We are excited to share student projects, department news, event information, and visuals from the MFA in Products of Design program. Check back frequently for updates.
MFA Products of Design students presented a wide set of work at this year’s World Maker Faire 2013 in Queens, New York, attended by 75,000 attendees (! a record for Maker Faire). Piles of visitors came by our booth, and the work seemed to draw the wonder of kids especially. (There must have been 150,000 kids amongst the 75,000 attendees:)
Below are some photos of projects and people. [Photos: Kathryn McElroy, Clay Kippen, Marko Manriquez. Table illustrations by Joseph Weissgold.]
Email Notifier rewards you with an M&M every time you get one of your mounting emails read. Design: Kathryn McElroy
Mr. Indecision, a motion-tracking gentleman, enchanted everyone who passed him by. And won a Maker Faire Editors Choice Award! Design: Richard Clarkson.
3D Printed Camera TK. Design: Clay Kippen; Improvised Foam Device. design: David Thonis.
Speaker heads play “conflicting” and “complementary” audio tracks at each other. (Political speeches, poetry slams, music tracks.) Design: Damon Ahola
Digital Nunchucks by Damon Ahola.
Cloud remote control by Richard Clarkson.
Jay is a 3D-Printed buddy that helps children understand first aid and self care. Design: Damon Ahola.
iPhone car is an iPhone case that drives away from the user once the phone is placed inside. Gives you a run for your money. Design: Clay Kippen
Plush lightbulb is an LED lightbulb sewn of fabric. Push on, push off. Unbreakable. Comforting. Design: Joseph Weissgold.
Tiny is a digital microscope that let’s viewers check out materials, surfaces (and eyeballs!) up close at 70X magnification. Design: MFA Products of Design Class of 2014.
That famous Maker Faire paella!
Visitors to the studio are often taken aback when they see the kitchen we’ve built smack in the center of the Products of Design studio. It’s a bold choice for a school, and naturally begs the question, how will we possibly keep it clean? With two year’s of students, faculty, staff and guests, things can get pretty, well, busy in there—particularly during class breaks. So over the summer (and having learned some valuable lessons from last year), we made some improvements and created a few simple systems for managing what could be a messy situation. Here’s our recipe:
Assign 2 “KP Stewards” Per Week. This is something we did last year and seemed to work exceptionally well. At the start of the semester, we post a chart on the fridge with Kitchen Patrol responsibilities for each of the 15 weeks of the semester. Responsibilities included wiping up / straightening up at the start and end of each day, and photographing and posting “notable” behavior at the end of the week, namely:
Reward Good Behavior; Acknowledge Bad Behavior. We spent some time trying to figure out a fun, gentle, but unambiguous way to promote good habits. We wanted to insure that the KP Stewards weren’t cleaning up after people all week long in a way that went beyond the aforementioned “wiping up,” but also facilitated a way to highlight students who actually did great things in the kitchen. So we came up with the ”KITCHEN FAME” and “KITCHEN SHAME” rubric: At the end of each week, the KP Stewards are responsible for posting on the fridge two images: One image of something great that was created in the kitchen—and to name the winner—and one image of something sloppy, disrespectful, or wasteful from the week. (We liked the idea of being specific about the person who did well, but not about the situation that wasn’t so well…counting on the “you know who you are!” philosophy of behavior modification.)
Give People A Dedicated Space For Their Food.
This one was a year in the making, but we finally bought (and labeled) bins for every single student and staff in the department. We are encouraged to store non-perishables in these bins, and use the fridges for common items such as condiments, sauces, and for fruits, vegetables and beverages. On the fridge handle we tied tape and markers for people to label their food. (That’s a system everyone uses effectively.)
[The photo above evidences a distinct lack of labeling. Oops.]
Compost. We use the Vokashi composting service created by Vandra Thorburn. Vokashi uses the Japanese method of fermenting food waste, called EM-Bokashi. It is an anaerobic process, using bran as the fermenting agent. Learn more about it here.
[Salad Wednesday photo to come! (We've just started the semester.)
Have Salad Wednesdays. This is an idea we copped from somebody out there (?), where each Wednesday, students who want to participate bring 1 “bowlful” of 1 ingredient. We line them all up in a row with a stack of plates at the start, and students move down the line and take a bit from each. It’s a communal lunch and a great opportunity for first- and second-years to chat, share projects, New York stories…the works.
We are thrilled to announce our Visiting Lecture Series lineup for the Fall 2013 semester:
Elizabeth Scharpf, CIO of Sustainable Health Enterprises: Thursday,September 12, 2013
Tim Brown, CEO and President of IDEO October 22, 2013: Thursday, September 26, 2013
Tina Roth Eisenberg, “SwissMiss”: Tuesday, October 22 at 6:30pm [This lecture is open to the public, but seating is very limited; RSVP here.]
Ralph Caplan, Author: Thursday, November 14, 2013
Jonas Damon, Creative Director, Frog Design: Tuesday, December 3 at 6:30pm . [This lecture is open to the public, but seating is very limited; RSVP here.]
First off on September 12th is Elizabeth Scharpf of Sustainable Health Enterprises. Elizabeth is the Chief Instigating Officer at Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE), a social venture recognized by Harvard Business School, the NYTimes’ Nick Kristof, and Bill Clinton for shaking up the status quo in the international development industry by using business solutions (rather than the charity/donation-only approach) to tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. SHE’s first initiative is SHE28 which addresses girls’ and women’s lack of access to affordable menstrual pads in Africa, Asia, and South America causing them to miss school and/or work. SHE is currently helping women roll out a franchise model in Rwanda manufacturing and distributing affordable, eco-friendly menstrual pads by sourcing local, inexpensive raw materials (e.g., banana fibers) and leveraging existing female networks.
Our second speaker, Tim Brown, is the CEO and president of IDEO and comes to us on September 26th. Tim frequently speaks about the value of design thinking and innovation to business people and designers around the world. He participates in the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and his talks Serious Play and Change by Design appear on TED.com. Tim advises senior executives and boards of Fortune 100 companies and has led strategic client relationships with such organizations as the Mayo Clinic, Microsoft, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, and Steelcase. He is a board member of the Mayo Innovation Advisory Council and the Advisory Council of Acumen Fund, a nonprofit global venture fund focused on improving the lives of the poor. Additionally, he writes for the Harvard Business Review, The Economist, and other prominent publications. His book on how design thinking transforms organizations, Change by Design, was released by HarperBusiness in September 2009.
Tina Roth Eisenberg—perhaps better known as Swiss Miss—is our third speaker this semester. Tina started Swiss Miss in March of 2005 as a personal visual archive that eventually grow into a popular design journal with an average of 1 million visitors a month. Eisenberg grew up in Speicher (AR), Switzerland, and was influenced by renowned Swiss design and a lot of fresh mountain air. In 1999, after completing her design studies in Geneva and Munich, she crossed the Atlantic and began designing in New York. Since then, she have worked at several prominent NYC design firms, including Thinkmap, where she served as Design Director and helped design the award-winning Visual Thesaurus. She now runs her own studio, swissmiss, with recent clients including the Museum of Modern Art and the Food Network, and also focuses on her own products and apps. Eisenberg organizes a monthly breakfast lecture series called Creative Mornings, runs a simple browser-based to-do app called TeuxDeux and is the founder of Tattly, a designy temporary tattoo shop. She believes in taking your personal projects seriously and just recently gave a talk at SXSW explaining how her side projects that allowed her to go clientless.
Ralph Caplan is our forth speaker, a writer and communications consultant and lectures on design. He is the former editor-in-chief ofI.D. Magazine and the author of several books including the seminal By Design: Why There Are No Locks on the Bathroom Doors in the Hotel Louis XIV and Other Object Lessons, Cracking the Whip: Essays on Desigm and its Side Effects and The Design of Herman Miller. Ralph is an Emeritus Board Member for the International Design Conference in Aspen. An honorary member of the Industrial Designers Society of America, he is the 2010 recipient of the “Design Mind” National Design Award.
Our Fall 2013 speaker rounds out with Jonas Damon, Creative Director at Frog Design, and an industrial designer based in New York City. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, hebegan his career at Tom Dixon’s Eurolounge in London before becoming a design manager for the European retail group Habitat UK. At Habitat, he took part in rebuilding the in-house design team that revived Habitat’s reputation as the leading European retailer for home goods. He has been based in New York City since 2001, where he has influenced product design for companies and brands such as Areaware, AT&T, Chrysler, Harter, Malin+Goetz, The Home Depot, Tupperware, Vitra, and Wedgwood. This lecture is open to the public. RSVP above.
The desks of the MFA Products of Design Program were designed with aluminum extrusions running their length (to accommodate magazines, books, and sheet stock) as well as a 1 1/4″ pipe (to, well, you’ll see). Students are invited to customize their desks, and in only the first two days of the new semester a couple of very inspiring designs have appeared.
First-year student Miguel Olivares has erected a simple design, laddering up with a modest, narrow bookshelf, based with a bit of greenery:
Second-year student Richard Clarkson ups the ante with a magnetized bit of a magic trick, storing tools, binders, and a soon-to-be “green roof” with wheat grass to come. The gauntlet’s been thrown down! (We’ll update this post as other innovations appear in the studio.
Damon Ahola’s simple and effective 2-tier shelf below uses similar hardware. No tricks.
It’s been an action-packed two days for the Class of 2015 Orientation, with the incoming students engaged in a host of workshops: DIY Wearable Electronics with Becky Stern, Wants/Needs Workshop with Caroline Wollard, Design and Complexity with Abbey Covert, Material Matters with Andrew Dent, Documentation Best Practices with second-year students Kathryn McElroy and Richard Clarkson, and a Food Design Competition coached by Rona Binay, Gaïa Orain and Clay Kippen.
This last workshop’s become a bit of a tradition now—incoming students are divided up into teams of three, given a “base ingredient” (rice for the savory teams, ice cream for the sweet teams, and seltzer for the beverage teams) and then charged with designing (and cooking) their most creative dishes. Teams have 30 minutes to design, then they head off to the nearby grocery store with a team allowance of $25. The next hour is spent feverishly putting together their creations, then the dishes are judged…and then eaten! (Yup, the results make up the lunch for the first day of orientation.)
Tuesday night hosted the orientation reception, with the faculty and second year students in attendance. Below are a few snapshots from the food competition as well as the evening event!