The following is a posting from Daily BR!NK. Interview by Lauren Rigney, photographs courtesy of Narbeh and Jessica
Narbeh Dereghishian and Jessica Yeh: Design Activists
There are two things in this world that Art Center Product Design student Narbeh Dereghishian and Environmental Design student Jessica Yeh believe everyone should have access to: A warm shower and wonderful design
By Lauren Rigney for Daily BR!NK
The next time you pick up a product and admire it for its sheer beauty, simplicity or functionality, you can thank people like Jessica Yeh and Narbeh Dereghishian. Students at the Art Center College of Design in California, Jessica and Narbeh love nothing more than improving life through innovation and design.
When they were both offered the opportunity last fall to spend two weeks at a campamento (or slum) in Chile, researching how to design basic tools that would improve the Chileans’ lives, neither realized at that point just how big of a difference they were about to make.
The result of their research and efforts is the Ducha Halo, Spanish for “Halo Shower”: a low-cost, portable tool that makes taking a warm shower as easy as 1, 2, 3 – you heat the container on a grill, pump the handle to pressurize the water, and step on pedal to let the comfort of a nice, warm shower wash over you.
What made you want to go to school for design?
Jessica Yeh: I think it was just something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I made up my mind in middle school that I just had to be a designer (laughs).
Narbeh Dereghishian: I knew I wanted to solve problems.
Why did you want to be part of the class that undertook the assignment of visiting, and designing for, a Chilean slum? That’s not typical homework…
JY: Design is wonderful, and it can be really innovative and have the potential to help people who need simple things. Just to help make their lives a little bit easier, a little bit better and more enjoyable.
ND: Exactly. As for me, I’ve done other projects related to social design, and the one prior to this one was one in Guatemala where I did water filtration for a rural community there. This was right up that alley.