Goodwill and Art Center embrace the upcycle lifestyle

Art Center students, faculty and representatives from Goodwill of Orange County. Photo: Chuck Spangler

Last term, more than a dozen Art Center students in Goodwill: Upcycle Lifestyle—a transdisciplinary Designmatters studio led by the Environmental Design department—spent their summer redesigning the spatial experience for Goodwill of Orange County’s retail stores, with an eye towards social responsibility, environmental awareness and making a positive impact on the community.

The students’ challenge was two-fold:

First, they were assigned to use recycled materials—wood, computer parts, textiles and more, all of which were found in Goodwill’s stores, recycling, salvage and processing areas—to create a visual and tactile experience for shoppers that reflects Goodwill’s reuse and repurpose model. Hence, the name of the course: Upcycle Lifestyle.

Second, the students were tasked with leveraging Goodwill’s community-strengthening programs. Beyond offering guilt-free shopping opportunities (and bargains!) to consumers, the non-profit organization’s stores and donation sites also serve as training grounds to provide supportive work experience and on-the-job training.

Throughout the three-month project, the students gained experience in re-branding, upcycling, budgeting, repurposing, practical design applications and a deeper appreciation of Goodwill’s mission services.

Following multiple visits to Orange County Goodwill stores, the students split into five separate teams, developed concept drawings and materials studies, which culminated in a final in which they presented design boards, models, mock-ups and full-scale constructs to representatives from Goodwill.

How did they do? Visit the project’s page on the Designmatters website to find out.

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