Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Bernice graduated with a B.Comm from the University of British Columbia, specializing in Marketing and Sustainability. Over the last two years, she has travelled, studied, and worked in over twenty-five cities across nine countries. As a design researcher and strategist in Toronto, she worked with a team to design web-based solutions for improving the language of financial service provision toward vulnerable populations. In Shanghai, she continued to expand her marketing repertoire by using traditional and digital streams to increase foreign direct investment across China, India, and Vietnam. By combining her experience in business with design, Bernice aspires to reframe consumer dialogues with products, orienting them around product lifecycles rather than product lifetimes.
Louis Elwood Leach
Louis grew up in New Zealand, studying at AIM Academy in Germany, Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburg, and graduating with a Bachelor of Design Innovation—majoring in Industrial Design—at Victoria University of Wellington. He continued to work with the National Library of New Zealand as a research scholar, visualizing Wellington City’s future through augmented reality, virtual reality, and digital manufacture. He was also a teaching assistant to undergraduate design students at Victoria University. Currently, Louis is an assistant at the Visible Futures Lab where he mentors graduate students in all things making. Today, Louis’ interests lie in the changing face of design, which have brought him to New York City where he seeks to explore his role as a designer in an increasingly accessible discipline.
Smruti is a maker. Since graduating from the National Institute of Design in India, she has designed and developed products—ranging from healthcare to home appliances—at Frog Design and Future Factory in Mumbai. She is skilled in ethnographic research, industrial design, and product strategy, which she is excited to apply in her goal of creating design that is impactful and products and services that are responsible. Here in New York, she will continue to search for her soul-food: seeing and understanding new cultures and ideologies.
Andrew was born and raised in South Florida, leaving for the Midwest to study Industrial Engineering at the University of Michigan. After completing his bachelor's degree, Andrew worked at Apple's Headquarters in San Francisco as an engineer in the Manufacturing Design team. His work focused on the development and mass production of iterative generations of the iPhone—from iPhone 4S to iPhone 7. Apple and its design team helped excite Andrew’s curiosity for the surrounding built environment. He hopes to tackle large-scale topics through design, such as early childhood education, sustainable materials, dietary behavior, and food waste. When not in the studio, Andrew can be found in a nearby park or beach (likely in a hammock) enjoying the outdoors.
Manako first became interested in product design as an undergraduate studying anthropology at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, fascinated by the idea that products could shape our understanding of the world through semiotics and practice. In the seven years since receiving her BA, Manako has worked in supply chain management for a major Japanese chemical company Toray, and in marketing for an Italian furniture manufacturer Kartell. In both, she dealt with the consequences of design choices—convincing her that a more holistic design approach was necessary. Here at PoD, Manako aims to leverage her experience to design “considered” products, mindful of cultural implications, effects on supply chains, and presentation to the market. When not in the studio, she can be found watching samurai movies, trying various comfort foods from around the world, or expanding her container garden.
Kuan Xu was born and raised in Zhejiang province, China, and completed his Bachelors Degree in Interior Design at Zhejiang International University. During college, he pursued his dream of becoming a designer and took every opportunity to learn the discipline, joining the International Industrial Designing Contest and the Countryside Reconstruction Design Program. He is proficient in pitching ideas, 3D modeling, and giving presentations. Kuan is eager to help people with all kinds of design-related challenges, believing that curiosity and boldness in the face of failure are key to becoming a good designer. Kuan has never been to the U.S. before, and is excited to learn a new culture.
Born and raised in Southern California, Will lived in Pasadena until the age of ten, when he traded coasts for the D.C. area. He studied Journalism, Advertising and English at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and then moved to New York to work in account management at the acclaimed advertising agency BBDO. After three years in the industry, it was clear that it was time for something completely new. Innately imaginative and constantly curious, Will is a self-proclaimed Wikipedia addict who has been drawing "since he left the womb." He is passionate about finding answers that make our world safer, saner, happier, and more efficient.
Born and raised in China, Jingting is a nationally-acknowledged Chinese poet, having received the 4th Xu Zhimo Award for Poetry for her publication Blue Daydreaming. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from the Capital University of Economy and Business in Beijing, while working as an aromatherapist and a rock band drummer for three years. With her diverse academic and working background, Jingting is looking to explore design across a diverse number of fields, as well as apply speculative design thinking to the topic of design itself.
Kevin’s origins are in Montreal, Canada, but he has never been able to stay in one place. He received a Business Management, Entrepreneurship and Innovation degree from Dalhousie University, and continued as a marketing strategist before transitioning to branding—and most recently, to product design. It is his experience traveling though Asia, Europe, and the Americas, however, that has shaped him the most as a designer. Kevin has worked on a wide range of projects, including fully-recyclable footwear, 3-D printed hydroponic systems, and mobile apps. He is increasingly optimistic about the convergence of physical and digital products and the potential they have toward collective human prosperity. Kevin plans to use his background in business and his entrepreneurial spirit as tools to propel his design ideas. When Kevin isn’t plotting his next project, he enjoys playing music, writing, and cycling around the city.
Born and raised in Peru, Sebastian has always been involved in the world of extreme sports. A former member of the Peruvian National water skiing team, as well as an avid surfer, mixed martial artist, tennis player, and cyclist, Sebastian studied Architecture at the Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas in Lima, Peru—focusing on Industrial and Personal Projects. After graduation, he spent three years in the industry working on residences, museums, hospitals, schools, theaters, office buildings, and HPC. Passionate about his craft, Sebastian moved to New York to learn new tools and techniques to expand his creative potential.
Hailing from China, Jiani Lin’s interests in handcrafting inspired her to pursue an education in products of design. Through her undergraduate major and various internships, she has gotten experience in different kinds of design—including product design, package design, graphic design, and website design. She decided to come to the United States to get a graduate degree after she read Design Revolution: 100 Products That Empower People, inspiring her to reevaluate the kind of things she actually wants to design, and challenging her to imagine how she coyuld be a designer that makes people’s lives better. Jiani looks forward to exploring different design disciplines to find the area in which she can best combine her interests and skills.
Christopher studied at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, where he was trained in the foundations of visual language—composition, observation, eye-hand coordination, 2D and 3D skills. After receiving a BFA in Furniture Design, Chris operated his own business for 15 years, creating custom furniture, lighting, and ornamental ironwork for churches and private clients. As a highly skilled metalsmith, Chris managed many roles, from initial presentations, samples, and site verification, to fabrication, patination, and final installation. Chris’ philosophy is to engage both the analytical and the creative to surface out meaningful and beautiful solutions. He sees the PoD program as an opportunity to broaden his methodologies, affect a wider range of people and contexts, as well as expand the definition of products and value beyond aesthetics and utility.
Driven by curiosity, Antriksh was born and raised in New Delhi, India. He completed his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering, specializing in automobiles. Antriksh was part of India’s first maker space, where he dove deep into rapid prototyping, Internet of Things, and experience design. While there, he and his team built large-scale installations for Red Bull and The Lost Party—winning 2nd prize in a competition to redesign Ferrero’s "tic tac" display. In today’s digital world, Antriksh believes we should be judicious in our use of digital design, and sees an opportunity to reclaim “user experience” for the analog world through thoughtful, tangible, human-centered artifacts. Governed by freedom, balance, and empathy, Antriksh thrives on music, travel, and family.
Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Alexia received her BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art in Jewelry and Metalsmithing. Aside from exhibiting work in various galleries and trade shows across the U.S., Alexia spent five years as a Jewelry Studio Technician and Visiting Professor at Pratt Institute. Making and experimentation often go beyond the jeweler’s bench for her: Lately, the kitchen counter has seen some examples of wild fermentation through sourdough bread baking, and her hands have developed new muscles through a new-found love for rock climbing and adventure. At Products of Design, Alexia is looking into finding ways to combine her interest in food, artistry, and adventure to create opportunities for shared experiences and value.
Originally from South Korea, Juho moved to the U.S. by himself when he was 15 years old. He joined the military after his freshman year in college, and worked as both a stationary and patrol guard at the Korean Embassies of Japan, China, Israel, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. After retiring as a sergeant, he returned to school, graduating with a BA in Psychology and a Minor in Business Studies from New York University. Juho has worked across a broad range of industries—from lifestyle retail to pharmaceuticals to social justice media. He is excited to apply design thinking to tough problems, and is particularly interested in exploring the way design can respond to and influence our subconscious habits and patterns of behavior.
Prior to joining Products of Design, Lassor worked at ModernMD Urgent Care—a medical start-up where he helped manage marketing, human resources, construction, financial reporting...and everything in between. He graduated from Brandeis University with concentrations in American Studies, Film, Business, and Law. His Senior Thesis, Wired America, explored the transformation of America through the cultural, legal, and economic parallels between the dawn of electrification in early 20th century and the Information Age. The paper concluded that, without thoughtful intervention, technological change will reflect the most regressive elements of society. Lassor developed his interest in design through the informal study of architecture and CAD. He hopes to leverage his broad range of interests to bring a unique perspective to the PoD program.
An obsessive maker by heart, Sowmya graduated with a B.Des in Industrial Design from the National Institute of Design in India. As someone who loves working with her heart and hands, she believes everything is an experience, and that products should be designed to delight as well as serve a purpose. With that in mind, she continued to work as a UI/UX designer at Samsung R&D. Sowmya finds food and conversation extremely moving—especially as mediumd for triggering emotion. She is a vocalist in several local bands, and has a knack for putting together customized gifts that make people happy.
Teng Yu is from the northernmost part of China, and graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering in Industrial Design at the Wuhan University of Science and Technology. Teng continued to complete an internship with the China FAW Co. Ltd Qingdao Automotive Research Institute in the summer of 2016, where he sketched and designed concept SUVs. He loves sports—particularly basketball and skiing—as well as classical music, studying flute for over 10 years. At PoD, he looks forward to continuing to expanding his design skillset to encompass digital and physical design, stretching his capabilities and vision.