Posts Tagged ‘Product Design’

Social entrepreneur Nathan Cooke’s Fresh Life Toilets offer a fresh start to locals in developing countries

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015
Nathan Cooke

Nathan Cooke

When Nathan Cooke (BS 08 Product Design) was first approached by a group of entrepreneurs to help start a new venture centered on building toilets in developing countries, he wasn’t terribly taken with the idea. But seeing their determination, he decided to help them build a test toilet.

Five years later, Cooke and his colleagues are still working together.  Cooke is co-founder and creative director of Sanergy, a social enterprise based in Nairobi, Kenya, with the mission of making hygienic sanitation affordable for everyone. Through Sanergy’s local brand, Fresh Life, the company franchises its Fresh Life Toilets to entrepreneurs in informal settlements. Franchisees, called Fresh Life Operators, make a profit by charging market rates for use of the toilets.

We checked in the Cooke during his most recent visit to campus for an update on lessons learned from launching this unique venture.

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Love designed to last: Alum couples share the secret sauce to relationship bliss

Thursday, February 12th, 2015
Alumni Wakako Takagi (BS 06) and Fridolin “Frido” Beisert (MS 08) say "If you can make it through Art Center together as a couple you are pretty much bonded for the rest of your life." Photo by Max Wanger.

Alumni Wakako Takagi (BS 06) and Fridolin “Frido” Beisert (MS 08) say “If you can make it through Art Center together as a couple you are pretty much bonded for the rest of your life.” Photo by Max Wanger.

Art Center’s reputation as a creative proving ground doesn’t exactly evoke images of artistic ardor, sunset strolls or even longing looks among the library stacks. But, as the saying goes: love is stronger than hate, war…or, in this case, work-weary creative determination. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that Art Center’s bridge has also served a figurative function, fostering deep and durable connections among more than a few alumni who have tied the knot. 

So, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re taking a closer look at the elements unique to couples who survived three years of Art Center’s intense maker bootcamp of high-standards and brutal crits and successfully applied the iterative process to love.

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Legendary industrial designer, alumnus Kenji Ekuan, passes away at age 85

Monday, February 9th, 2015
Product Design alumnus Kenji Ekuan (BS 57), second from right, arrives in the United States in the 1950s.

Product Design alumnus Kenji Ekuan (BS 57), second from right, arrives in the United States in the 1950s.

It is with great sadness that we report on the passing of Product Design alumnus Kenji Ekuan (BS 57). The legendary industrial designer died on February 8, at the age of 85.

A former Buddhist monk and the founder of GK Design Group, Ekuan designed everything from the Akita Shinkansen high-speed train, Yahama VMAX motorcylces and the iconic Kikkoman soy sauce dispenser, the latter which resides in the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection.

As NPR reported this morning, Ekuan’s decision to become a designer had roots in the bombing of Hiroshima in 1946, an attack which killed his sister and his father. ”Faced with brutal nothingness, I felt a great nostalgia for something to touch, something to look at,” he told Japanese broadcaster NHK. “The existence of tangible things is important. It’s evidence that we’re here as human beings.”

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Faculty member Jeff Higashi decodes the design innovations informing Superbowl XLIX

Friday, January 30th, 2015

 

X2 Biosystems' XPatch provides data for early detection of head injuries.

X2 Biosystems’ XPatch provides data for early detection of head injuries.

Product Design faculty member Jeff Higashi spent over three years inside NFL players heads. As Vice President of Product Development assigned to develop a device that would capture data to assess potential concussions, Higashi gave a lot of thought to the mechanics of the sport as well as to how the players and teams might best be served by what players wear on the field and how.

With Sunday’s Superbowl showdown between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks swiftly approaching, we asked Jeff to explain how the X2 Biosystems’ XPatch device he helped develop might help protect players from the plague of concussions afflicting the sport. And we also seized the opportunity to ask this wearable tech designer to analyze some of the messages these two formidable teams are sending via their uniforms’ color, materials and design elements.

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The future is spectacularly now in Product alum Edward Eyth’s concept art for “Back to the Future Part II”

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 11.21.58 AM

Today, Buzzfeed published the following photo essay, featuring Product Design alum Edward Eyth’s “Back to the Future Part II” concept art. The piece offers a prescient glimpse at the 1988 sketches of the futuristic world of 2015. What better way to kick off the weekend than by looking back at an Art Center alum’s vision for the future that is now.

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Alum Jessie Kawata merges design thinking and rocket science as NASA JPL’s visual strategist

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
Jessie Kawata is a visual strategist at NASA + JPL

Jessie Kawata applies design thinking to scientific quandries at NASA + JPL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jessie Kawata (BFA, Product ’11) is a Visual Strategist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where she gets to stare into space for a living. This term she is teaching a Saturday High class at Art Center as well as mentoring students in Product Design’s Design for Sustainability 2 Studio class, which includes a NASA JPL theme using JPL’s Earth Mission and Climate Sciences data. Below she describes how she helps pave the way for design to exist in space exploration.

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Goodbye boob tube. Hello, smart TV: Yves Behar unveils the Samsung S9W at CES

Friday, January 16th, 2015
The S9W, created as part of a partnership between Fuseproject and Samsung.

The S9W, created as part of a partnership between Fuseproject and Samsung.

In order for any one product to stand out at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES)—the annual convention held in Las Vegas in which thousands of companies show off their latest and greatest electronic devices—it has to be something special. And if that product happens to be a television set—a product category in which differentiation is not always the name of the game—then it must be something spectacular.

“Spectacular” seems an appropriate way to describe Samsung’s upcoming S9W, an Ultra High Definition ultra-thin curved TV co-designed by Product Design alumnus Yves Behar’s (BS ‘91) Fuseproject studio—whose iconic designs include Jawbone’s Up activity tracker, the One Laptop Per Child computer, and the SAYL chair for Herman Miller—and Samsung’s senior vice president and designer Yun-je Kang.

The S9W was unveiled by Samsung at last week’s CES and it was immediately lauded by the press. Bloomberg Businessweek called it a “sculptural masterpiece”; The Verge called it “as much a piece of art as it is a consumer electronics product”; and WIRED called it “the clutter-free curved TV of your dreams.”

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Art Center’s Alumni Awards span the Nissan Cube, Airbnb and camel convoys

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014
Nissan's senior vice president and chief creative officer Shiro Nakamura (BS 81). Photo: Nissan

Nissan’s senior vice president and chief creative officer Shiro Nakamura (BS 81). Photo: Nissan

“As much as this recognition sits well with me, it’s also a reflection of this institution,” said Banza Ltd. founder and Product Design alumnus Patrick Kiruki (BS 05) at the Fall 2014 graduation ceremony on December 13, as he accepted Art Center’s Alumni Award in the category of Outstanding Service. “Art Center embodies the true meaning of an education by allowing each and every student to excel in what fires them up every morning.”

Each year, Art Center presents a select group of alumni with the Art Center Alumni Award in a number of categories. This year the College awarded the Lifetime Achievement award to Transportation Design alumnus Shiro Nakamura (BS 81); the Young Alumni Innovator award to Product Design alumna Katie Dill (BS 07); and the Outstanding Service award to Kiruki.

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Art Center in Asia: Onward Singapore

Thursday, December 11th, 2014
Shimano Cycling World, located at the Singapore Sports Hub, was designed by alumnus and Trustee Tim Kobe's (BS 82) Eight Inc., and just won two SPARK awards. Photo: Aarond Pocock

Shimano Cycling World, located at the Singapore Sports Hub, was designed by alumnus and Trustee Tim Kobe’s (BS 82) Eight Inc., and just won two SPARK awards. Photo: Aaron Pocock

In the latest issue of Dot magazine, we explore Art Center’s long history—nearly 60 years—of connections to Asia. Today, we look at the College’s presence in Singapore and its decade-long relationship with INSEAD.

From Beijing, take a six-hour flight south and you’ll find yourself in Singapore, a geographically tiny city-state where tropical rains meet Blade Runner-esque skylines.

Singapore is not only a central hub for Southeast Asian business, but it is also a country banking big on the innovation economy and bending over backwards to lure creative and entrepreneurial talent to its borders.

Just ask Environmental Design alumnus and Art Center Trustee Tim Kobe (BS 82), the founder of Eight Inc., a design firm whose clients include Apple, Citibank and Nokia and which has offices around the world, including Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore.

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Art Center in Asia: Seoul Power

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

In this photo from the mid-90s, Product Design alumnus Gordon Bruce (BS 72), standing, teaches a creativity course at the Innovative Design lab of Samsung (IDS).

In the latest issue of Dot magazine, we explore Art Center’s long history—nearly 60 years—of connections to Asia. Today, we look at the College’s now 20-year relationship with Samsung.

When it comes to Art Center in Asia, one man whose influence stretches far and wide is Product Design alumnus Gordon Bruce (BS 72), who this past Spring delivered the College’s commencement address and received the Art Center Lifetime Achievement Alumni Award.

At that event, Bruce told an entertaining story—complete with props—about teaching in Seoul, South Korea and the time he used a banana to illustrate to a group of Samsung designers why “mother nature is the best designer.”

Beyond drawing laughter and a big round of applause, his tale offered a unique glimpse into an era when Samsung was far from the technology powerhouse it is today and a time when the company and Art Center were just beginning what is today a 20-year relationship.

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