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Made in Houston: UH design students create and sell hand-crafted products just in time for the holidays

Students at UH's College of Architecture have been getting a crash course in the business of design this fall semester with "Architecture and the Object" — an innovative course that fuses the artistry of designing beautifully-crafted objects with the accounting and sales work needed to get those items into the hands of customers.

In August, groups of three or four students were given a budget of $200 and tasked with seeing their design object from concept and manufacturing through marketing and retail.

At a public opening on Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m., the teams are unveiling their final products at Rice Village's PH Design Shop, where the limited-edition items will be for sale throughout the holiday season.

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Beer Sling
by Dillon Phillips, 
Mike Rhodes and 
Michael Viviano

Retail price: $94
Description: Bottle tote in natural vegetable-tanned leather

"Students often get stopped short at the design stage without considering whether their concept will sell," Cord Bowen, the UH professor who launched the course in early 2011, told CultureMap during a recent interview.

"With this class, we wanted to show how the whole process works . . . to have students think about the final item on the retail shelf before they even reach the design phase."

After working with the Peel Gallery and Space design store on Dunlavy for the course's two inaugural semesters, Bowen has arranged a partnership with PH Design to serve as a mentor retailer. Store owners work directly with students, giving feedback on proposals and sales pitches before ultimately displaying the items in their shop space on Rice Boulevard.

Click to the right to see full line.

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Beer Sling (folded side view)
by Dillon Phillips, 
Mike Rhodes and 
Michael Viviano

Retail price: $94
Description: Bottle tote in natural vegetable-tanned leather

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Pebble Concrete Bowls
by Hung Pham, 
Ricardo Sepulveda
, Bradly Hirdes
 and Manuel Mandujano
Retail: $30 for one, $25 each for two or more
Description: Cast concrete tabletop containers perfect for anything from office supplies to plantlife

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Pebble Concrete Bowls (another view)
by Hung Pham, 
Ricardo Sepulveda
, Bradly Hirdes
 and Manuel Mandujano
Retail: $30 for one, $25 each for two or more
Description: Cast concrete tabletop containers perfect for anything from office supplies to plantlife

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Leather Fold-up Hand Bag
by
 Amy Vo, Cindy Bang and Erin Fergusen
Retail price:
 $60
Description: 
Multifunctional leather fold-up bag handmade in Houston

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Leather Fold-up Hand Bag (unfolded view)
by
 Amy Vo, Cindy Bang and Erin Fergusen
Retail price:
 $60
Description: 
Multifunctional leather fold-up bag handmade in Houston

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Looseleaf Padfolio
by
 Devlin (Tri) Tan, 
Katie Lance and 
Rachel Lee

Retail price: $40
Description: Crafted from wool felt, includes chipboard folder and pad of paper

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Looseleaf Padfolio (unfolded view)
by
 Devlin (Tri) Tan, 
Katie Lance and 
Rachel Lee

Retail price: $40
Description: Crafted from wool felt, includes chipboard folder and pad of paper

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CG Pencil Roll
by Dana Trammel, Stephanie Balbin
 and Adam Nguyen
Retail price: $62
Description: Portable, functional and handmade in Texas from the finest #8 blue canvas and leather

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CG Pencil Roll
by Dana Trammel, Stephanie Balbin
 and Adam Nguyen
Retail price: $62
Description: Portable, functional and handmade in Texas from the finest #8 blue canvas and leather

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Sketchbook Sleeve
by
 Juan Ponce
, Adan Razo and 
Joshua Caluag
Retail price: $30
Description: Bison leather notebook sleeve with either neon green, red or yellow waxed threading

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Sketchbook Sleeve (open view)
by
 Juan Ponce
, Adan Razo and 
Joshua Caluag
Retail price: $30
Description: Bison leather notebook sleeve with either neon green, red or yellow waxed threading

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MIN Container (in gray)
by Mirna Santillan, 
Irving Gomez
 and Negar Nikouei
Retail price: $28
Description: Made from 100 percent wool felt and hand-stitched with thick neon thread

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MIN Container (in granite color)
by Mirna Santillan, 
Irving Gomez
 and Negar Nikouei
Retail price: $28
Description: Made from 100 percent wool felt and hand-stitched with thick neon thread

Photo by © Cord Bowen/Flickr
UH "Architecture of the object" class at PH Design, December 2012, wallet

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Double Pocket Wallet
by Ivan Lopez, Luis Baena, Ignacio Perezanta
Retail Price: $38
Description: Hand sewn card/cash holder in buffalo leather

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Double Pocket Wallet  (open view)
by Ivan Lopez, Luis Baena, Ignacio Perezanta
Retail Price: $38
Description: Hand sewn card/cash holder in buffalo leather