn

Balancing Blocks, designed by Fort Standard

Hanno the Gorilla, designed by David Weeks

Ursa the Bear, designed by David Weeks




Other collections…


Clipt Chair for Cerruti Baleri (Jeff Miller)

Knotted Chair by Droog (Marcel Wanders)

Sparrow Light for Knoll (Antenna Design)

TikTok + LunaTik by MINIMAL (Scott Wilson)

8125 Calculator for Monroe (Josh Owens)

Kobe 9 Basketball Shoe for Nike (Eric Avar)

Injector and Krona Razors for Schick-Eversharp (Martin Glaberson)

100 Series by Uniform Wares (Oliver Fowles and Patrick Bek)

Airline 009 for The Walt Disney Company (Cory Grosser)

Molar Chair by Wendell Castle