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Chair of Industrial Design at RIT remembers Wendell Castle's legacy

Josh Owen
Josh Owen

A friend and colleague of Wendell Castle said the artist was tireless and always enthusiastic about his next venture.

WXXI News spoke with Professor and Chair of RITs Industrial Design program Josh Owen, who came to RIT about eight years ago, and had been working with Castle ever since.

"Always enthusiastic about innovation and about pushing materiality and technology. We brought countless students and faculty into his studio to witness his robot carving away at his new ideas that were otherwise impossible to realize in any other manner."

The celebrated designer and craftsman invented a new way of designing and constructing furniture, where unrestricted forms could be realized.

Owen said Castle’s passion for his work never strayed.

"We were working together on a project in the last year or so to help draw attention to the growth of industrial design program at RIT. And even in these last weeks he was calling for reports on progress."

Owen said he noticed just how excited Castle was about this period of his life, now at this stage where he had so many high level propositions coming his way.

Wendell Castle
Wendell Castle

"He was like a kid in a candy store or a sandbox I guess, thinking about all of the wonderful opportunities he had at his fingertips."

The artist's reach was global, Owen said, recalling a story about a trip he and his wife took to Paris. A gallery there had a couple of Castle's pieces so they decided to swing by.

"Knocked on the door and were received warmly by the staff and when we let them know that we were friends and colleagues of Wendell's they immediately called for champagne and told us, "Tell Wendell to make more work, we can't keep it here! We cant keep it in stock it sells so quickly!"

Castle passed in his Scottsville home on January 20th. He was 85 years old.