Affirming Artifacts: Highlights from the 5-Week Course


In the Affirming Artifacts class—a 5-week course taught by department chair Allan Chochinov, students were asked to “redesign the next thing you throw out.” This could be anything from a piece of food packaging to a Word document, and the students embraced the assignment with rigor and wit. Early assignments were to produce quick 3-dimensional prototypes and large sheets of ideation sketches. In latter weeks students produced exploratory models aimed at expanding the definition of products of design to include critical and discursive design, mass market offerings, advertising campaigns, and design art. Following is an assortment of work produced from the class.

Damon Ahola began by discarding a Band-Aid...

bandaid_02a
bandaid_02a

Then created several sheets of ideation drawings

bandaid_01b
bandaid_01b

Investigated various ideas for prototypes (here we see bandage "tape")

bandaid_02
bandaid_02

And a Post-It bandage

bandaid_03
bandaid_03

Ultimately settling on a first aid caddy aimed at children (rapid prototyped in this photo)

bandaid_04
bandaid_04

That comes along with an educational booklet (renderings in this photo)

bandaid_05
bandaid_05

A packaging study

bandaid_06
bandaid_06

Reimagined as a pice of design art

bandaid_07
bandaid_07

And then reimagined as a movie poster

babybel1
babybel1

Willy Chan began with Babybel cheese wrappers...

babybel2
babybel2

...and turned them into a candy-bar inspired form

babybel3
babybel3

Some packaging studies

shine1
shine1

Cassandra Michel explored take-out coffee, and items to help people keep alert. She settled on exploring the notion of "power naps" and designed a device equipped with LED lights to slowly wake up the wearer

shine1b
shine1b

In use

shine2
shine2

Along with an app that let's the user define nap duration and color of LEDs

eears_proto
eears_proto

David Hu was inspired by a bendy straw, and began investigated morphology for a hearing amplifier

eears_triplet
eears_triplet

An advanced prototype with packaging

eears_ted
eears_ted

Recontextualized as a conference give-away

eears_ows
eears_ows

And then reappropriated as form of civil disobedience

qtipbranch
qtipbranch

Matt Barber began with a discarded Q-Tip, and began exploring other embodiments of the artifact

qtip_ad
qtip_ad

Conceived as the tip of a nail...

qtipictureframe
qtipictureframe

...and seen in use to protect a precious picture frame

qtipearing
qtipearing

Finally, an exploration of the artifact as jewelry

qtipart
qtipart

And then as a piece of conceptual art

bagl1
bagl1

Sam Moore began with a paper bag from a bagel purchase and was quickly inspired by how bagels are displayed in store windows

bagl1b
bagl1b

Turning the rope into a bag

bagl2
bagl2

And a comp for a website

orain3
orain3

Gaïa Orain discarded a paper baguette bag and began mapping

orain1
orain1

Reimagined line of bags and accessories for transporting bread and other foodstuffs

orain2
orain2

Created a line of customizable cut-and-sew food pouch patterns

orain4
orain4

And the resultant pouch

bagassea
bagassea

Emi Yasaka discarded a sugar packet and explore alternative ways to sweeten beverages

bagasse0
bagasse0

Combined sugar and creamer in capsules

bagasse1
bagasse1

With packaging

mindeas0
mindeas0

Mansi Gupta began with a discarded exfoliant package and explored kits aimed at relaxation and renewal

mindeas1
mindeas1

A loose "card diary" focused on mindfulness and reflection

mindeas2
mindeas2

A line of greeting cards acknowledging overwork and stress

octapusking1
octapusking1

Joseph Weissgold started with a piece of tin foil...

octapusking2
octapusking2

...turned it into a theme park teaching visitors about materials and production methods...

octapusking3
octapusking3

...and then into a children's book

metrocard1
metrocard1

Clay Kippen began with a discarded subway metrocard

metrocard2
metrocard2

Parts for a DIY perching "stool" for inside and outside subway stations

metrocard3
metrocard3

In use

metrocard4
metrocard4

An alternate approach: Tagging an image in "seating deserts"—areas devoid of places to sit

pop-uptowels0
pop-uptowels0

Katie McElroy discarded a piece of facial tissue...

pop-uptowels0a
pop-uptowels0a

...and explored "interleaving" other kinds of products

pop-uptowels1
pop-uptowels1

Ultimately arriving at an interleaved pop-up towel dispenser

table_sanding
table_sanding

Richard Clarkson took a look at receipts and decided to build a table dedicated to sorting, shredding, saving, and discarding them

table_detail
table_detail

Table with legend

table_probe
table_probe

Creating a heat map to study user interaction

teatogether1
teatogether1

Rona Binay designed a table system with fixed saucers to invite strangers to drink tea together and socialize

teatogether2
teatogether2

An alternate view

teatogether3
teatogether3

The design embodied as an editorial cartoon

teatogether4
teatogether4

And as a gallery installation

zena1
zena1

Zena Verda Pesta discarded a paper pizza plate

zena2
zena2

Created a boxed set of books and activities

zena3
zena3

And an ad campaign highlighting the issues

zipline1
zipline1

David Thonis discarded a padded envelope and pursued investigations around transport and protection

zipline2
zipline2

Exploring the notion of a zipline transport

zipline3
zipline3

Embodied in USPS packacing

zico1
zico1

Charlotta Hellichius began with a discarded Zico package

zico2
zico2

Explored the notion of using coconut shells as a building material

zico3
zico3

Translated, as well as combined, all the rituals that the coconut tree embodies into a product. Her project became these two ladders that when overlaid, create one full set of steps.