Richard Clarkson's "Cloud" has been one of the runaway successes of Products of Design—inspired by Hurricane Sandy (which occurred during the 4th week of the very first year of the MFA program). As the initial product offering from Richard Clarkson's Brooklyn studio, the project has been a perennial internet hit, resulting in sales and commissions around the world—from to Russia to Taiwan. Now, in collaboration with Crealev, Richard has introduced: Making Weather, a levitating cloud project. The project is a collaboration between the two companies—merging the innovative levitation technology developed by Crealev with the form and function of the original Cloud.
Meow ("Men's Empanthy Of Women") is a digital platform that was developed in the Smart Objects class, designed collaboratively between MFA Products of Design student Josh Corn, and MFA Interaction Design students Song Lee and Shane Strassberg. "The street harassment of women is rampant, along with the common prejudice that women 'ask for' that harassment based on the way they walk, dress, or behave, " argues the team. "Of course, the problem lies with the men involved," so they framed their work a challenge: How might we address street harassment, acknowledging men as the problem, but somehow "empowering" men to be the solution?
We know that lots of you want to come to New York City to attend our November 11th Open House and Info Session, but we also know getting here can be a major expense. So today we’re proud to announce our first-ever “Open House Design Challenge”—a chance to help you out with airfare to New York City, expert portfolio reviews and application coaching from esteemed faculty, along with other surprises while you’re here! The theme of this design challenge is ingenuity. When we look at applicants to the Products of Design program, we look for potential, we look for point of view, and we look for something amazing. Ingenuity is made up of all of these ingredients, so that’s your challenge!
On the evening of September 26th, representatives from the Veterans Experience Office and the New York Harbor Healthcare System (VA Hospital) came to Products of Design to participate in a group discussion around women veterans. (This semester, the Design Research and Integration class is doing a 15-week project on the issues surrounding women vets.) Topics ranged from the perception of women military in our society, to their unique needs in accessing healthcare services throughout the VA system, to stakeholder eco-system mapping—trying to identify the main players in the area, along with learning about their top needs and interactions.
There's tons going on here at Products of Design (and outside of Products of Design!), so every week we send out a "digest" email to share the latest course news, guest lectures, field trips, books, and interesting links. We thought it would be fun to post yesterday's email to the department blog—as you can see there is LOTS going on next week! Take a peek:
Join us at this year's Open House and Information Session, taking place on Friday, November 11, 2015—from 2-5pm. Attendees will be able to meet faculty, alumni, and current students, see projects, learn about the program, tour the studio, classroom spaces, and Visible Futures Lab, and ask questions about life at Products of Design. Delicious refreshments will be shared throughout the session. Hope to see you there! To attend, please RSVP here. And whet your appetite, take a peek at the video below, created by faculty member Michael Chung, and some snapshots of previous Open House events.
Natsuki Hayashi’s master's thesis, titled Sincerely, explores a contemporary design of assisted suicide. Utilizing design to reimagine the way we die, Natsuki pushes the boundaries of the legally, morally, and emotionally appropriate ways to end life.
“We are living in a contemporary world of slow deaths,” writes bioethicist Margaret Battin. Indeed, deaths have specific shapes to them. But with deaths that are predictable, occur later in life, and can be delayed for longer periods of time using advanced medical technology, doctors can do a lot to prolong life—even if it means more suffering for the patients. Today, most doctors have no choice but to help end the lives and suffering of their patients.
For our annual orientation futuring workshop, the Class of 2018 engaged in an all-day speculative design charette led by the Extrapolation Factory's Chris Woebken and PoD graduate Steve Hamilton. Following a lecture presentation on conceptual frameworks around the futuring and speculation, the students dove deep into creating artifacts and behiors around scenarios triggered by present and near-future scientific phenomena. Let's dive into the results below (and keep in mind that the team projects were conceived, prototyped, and performed "on the streets of New York" all within 4 hours!
MFA Products of Design proud to host the New York launch party for LEAP Dialogues: Career Pathways in Design for Social Innovation. LEAP Dialogues, edited by Mariana Amatullo with Bryan Boyer, SVA IxD Chair Liz Danzico, and Andrew Shea, features 84 designers, educators and thought leaders discussing the challenges and opportunities around the emerging career pathways in design for social innovation.
Yawnie is a smart product that helps people develop good sleeping habits. Designed by Products of Design students Roya Ramezani and Ziyun Qi and Interaction Design student Nic Barajas, Yawnie tracks users' sleeping conditions and reminds them to go to bed on time by triggering them to yawn. Yawnie capitalizes on the notion that yawning is contagious, and uses it to help improve the sleeping habits of its user.
18 new graduate students joined Products of Design this year, and kicking off the experience was a two-day Orientation with a futuring workshop at the start and a (delicious) reception at the end. (Erin Clarkson's Cloudy Kitchen catered the closing event.) Enjoys some of the photos below!
Marianna Mezhibovkaya's Masters thesis, Outsiders: Designing Engagement With the Incarcerated, explores how design can foster compassion for the marginalized and disenfranchised incarcerated population through the creation of social support services and products.
Design strategist and storyteller Roya Ramezani did not feel gender issues in the tech industry before she started working in Silicon Valley—where she found herself in a male-dominated environment in which women were not communicating their ideas. In contrast to the statistics, she joined a diverse team. After a month, however, she discovered something that changed everything: Even when they were equal number as men in the room, women weren’t contributing to the discussions equally. They were being quiet, and she thought of them as “not being present in the meeting room.” Roya’s thesis, entitled Exponent: Amplifying the Female Voices in Tech Discourse, attempts to address these issues using product design, service design design, and platform design.
We are delighted to announce our Visiting Lecture Series lineup for the Fall 2016 season. Read more below about Neri Oxman, Anthony Dunne, Matt Manos, and Matthew Burnett, and don't forget to RSVP for the public lectures if you're in NYC!
The objective of Adem Önalan’s master’s thesis, Vakit: On the Elasticity and Subjectivity of Time, is to reframe our relationship with time—identifying opportunities that lead people to spend time well—from recontextualizing time, to slowing it down through meaningful, memorable life experiences.
Not more than 50 or 60 years ago, the idea of "disposable" did not exist; the physical objects in our lives were intended to be with us for a lifetime...or longer. Today, the convenience of disposability in the United States has become the status quo, and everything from packaging to electronics to even large-scale items like appliances and furniture are now considered throw-away. Spurred by our imperative for constant economic growth, our consumerist culture is having a detrimental impact on our environment. Judy Chi’s master thesis, Permanism: Towards the Obsolescence of Disposable Furniture, looks to reengage people with the physical products in their lives as "objects of permanence."
In order to become more brave and confident, MFA Products of Design student Eden Lew embarked on a year-long experiment to become a better designer by learning the ways of a criminal mastermind.
In her thesis, Masterminds and the Art of Misbehaving, Eden’s definition of a criminal mastermind alludes to the romanticized sector of criminals—including burglars, con men, hackers and heist planners. They are con artists who persuade victims into giving up money and valuables. They are craftsmen and tinkerers who decipher the mechanics of systems in order to later break them down. They are hackers who write inventive code to go around highly-secured firewalls, and drug cartel kingpins who run businesses as effectively as CEOs of major corporations.
The evening of March 2, 2012 will be remembered by Tahnee Pantig as one of the most violent and intimate evenings of her life. On that evening, she was physically assaulted in front of her home. After the assault, Tahnee was faced with a compelling question. “I asked myself, ‘had I somehow contributed to the conditions where this man felt the need to steal from me?’” This feeling of guilt drove her to use her thesis as a way to reconcile and understand the circumstances which led to the events of that evening, and compelled her to research these themes in her masters thesis, This Great Violence.
Products of Design MFA graduate Oscar de la Hera’s thesis, Finding North, plays at the intersection between Western, “social interventions”—such as help from friends, family or professionals—and Eastern, “introspective interventions”—such as yoga or meditation. The work aims to help individuals who have recently suffered emotional trauma transition to a more hopeful, happier, and healthier state of mind.
Products of Design MFA graduate Souvik Paul’s thesis, Unbound, seeks to empower individuals with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D), and to tackle some of shortcomings in treatment paradigms for SCI. His thesis journey began—violently—two weeks before his arrival at Products of Design in the fall of 2015. While driving her SUV down a California freeway, Souvik’s close friend, Carina, was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer and paralyzed, sustaining a spinal cord injury in the T2/T3 vertebrae. When visiting her in the hospital, Souvik saw how painful her adjustment to life in a wheelchair was. Believing in the power of design to help his friend, Souvik used his thesis as an opportunity to investigate how design could assist people with spinal cord injuries to recapture their sense of agency and identity in the face of such massive physical and emotional trauma.
Wan Jung Hung’s master’s thesis, Do It Now: Overcoming Procrastination, focuses on the moments when people notice they are procrastinating. Her design interventions aim to change the direction of decision-making—from putting off tasks, to reframing those tasks, to taking care of them immediately.