Our students emerge confident, powerful, agile, and skilled.
From Brooklyn to Bangkok, the students of the MFA in Products of Design are a diverse group of designers from varying backgrounds, disciplines, nationalities and cultures. Together, they embark on an immersive journey, exploring multiple design lenses and creating important, thoughtful work. Our students secure positions at some of the most prestigious consultancies in the world, such as IDEO, frog, SYPartners, R/GA, Fuseproject, Pentagram, Vice Media, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, and The Future Project.
CLASS OF 2019
Born and raised in Madrid, Spain, Eugenia completed her BA in Product Design at Instituto Europe di Design (IED Madrid). After graduating, she worked as the assistant to the head designer for Johnpepe, a small design firm in Madrid. That experience gave her great insight into what it takes to build her own studio, along with the limitations attached to it. At a young age, she attended boarding school in Scotland, where she lived with people from various countries, and was exposed to the differences in culture that we have to consider when confronting any project. As she starts her journey through the MFA Products of Design program, she is hoping to be able to address complex situations within our society in a way that can make an impact in the lifestyle and principles that we have today, in order to face a better tomorrow.
Ben attended Western University in his hometown of London, Ontario, where he majored in English Language and Literature, and minored in French studies. He realized his passion for design in the final years of his undergrad while studying seventeenth-century country house poetry and its relationship to the prevailing architecture of the time. Ben then tried his hand at furniture design and continued to explore other areas of design—particularly product design. He has designed products using waste materials, and has written about developing innovative material for outdoor clothing. He has also worked for companies such as Grizzly Carpentry and TBI Irrigation. In his spare time, Ben enjoys reading books, playing adventure sports, and spending time with his family.
Rhea grew up in India, and is particularly influenced by her homeland's rich cultures. She completed her undergraduate studies in Design from Goldsmiths University of London, where she gained an in-depth knowledge of product, textile, graphic, system and speculative design. For her undergraduate thesis project, she designed devices to assist in the rehabilitative process for patients who recently started wearing prosthetic limbs. These devices are now utilized by BMVSS—the world’s largest institute for prosthetic fitment. She has interned as a home decor and interior designer for Dileep Industries—a home and handicraft firm that designs and exports products for Target and Ralph Lauren. She also developed design concepts for Imaginarium—India's largest 3D Printing Company. Rhea wants to combine science, technology and design in her future projects, particularly in the field of healthcare. She is currently interning at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Hospital as a design strategist. Aside from being a designer, she is a tennis enthusiast and a Bollywood dance instructor.
John was born in Sugar Land, Texas, and has always been a creative person, constantly seeking new ways to express himself. He studied Telecommunications and Graphic Design at Texas A&M University. He then worked as a graphic artist for local companies, such as Signet Interactive, Landry's Inc., and Drifting Creatives, LLC. His work there included branding for rock bands, developing user interfaces for private universities, and creating collateral for local restaurants. A self professed jack-of-all-trades, John loves learning new skills and applying them to everything he touches. At the MFA Products of Design department, he hopes to learn much from those around him, and explore as far and wide as possible. Being a type I diabetic, he hopes to apply this knowledge in the fields of medical design. As a Houston native, he is also interested in space exploration.
Zihan grew up in Kunshan, a highly developed city in China. He earned his BA from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. Prior to joining the Products of Design program, he founded his own company SECStudio, which specializes in app development. Zihan is also an avid inventor and has patents (both granted and pending) for several of his inventions, which include an energy saving faucet and a pairing method for near-field electronic devices. He has also competed in and won several awards, such as the Red Dot Design Concept and Communication Design Awards, The One Show /Young Ones Competition, C/I Transit Advertising Design Contest, Coca Cola Innovation and Design Contest, and the Graphis Poster Annual. Zihan is also a licensed pilot and enjoys flying planes in his free time.
Evie is a visual storyteller, full-stack marketer, and all-around creative human being. Although born in New York, she has been shaped by her bicultural upbringing and travel experiences across six continents. After receiving a BA in Psychology from Pitzer College in 2013, Evie started working in content marketing and brand strategy for startups, such as Fluent City, Front of House NYC, and Unified Social. She also started her own freelance consulting companies—A La Moon and Evie Cheung Photography. At Products of Design, Evie plans to merge her interdisciplinary digital experiences with the physical world, and develop products that will combat the challenges of today’s political climate, encourage sustainability, and foster compassion between strangers.
Gustav was born and raised in Copenhagen, Denmark, where he served in the army as a Royal Guard to the Danish Royal family. He later obtained his B.Sc in Digital Media and Design at the IT University of Copenhagen. As a student, he designed an app in collaboration with Volkswagen to identify technical issues with cars for both customers and mechanics. He was also employed by Maersk, for whom he developed and digitized the on-boarding and off-boarding processes of their employees. Now, Gustav is looking forward to getting his hands dirty, expanding his creative skills, and immersing himself into the impressive Products of Design community.
Kevin grew up in Montreal, Canada and studied entrepreneurship before he realized his vocation in design. A self-taught industrial designer, Kevin has over 3+ years of industry practice. He’s worked on a wide range of products including footwear, furniture, sporting goods and consumer electronics. He is the founder of Socialight, an interactive lighting company that helps users manage device time and stay present. Kevin is most interested in how human-centred design can give shape to today's ever-changing technology landscape. Most recently, he’s been working at Sid Lee helping clients like Samsung and Videotron develop their digital experiences.
Tzu-Ching is from Taipei, Taiwan, where he majored in Industrial Design in Tatung University. He is an aesthetic and culture enthusiast. Having a strong passion for ancient eastern wisdom and admiring the elegance of western culture, he wants to combine the two different cultures into a whole new point of view, and eagerly wants to show the world how he perceives it. Regarding technology, he thinks developers have overlooked the key elements of what makes us a human—a social animal that needs to bond and build relationships between one another. So he decided to use what he has learned and what he's going to learn to make the world a better place—to change human beings' behavior. In his free time, Tzu Ching enjoys playing basketball, watching fashion shows, playing chess (Japanese chess—Go), and playing the violin.
Micah was born and raised in the U.S., and has moved around various states throughout his life. In addition to being musically trained and talented, his exposure to fine arts and graphic design at a young age helped him to develop a passion and creative eye for design. He attended school at Gordon College in Massachusetts, where he earned a BFA with a concentration in Graphic Design. At school, he was encouraged to explore multiple media such as pencil, chalk, and clay to advance his understanding of other art forms, composition, and aesthetics. He had an apprenticeship with designer Brad Zimmerman, with whom he designed videos, animated slide shows and printed materials for Watermark Church. With the help of the MFA Products of Design program, Micah hopes to expand his knowledge and design process.
Sophie is an industrial designer with a passion for Graphic Design and Technology. She was born and raised in Queretaro, Mexico, where she completed her undergraduate studies at Monterrey's Institute of Technology, majoring in Industrial Design and minoring in Graphic Design. After graduating, she worked as graphic designer for Juriquilla, a local health and lifestyle magazine. She also freelanced for a variety of clients—ranging from rock-metal bands like Jake's Metal to music academies such as Academia de Musica Curiel, and local health specialists. Looking to expand her business experience, she then worked in logistics at Cristina Ramella—a world and travel inspired jewelry brand. When she is not designing, you can find her baking, going on a long walk, or doodling at the park.
Born in Moscow and raised in Saigon, Phuong Anh became an avid believer in human-centred design and design thinking after her studies and work in the U.S. She obtained her B.S. in Advertising at Boston University, and swiftly ventured into UX design to work with Eli Graphics, Boston University's AdLab and Potoo LLC, where she scrutizined user behaviours. She also interned as a PR specialist for T&A Ogilvy—an advertising/PR agency in Vietnam. The gap she sees between the product and the user can be remedied with the running revolution in design, and she wants to be part of it. During the next two years, Phuong Anh seeks to combine design thinking, doing and making to show sympathy to the user and the environment, and to find innovation in the interactions of industries. Her ultimate goal is to serve humans with the products we truly need for a completely sustainable future.
A native Californian, André is a trained writer with a background in digital marketing and advertising. Upon receiving his BA in Literature from Pepperdine University in Malibu, he designed and implemented marketing campaigns for Kia, the Boys and Girls Club, Bambino, Tiger Pistol, Little Quest, and Dose of Divine—specializing in analytics and digital strategy. He is wildly passionate about mentoring and serving youth, and has worked with organizations like Americorps, the Boys & Girls Club, and the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University. He hopes to expand his experience as a mentor to create opportunities in design for youth. André is also a self-professed petrolhead, and will happily talk cars with anyone willing to listen. He is pursuing design with the hopes of removing barriers and providing design opportunities to those who may not have easy access.
Ellen approaches the Products of Design course with an eight-year background in visual presentation, having created window displays and interior environments for retail giants like Anthropologie, Saks Fifth Avenue and J. Crew Corporate. Apart from her professional work, Ellen is an artist and maker--she paints, draws and makes ceramics in her studio in Brooklyn. This summer she was accepted to the inaugural Wix Summer Design Playground: a branding, graphic & web design incubator. She graduated with a BA in Art and Spanish from Lafayette College in Easton, PA.
Hannah comes fresh out of Cornell University, where she earned her BS in Mechanical Engineering. She discovered her place in the design world while working as an engineering intern at Cascade Designs in Seattle, where she helped develop systems to provide clean drinking water in disaster relief settings. She has also been a professional outdoor educator for the past six years. Most recently, Hannah worked with Cornell Outdoor Education as a lead facilitator for the Cornell Team and Leadership Center (CTLC), where she designed experiences for clients to allow them to achieve personal and group development goals. As a designer, she is enticed by creating products and experiences that are "good" in every sense of the word, and by making the outdoors more accessible to us all.
Carly begins her new adventure in New York City by way of her hometown, Canandaigua, NY. She graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, where she expanded her interest in design through Architectural Studies. She developed her desire to use design as a medium to connect cultures while participating in a specialized study program in Rome, Italy, where she studied architectural sketching and art history. Prior to joining Products of Design, Carly worked with furniture designer/maker Patrick Kana in Geneva, NY, and for nationally recognized non-profit, Second Nature, in Boston, MA. Carly’s passions for service and design attracted her to this MFA program, and she is excited for opportunities to prioritize and address social justice issues.
Antya was born and raised in Boston, and is greatly influenced by her German-American upbringing. She received a Bachelors in Environmental Studies from NYU, with a focus on cities and transportation. Prior to joining Products of Design, she worked as the project coordinator for the Harvard Graduate School of Design, participating in a research project looking at the role of governance in transformative transportation initiatives. She also received a Masters in Sustainable Management to better understand the role of design and business in shifting sustainable practices. For her Master's thesis there, she created a business proposal for a Sustainable-Laundromat-Cafe-Bar, which explored how the combination of design and sustainability could improve a laundromat's value, perception, and contribution to the community. She hopes to further explore how to change policy and societal behavior through the lens of a product designer. While not in the studio, Antya can be found trying every ice cream shop in New York City in search of the perfect cone.
Born and raised in Dalian, China, Xuan received her undergraduate degree in biotechnology from Dalian University of Technology. She was supposed to continue learning cellular biology at Xiamen University, but then decided to explore product design instead. She believes that designers are problem solvers, and that she will foster the skills needed to become one in the MFA Products of Design program. This is a fantastic start for her in design, and she intends to earn more skills and knowledge to become a mature designer.
Wei was born in Beijing, China. He obtained his bachelors degree in Industrial Design from Beijing University of Technology. During his studies, he participated in and won design competitions, including the Red Dot Design Award and Hyundai Car Design Competition. After graduating, he travelled to Germany, where he learned German and further immersed himself in European product design. He is now pursuing his masters in the MFA Products of Design department, where he is looking forward to learning new perspectives.
Born and raised in Wenzhou, China, Yangying was exposed to art at an early age. She attended the affiliated middle school of China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, where she practiced sketching, painting, shaping and composition. She then pursued her undergraduate studies at the China Academy of Art in Shanghai. During her time there, she studied product design—with a focus on incorporating indigenous Chinese art in product design. Her ideology is to generate rich, spiritual and meaningful lifestyles by combining design and experiences. Prior to joining this program, she participated in SVA's CDFNY Summer Program for International Students. Over the next two years, she wants to develop her business and design skills so that she can establish her own design firm in the future.
ALUMNI OF THE CLASS OF 2018
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.
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.
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 a military police 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. Most recently, he has expanded his experience through working as an interaction designer at Frog Design. He has been always 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.
FEATURED ALUMNI OF THE CLASS OF 2017
Experiments involving jet pumps and pyrotechnics were a regular occurrence in Josh’s childhood backyard. In high school, he started a summer magic camp for children, has over 15 years of technical theater experience and has performed around the world. In 2010, Josh graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a major in Architecture. Combining his various backgrounds, he worked as an architectural lighting designer as well as a theatre consultant for several years in Chicago, assisting architects in documenting and constructing complex performance spaces. He also cofounded a storytelling publication that collects stories from across the country and produces online content. Always looking to become more proficient in circus arts, woodcarving and paragliding, Josh also hopes to use his curiosity and passion to design engaging interactions and meaningful products.
Arjun Kalyanpur is a designer by way of engineering. He graduated with a B.S. in Engineering from Harvey Mudd College in 2009, followed by an M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University in 2012. Over the years to follow, he applied his knowledge and skills at a retail packaging company, quickly developing and launching several products for luxury cosmetics brand La Prairie Switzerland. Learning firsthand what it meant to take products from the whiteboard to store shelves, Arjun was inspired to pursue a design career. He completed his product design graduate degree in 2017, as part of SVA's MFA program, Products of Design. Arjun now works at design consultancy 10XBeta which is located in the New Lab, a ground-breaking product realization facility. His diverse skills and previous experience allow him to work on products ranging from consumer goods to medical devices, helping bring them from concept to commercialization.
Raised in Boston, MA and Basel, Switzerland, Julia Lindpaintner returned to the States to study History of Science and Dramatic Arts at Harvard College. Upon graduation, Julia moved to New York City to study and perform modern dance, and began her (formal) journey in design when she joined Michael Bierut’s team at Pentagram in 2012. During her three years there, Julia acted as project manager, strategist, researcher, and writer on projects ranging from brand strategy and corporate identity to books, digital marketing tools, and environmental installations across a variety of industries. During the summer of 2016, Julia worked for Common Cents Lab, where she studied behavioral economics, conducted original research, and worked with a team to develop products aimed at improving the financial well-being of low and middle income Americans. Julia is fascinated by behavioral science, organizational development, and win-win strategies, and believes in working across design disciplines to facilitate collaboration, envision alternative systems, and encourage prosocial behavior.
A New Zealander and an alumnus of Victoria University of Wellington, Oscar Pipson completed undergraduate degrees in both Industrial Design and Management. Adventurous in spirit and curious of mind, he has spent time travelling, living, working or studying in the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia, Australia and the US prior to moving to NYC. A designer, researcher and teacher, Oscar worked for both Victoria University School of Design and Callaghan Innovation on various research projects focusing on multi-material 3d printing. Most recently, Oscar has been contracting for Formway Design Studio, world leaders in high performance furniture. An award winner at the Core77 Design Awards and Best Design Awards, Oscar’s work has also been featured on numerous international design blogs.
Ailun Sai is a highly-motivated multi-disciplinary designer who merges creativity with positive social impact. An industrial Designer by training, Ailun draws reference from diverse cultural and disciplinary backgrounds. She also has a particular interest in exploring new possibilities in future scenarios and proposing open social questions with possible alternatives. Born in Dalian, China, Ailun is currently based in New York. She holds a BFA in Industrial design from the China Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. In addition to being a designer, Ailun is also an illustrator, artist, teacher, sports enthusiast, and animal lover.
Jenna Witzleben is a designer, strategist, engineer, environmentalist (and more!). She received her undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University, then immediately leaped into the world of design by joining the Products of Design program. She loves to be constantly learning something new and has expanded her experience through working as a researcher and engineer at Eleven LLC., as an exhibition designer at Design Museum Boston, and as an experience designer at R/GA in NYC. Jenna is drawn to exploring the furtherance of human capabilities and resilience, an interest she often associates with her 20 years of dance training. She enjoys being able to hold seemingly contrasting interests and points of views, resulting in work spanning from cyborgism to rewilding.
FEATURED ALUMNI OF THE CLASS OF 2016
Adam has spent the majority of his life crafting and telling stories through various forms of performance. He is a San Francisco Bay Area native and holds a BA in Performance Studies. He is also a proud alumnus of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He’s been working as a voice over actor in New York City for many years and can be heard on radio stations across the nation. In addition to being a life-long maker and mechanic, he has 20 years of experience as a public artist specifically using highly flammable and pressurized enamel paints. Since he graduated from the Products of Design program in 2016, he has worked as a Design Consultant for Blue Apron, the Rockefeller Foundation, Ideo.org, Whole Foods, Tomorrow Lab, and Bark Box, to name a few. He also launched his own podcast, My Life in Letters, in which he documents the lives of graffiti artists and letter enthusiasts, as well as the culture created by graffiti art. You can listen to the podcast through iTunes and Google Play.
Isioma is a former molecular biology student interested in exploring design as it relates to psychology, art, culture, and the environment. She is fascinated by everything from forests to construction sites, from science fiction to climate change; and is inspired by the micro- and macro- systems which dictate the ways in which people inhabit and create their spaces. When not in the studio, Isioma may be found on nature walks, dreaming up soundscapes, concocting herbal remedies and perfumes for her unwitting (but grateful?) friends, and indulging her newfound passion for surrealist photo shoots.
Eden is a designer from Texas with a broad body of work consisting of graphic design, UX/UI, packaging, furniture, architecture, exhibition design and design strategy. After completing an internship with the start-up industrial design firm Finell, she realized her interest in the production and business of tangible products. Armed with a BFA Design degree from the University of Texas at Austin, she moved to New York to immerse herself in the opportunities the city has to offer. In this era of new technologies such as 3-D printing, arduinos and online learning tools, Eden believes that design education should become more accessible to the masses. She sees new products as platforms for society to mold innovation and change. She is currently employed as a designer at New York's Pentagram office.
Typically found in his natural habitat, the fabrication lab, Jon Lung is a maker of things. Spending a majority of his undergraduate career in the shop and his professional career with a furniture designer he has amassed skills and techniques working with various woods, metals, foams, plastics, fabrics, papers, resins, and clay. Besides his projects in the physical world, he also works in the digital world as a freelance graphic designer. Looking to use his powers for good, Jon aims to design the future with deeper purpose and meaning. When not working inside he can be found scavenging junkyards for interesting pieces and parts or scavenging for ingredients in the kitchen to cook with.
Originally from Syosset, NY, Souvik graduated from Harvard College in 2011, majoring in Social Studies—an interdisciplinary major that drew on the intellectual traditions of several different social sciences including government, economics, and sociology—as a way to understand and solve complex societal problems. His undergraduate thesis sought to use the India-Pakistan relationship as a lens through which to reconcile the neo-realist and constructivist schools of thought within international relations theory. A spring class at the Harvard Graduate School of Design opened Souvik’s eyes to the world of design. He hopes to explore the areas of medicine, technology, and a combination of the two through his design work. In the three years that intervened between college and SVA PoD, Souvik worked as a trader at JPMorgan. He loves to travel, to (break)dance, to eat, and to read comic books.
Roya is an interdisciplinary and intercultural designer with a background in Physics. She completed her Bachelor of Design (BDes) from The York/Sheridan Joint Program in Design (YSDN) in Toronto, where she practiced theoretical, research, and practical aspects of design. Her interests span a wide variety of subjects, however there are recurring themes in her work: fashion, gender, and nature. She is constantly exploring and deepening her identity as an Iranian designer and is specifically interested in learning more about the emerging and often mysterious world of Design Thinking. She is fascinated by its possibility as a tool to tackle ‘wicked problems.’ She enjoys traveling, teaching, learning new things, and taking pictures.
FEATURED ALUMNI OF THE CLASS OF 2015
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.
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.
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.
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.
FEATURED ALUMNI OF THE CLASS OF 2014
Damon believes in a holistic design approach, working within the physical and digital spaces to create better end solutions and experiences. He is currently a product designer at Motivate defining the future of bike share for New York City's Citi Bike system, as well as a multitude of other bike share programs around the world. As an interaction designer at frog, he worked with a diverse list of forward-thinking clients to tackle big challenges through research, strategy and design. Damon's work spans a number of industries including finance, health care, transportation and consumer products. With over a decade of experience, he has helped define opportunities from startups to Fortune 500 clients like Google, Starbucks, Verizon and BNY Mellon. Damon's portfolio is split between client and self-proposed projects, creating a unique perspective for purposeful design. He has been the recipient of numerous accolades and has been recognized by Red Dot Design Awards, Core77, IDSA, The Design Museum of London, The Verge, The Guardian and Fast Company.
Born in Washington D.C., raised in Ankara, Turkey, Rona Binay is a multidisciplinary designer and an artist based in New York. Prior receiving her MFA from SVA, Products of Design, her education includes Interior Architecture and Environmental Design also Illustration and Storytelling. She had the pleasure of designing for design and architecture studios, art galleries, magazines, designers and artists including Pentagram—Natasha Jen, Natalie Jeremijenko, Birsel+Seck, Adidas Originals, Nissan Future Lab, Benjamin Critton and Ana Kraš. Currently, Rona works as a graphic designer at media design firm, Local Projects, focusing on interactive experience design for museums and public spaces as well as continuing to proceed her own projects.
Richard is the Founder and Creative Director at Richard Clarkson Studio, LLC., a innovative art and design studio based in Brooklyn, New York with clients including Google, IBM, Coca-Cola and Miley Cyrus. During his studies at the Products of Design program Richard realized and developed a strong passion for physical computing and business management. Utilizing these and other key skill sets Richard launched his studio with flagship product: The Smart Cloud. The studio has since continued to grow reaching international buyers and press with an ever evolving set of projects and products. Evident in his work and methodology is a unique collision of Richard's New Zealand, Industrial Design background and his more recent experiences of the vibrance and culture of New York City.
Mansi has studied Economics and Computer Science at Bryn Mawr. After dabbling in the technology industry for about a year as she worked for Google Apps in Silicon Valley, she spent several months interning for fashion accessory companies in London and New York to learn more about the essence of design in the fashion field. Design and its roles have always intrigued Mansi across various industries. She is especially interested in exploring it in the fields of fashion, technology, business models and social entrepreneurship and finding a way to merge these together through design.
Kathryn is a Design Lead and UX Designer for IBM Watson, designing with the world's most advanced cognitive system in Austin, Texas. At her core, Kathryn is a maker, and is passionate about near-future technology and building electronics and smart objects. She has published tutorials and articles about her projects in Make Magazine and Timeout New York, and she regularly speaks about Design Thinking and User Experience Design. In her spare time, Kathryn volunteers to get girls interested in STEM fields by speaking at schools, after school events, and on career panels. She also plays many instruments; draws, paints, and shoots photography; sells Super Corgi stickers on Etsy; and bakes elaborate desserts.
Joseph is an interdisciplinary designer with a focus on middle- and high-school education. For the past four years he's taught digital fabrication and physical computing at day-camps and after-school programs for teens, and professional development workshops for teachers. He's worked with the Institute of Play, The Makerbot Foundation, and several NYC museums including The American Museum of Natural History, The Jewish Museum, and the Guggenheim. Over that period he also earned his master's degree at the School of Visual Arts where he focused on the intersection of Design and Education, developing his own lesson design framework for leveraging creative tools through project- and game-based-learning. Joseph is now full-time at The Future Project, an education non-profit that works in public high-schools in seven cities across America, coaching students to realize their purpose and passions and manifest them as Future Projects. He is currently developing their training model and building tools to support the team in their work with students.
2012 Summer Program Featured Alumni
Jack Curry is a graduate of the BFA Graphic Design program at Cal State University, Long Beach, and is also a graduate of Type@Cooper. With a background in branding and typeface design, Jack is interested in the seemingly unseen systems that we create and surround ourselves with, constantly ruminating on the aggregate impact of common items that comprise so much of our daily lives.
Jan Dornig grew up in Austria, and was educated at the University of Applied Sciences Salzburg, where he studied Design and Product Management. He has interned for Duller Engineering, Mattro, Design Research Salzburg and Design Affaires.
Jason Flakes hails from Columbus and Akron, Ohio, and studied Industrial Design at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. He believes that design is a responsibility, informed by all the senses no matter the medium. He currently resides in Northern Virginia, where he consults in the fields of Industrial Design and Graphic design, also running his own architectural photography firm.
Lauren Hamilton is a graduate of Penn State University and the Art Institute, where she studied communications, English, and Interior Design. Her creative practice includes writing, design, and music production.
Esra Karadeniz is a graduate of Pratt Institute’s Industrial Design department, where she focused on furniture and jewelry design. She currently maintains a studio in Istanbul where she paints and produces jewelry.
Seth Kranzler is a product design engineer at OXO, with a background in mechanical engineering and mechanics. Having worked as a CNC machinist and metal fabricator since high school, he crafted a home-brewed go-kart and turbocharged race car in his parent’s garage. After acting as lead aerodynamicist and team manager for Drexel’s Formula SAE race team, Seth went on to be a process manager and product designer at NextFab Studio.
Designer and educator Scott Lundberg teaches Industrial Design at Pratt Institute, and Exhibit Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Recently he became an IDSA Section Vice Chair for Communicative Environments. Scott designed the Gossner College Campanile in Bihar Ranchi, India, a shower shelf based on DARPA technology for Shelfworks, and a display driven wine finding experience for Bottlerocket Wine & Spirit. Scott lives in the Red Hook, a neighborhood of Brooklyn.
Miguel Olivares graduated from California Polytechnic State University, Pomona, with an emphasis in Sculpture and Drawing. Over the past years he has focused on producing custom furniture, messenger bags, and drawings. His multicultural upbringing has strengthened his passion for design and art, and the power they have to change society and culture.
Miguel has worked in the food retail business for over a decade, which now informs his ventures into the new field of Food Design. Miguel is currently part of the Class of 2015 in the MFA Products of Design program at the School of Visual Arts.
2011 SUMMER PROGRAM FEATURED ALUMNI
Tasneem Babul Rayani is a San Francisco-based industrial designer and graduate of the Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Her passion is designing for the disabled and aging populations. Prior to entering the field of industrial design in 2000, she studied nursing, which provided a sensitivity for and insight into the physical and mental challenges faced by these populations. Traditionally, products for the disabled and aged lack the aesthetic refinement and usability of mainstream products. Tasneem aims is to make ‘sustainable design’ and ‘universal design’ redundant terms because all products should function effectively, degrade gracefully, and delight the end user.
Dean Bennett’s trades background manifests itself in his hands-on approach to design. His process is collaborative, involving a conceptual focus and active 3D research. He also participates in group art projects and is interested in how fine art research practices can inform meaningful design. Dean lives and works in Vancouver, Canada and is currently working on a mobile community arts vending and exhibit platform called “ArtCart”.
Joel Byam discovered industrial design while working in microbiology research, which engaged him but left him feeling creatively stifled. He began to explore websites such as Core77, PSFK and Noisy Decent Graphics, and was astounded to learn that one could earn a living while being creative and having fun. After completing his Associate’s in Fine Art, he entered the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Industrial Design masters program. Joel’s previous degrees are in music and business, and he has worked as a nurse’s aide, an emergency medical technician, and a finance predictor for Kodak’s creative think tank.
Patrick Christie was raised in Calgary, Alberta, where he worked in architecture before traveling to Vancouver to attend the Emily Carr University to study industrial design. He enjoys hypothesizing about how things work, and material exploration and relationships drive Patrick’s approach, and collaboration is of utmost importance to his practice. Dean Bennett, who is also a participant in this workshop, has collaborated with Patrick frequently over the past four years.
Marc Davenport was born and raised in Lancaster, Ohio, the son of a ceramicist and a weaver. Eschewing his upbringing, he studied computer science at Ohio University. After graduating, Marc moved to Cambridge, MA to work in the software industry where he has been since. By day he provides business intelligence and search consulting for large companies solving data modeling and operational problems. By night, he partakes in hobbies that are an excuse to learn new processes, techniques, and to understand the way things work.
Izabella Dennis is a graduate of Barnard College’s Architecture and Urban Studies programs. Her studies at Barnard and experiences growing up in a bustling, creative Texas household have informed her design interests and practice equally. Since graduating she has explored her love for and curiosity around furniture, the movement and formation of cities, and product development by working in corporate merchandising and launching her own business, Fifi du Vie. An online shop offering screen printed merchandise, the business has allowed Izabella to synthesize her design skills and knowledge of business.
Keith Hendren is a product design engineer for Apple, focusing on new systems architecture and core technology development. His background is in biomedical engineering, and he completed a thesis on the usage of Biomimetics (copying nature) in product design. Additionally, he has completed coursework in animation & video as well as graphic and product design, and he is constantly seeking elegant solutions to the complex aesthetic, functional and ethical problems that abound in today’s world.
Justice Diven is an engineer working to improve day-to-day natural gas operations for an international oil and gas company. He views corporations and the modern workplace as products of design, and is committed to thinking through how employers can craft work that empowers workers rather than frustrating them. Justice recently completed a project which reduced the amount of natural gas released by an operating site into the atmosphere by 50% in less than 60 days. He looks forward to integrating design thinking in his problem solving toolkit. He lives in Texas with his wife and enjoys dancing, reading, volunteering, photography and travel.