REIMAGINING DESIGN EDUCATION IN THE
CONTEXT OF A LIBERAL ARTS INSTITUTION
Every year, Brown University attracts many students who seek an interdisciplinary, multifaceted approach to learning. This includes many students with a strong interest in Design. However, at the moment, Brown does not offer any formalized curriculum or design resources that addresses this interest, leaving it up to the students to figure out how to best study the academic area that most interests them.
Fed up with this lack of formalized structure, a group of 10 students (including myself) took the stand to try and find a solution. Through an Independent Study Project, we created an official 62-page report that justified the case for a stronger emphasis on Design Education, especially within Brown's School of Engineering.
How does Design belong at a Liberal Arts institution? What implications does this have for the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) that lies right down the road? Would faculty actually be on board with what we are trying to do? These are the questions that we faced and challenged day in, day out with our project.
FOSTERING CHILD DEVELOPMENT
THROUGH IMAGINATIVE EXPLORATION
Design an exhibit for the Providence Children's Museum that encompasses the idea of "Free Play." A group of 7 students (Including myself) were brought in, and 3 different exhibitions were commissioned. My project partner, Aleksa, and I ultimately decided to create a Space-themed exhibit to fully encompass the idea of "Free Play." In addition, ours would be tasked with using lights as the central point of interaction.
This project very much put myself (and my partner) through every step of the Design Process, from start to finish. I was responsible for every step pictured in the timeline below, from ideating, sketching, CAD-ing, building, wiring, and finishing.
How do we construct a 8-ft tall structure that kids actually feel welcome to and that doesn't collapse? How do we stick to out $500 budget without compromising out original vision? How can all of this be done within the span of a few months? Issues of Design, Engineering, Timelines, and Budgets were hurdles that we fully had to face, but hurdles that (I'm glad to report) we have fully overcome.
PROCESS + DEVELOPMENT
Between the 10 of us, we divided ourselves into three groups, each help responsible for researching into a different perspective: the State of Design at Brown, Design at Other Institutions, and Industry & Aftermarket Sector.
SOLUTION + CONCLUSION
Our report was received by the School of Engineering with great success. We are now in the process of creating an Introduction to Engineering Design course that will be making its debut very soon this coming Fall of 2020.
I oversaw the research of the Aftermarket Sector. This included analyzing job postings and reaching out to a variety of Industry Leaders to understand what they look for in new hires and to understand types of projects designers would be taking on in the real world.
Before settling on an idea, my partner and I explored a multitude of other option (seen to the left). However, given our desire to build an exhibit that embodied "free play" and that deployed light as its source of interaction, we ultimately decided to go with our interactive rocket ship idea.
After our initial round of rough sketches, we began by making a handful of more concrete renderings, including the sketchbook drawing (showcasing the exterior and interior parts) and the 1-1 sized CAD model, which critically served as a road map during our construction phase.
To figure out the smaller details of our project, we began with some rough prototypes, including the cardboard cavity (left), which helped us figure out the interior dimension of 42" - enough for 2-3 kids and the mini-mockup model to the right, which helped us visualize the final assembly.
Taking the Rocket from a series of CAD models and sketches into a full life-size project was no small feat. Through the 3-Month long process, we ran into a number of hurdles, but came out the other end master woodworkers, electricians, and sewing experts.
THE NEXT ADVANCEMENTS
IN ACTIVE INTERIOR COMFORT
As the Automotive Industry is moving more and more towards autonomy, in-vehicle personalization features are becoming more and more relevant. As such, I was tasked with researching the current state of Biometric Technologies (across all Industries) and envision how this tech should be applied into the next-generation Cabin Experience.
Under the Interiors and Advanced Technology Team, my work involved desk research and numerous in-person meetings with Automotive Suppliers to discuss their available products and applications. From there, I formulated several specific recommendations for 4 FCA Vehicles based on each vehicle's specific use case.
My research was then presented to FCA executives to great praise; it was also forwarded to the UI/UX Team, with which I spent the remainder of my internship assisting on projects.
PART 2: SKILLSETS
DRAWING USING DIGITAL TOOLS
Photoshop and Illustrator: using the Adobe Suite's Brush and Polygon Tools in order to digitally render two of my all time favorite hobbies: Exotic Sports Cars & Beautiful Romanian Castles.
Using good 'ole fashioned pencils, pens, colored pencils, and markers to accurately visualize the physical appearance of these three iconic supercars: the LaFerrari, the F40, and the Enzo..
Not to forget about Ferrari's cross-town rival, here are three of Lamborghini's most iconic models: the Miura, the Countach, and the Aventador. rendered for my RISD class in Summer of 2018.
As a broke college kid on a budget, I love recreating iconic high end furniture pieces (that I otherwise could not afford) using recycled materials. Here is my take on a Marcel Breuer Classic!
Revitalizing an old, abandoned chair skeleton back into a usable, mid-century modern staple piece. Nothing beats turning something that looks haunted back into something beautiful.
Taking a goofy phrase and turning it into a fun, kitschy wall sign. Made using metal tubes that were hand polished and welded together, and Acrylic Letters made using a laser cutter.