Meet the Alumni: Class of 2015
Eliz Ayaydin is a San Francisco-based strategist and designer. She has helped industry-leading companies and technology startups solve business challenges and design new futures at fuseproject, Lippincott, and Doblin. From inventing new products to re-positioning existing brands, she's consulted companies across industries, ranging from tech to travel. With a BA in Psychology and Interdisciplinary Studies focused on Art & Design from Vanderbilt University, Eliz came into the Products of Design program positioned at the overlap between design and psychology. While at SVA, she applied an abundance of design methods to multidisciplinary projects, ranging from designing a marketplace for Creatives to a smart pregnancy device concept, where the latter was featured in renowned publications such as Fast Company. Her time at SVA culminated with her thesis work addressing traumatic memories, an exploration that lies within her broader interest in designing for positive behavior change. Eliz continues to take a design-minded approach to studying people and identifying ways that brands can positively impact them.
George has spent his career at the intersection between people, culture and technology. He helps clients define their ambitions and develop new offers. With over 10 years experience as a Brand and Digital Consultant, he has led the strategic re-positioning of brands, inspired designers and engineers to invent new offers ,and influenced how media buying agencies create compelling brand messaging. Now he makes and advises companies how to create commercially and culturally relevant products, services and experiences.
Vidhi Goel is a multidisciplinary designer with an undergraduate degree in Industrial Design. Currently working at IA Collaborative, as a Design Researcher and Strategist, she practices creative and action driven research everyday. Prior receiving her MFA from SVA, Products of Design, she worked for international clients like Xerox and Qualcomm at an innovation start-up in India. Vidhi's project as an undergraduate student earned her an internship at Tupperware Europe design office at Belgium. As part of the program at SVA, she interned at The Meme, as a research and strategy consultant for clients like Samsung, Pill Pack and Healthbox. Vidhi has worked on projects from creating banking services for rural India to designing smart pregnancy devices eventually featuring in Fast Co. Vidhi's thesis around education in India is a good example of her deep passion for impactful, scalable and responsible design.
Lance is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin where he earned his BFA in Design—studies include product and graphic design, typography and layout, systems thinking, rapid prototyping and making. As his design interests developed, Green subsequently moved to New York City to further his study of product design, often exploring the territory between the second and third dimensions. Lance is a natural-born problem solver; he believes in an honest approach to design, systems and consequential thinking, user experience and research, detailed prototyping and minimalistic beauty. Further interests include the relationship between products and their effect on human emotion and performance, the interaction and manipulation of the physical environment, and the unconventional use of resources and standardized materials.
Steve Hamilton is a designer, artist, filmmaker, and entrepreneur based in New York City. As founder of Spin Cycle Post he pioneered digital post-production workflows for independent feature films throughout the 1990’s and 2000’s collaborating on numerous projects with Filmmakers Ang Lee, Hal Hartley, Michael Almereyda and many others, visual artists Matthew Barney, Pierre Huyghe, and Mika Rottenberg, and Choreographers Trisha Brown and Cathy Weis. His own art work has been featured in New York at The New Museum, The Queens Museum of Art and Art-In-General, the Triangle Project Space in San Antonio, TX, and internationally at the Geneva Biennale. Hamilton’s design work inspires creative thinking and dialog using the lenses of future studies, speculative design, and experience design through workshops and conceptual design artifacts. Hamilton received his MFA in Design from the School of Visual Arts, Products of Design program and is principal and co-founder with Jocelyn Joson of Twelve Ton Rose, a creative design consultancy based in New York City.
Lusha Huang is from Guangzhou, China where she gained a BA in Industrial design at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts. Her passion for design has been recognized in various international design competitions, such as the IF Design Award. She holds five patents for her work and was the only Chinese student asked to participate in the Milano Salone in 2012. During her undergraduate years, she was invited to Japan, North Europe and the US to exchange ideas about design. Lusha is interested in design rooted in Chinese culture. Her thesis, entitled "It’s Chinese to me: Luck and Cultural Empathy", explores the disconnect between Chinese and American culture. As a designer, Lusha channels her upbeat personality and love for learning and technology into her products and interactive designs. She particularly enjoys creating products and experiences that improve the quality of life. She worked at Quirkyand littleBits, where discovered her interest in smart objects and The Internet of Things (IoT). She is currently working as a product designer at Disignir, a platform that builds relationships between designers, manufacturers, and consumers.
Andrés Iglesias is a Salvadoran Industrial Designer who is passionate about efficient, meaningful design. He spent his formative years as a designer in Boston, obtaining an undergraduate degree at Wentworth Institute of Technology, working in the model-making department at Hasbro Inc. in his junior year, and spending a year after graduation working as a children’s footwear designer at an east-coast design consultancy. Andrés has been shaped by a life of constant travel, and dreams of one day opening a design firm in Latin America. In the meantime, you might find him sipping a shot of espresso, nose-deep in a Batman comic book.
Berk Ilhan is a New York based product and experience designer, who uses innovation as a pillar to cultivate delightful experiences via novel and meaningful interactions. His design recipe involves rigorous primary research, holistic system modeling, latent need identification, participatory design, empathy, play, minimalism, and chasing wild dreams by pushing against accustomed constraints. His portfolio ranges from healthcare experiences to modular furniture systems, and virtual reality interfaces to futuristic household appliances. Berk’s design work has been recognized by 13 international design awards including the prestigious iF Design Award, International Design Excellence Award (IDEA), Red Dot Best of the Best Award, International Design Award (IDA), and A’ Design Award. Berk is an alumnus of SVA (School of Visual Arts), MFA Products of Design Program in New York, and he holds an undergraduate degree in Industrial Design from Middle East Technical University, Ankara.
Lucy holds an undergraduate degree in History from New York University. Her professional endeavors have explored a wide variety of disciplines throughout New York City – from hospitality and event planning to fashion and furniture design. She has experience launching new businesses, showing at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair and presenting at New York Fashion Week. Her aim is to apply her unique range of experiences and analytical perspective to product design. Her work has been featured online at Core77, Archinect, Food&Wine and Epicurious. She has most recently completed a residency at Makeshift Society Brooklyn. You can catch her running around town collecting foam scraps for The Foam Agency or talking about the future of food.
Miguel Olivares obtained an undergraduate degree from California Polytechnic State University, Pomona, with an emphasis on sculpture. After finishing his studies Miguel made furniture for private clients, and continued his art production, exhibiting in galleries and outdoor events. A passion for design emerged after completing a summer program through SVA’s Product of Design at the Domaine de Boisbuchet in France. He received a scholarship from the non profit Food First to attend a food sovereignty agricultural tour in Oaxaca, Mexico. During his stay Mexico he had the opportunity to work and learn from several farmers and artisanal food makers. He has also worked in the grocery retail business for more than ten years, which has given him significant experience in product development and business management, as well as a deeper understanding of the processes behind food production and consumption. This led to his investigation of the connections we have with food and our world, through the expanding field of Food Design. Miguel’s thesis further enriched his understanding of the power of food as a design material to influence our behaviors, products, and services for the benefit of our communities. You can currently find him in the kitchen designing recipes, experiences, and products with the intent to create meaning in our relationships with food.
Julia Plevin is a designer, strategist, and writer with a keen understanding of innovation and a passion for culture change. She's the co-founder, along with Lucy Knops, of Trouble Makers Inc., a design collaborative with the goal of making challenging issues digestible. They received an Awesome Without Borders grant and a Core77 award along with press from Popular Science, New Yorker, The Telegraph, Food & Wine, and Epicurious for their first product, Critter Bitters, which aims to change the attitude around eating insects. She's worked at IDEO and SYPartners and has experience leading creative teams around the world. Her writing has been published in The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, and VentureBeat. Previously, she was the Managing Editor of The Word Hanoi, a city magazine in Hanoi, Vietnam, and focused on user experience and marketing as the fourth employee at Luvocracy, a high-tech startup in San Francisco that was purchased my Walmart Labs. She has worked as a storyteller for various NGOs including IUCN, Operation Smile, and Indo-Myanmar Conservation. Julia has a B.A. in History from Dartmouth College.
May (Shuchang) Sun graduated from China Central Academy of Fine Arts and majored in product design. Her overarching goal is researching critical issues within Chinese society and creating solutions. She intends to further research Chinese traditions and philosophy and find ways to merge them with a new generation of values. She believes the language of design is a powerful way to communicate this connection and affect a range of tenuous issues within society. Her focus concerns Chinese women, and her work “Her Nature” was acquired by the Central Academy of Fine Arts Museum for their permanent collection in Beijing, China. She believes that people today have access to an abundance of information but seem to lack a deeper physical and emotional experience. May is interested in bringing design solutions to a changing society.
Heath Wagoner is a designer and design activist residing in Brooklyn, NY. Heath also holds a BFA in metalsmithing. Currently working as a color and material specialist for Nike Vision at Marchon Eyewear, Heath uses his skills as a maker to explore the possibilities of new materials for eyewear. In his free time Heath is working on turning his thesis “Disclosional” into a business to promote HIV activism and awareness. He also works closely with Visual AIDS on various projects such as co-managing their partnership with Story Corps. He is also working with various HIV/ AIDS organizations in the Northeast to host his design experience from his thesis. Prior to receiving his MFA from SVA, Products of Design, Heath worked in the fashion industry for acclaimed jewelry designer Pamela Love as well as running his own line of bespoke men’s accessories under his namesake. Heath has also consulted for designers such as Harbison Collection, Juniper Design, and TUZA jewelry. Heath is interested in how service design and wearable tech can come together to promote better health.
Brandon obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design Technology from the Art Institute of Philadelphia in 2009. Since graduating, he held a scenic design position at QVC, where he designed various things such as interiors, sets, furniture, installations, display fixtures, and awards. He recently moved to Brooklyn from Philadelphia—where he lived for the past eight years. Brandon is much influenced by the Dada movement and would love to bring some of its ideologies to the products of design world.
Elisa is a designer and maker based in New York City. She attended the Rhode Island School of Design, where she received her BFA in Furniture Design with Honors in 2009. Her work—which ranges from individual objects and works on paper to large scale installations—focuses on form and color, with an emphasis on materiality. Her work has been exhibited at New York’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair, and in several online publications including DesignSponge, DailyCandy, DesignMilk and others. Elisa has spent the past several years designing and fabricating displays for clients such as Anthropologie and Kate Spade. She looks forward to exploring her varied interests as they relate product design on a larger scale, while still retaining a personal sensibility.