Before and After
Kit Shan Li
School of Visual Arts, New York
“It’s excellent conceptually, and the metaphor of the tree is just perfect,” Probst said of Before and After, by Kit Shan Li, an MFA design student at New York’s School of Visual Arts. Li’s assignment to create a blank book came with no restrictions on size or shape; the challenge was to make the empty pages as important as if they were filled with words or pictures. She began with the source of the page-namely, the tree. Her first idea was to print a picture of a tree on the cover, so the reader’s eye would project the image onto each blank page as an optical illusion. But then Li decided to replace the picture with the tactile experience of a log. The blank pages became one continuous, weighty roll wrapped in a cylindrical cover imprinted with knotty bark. The title, Before and After, refers to the tree’s destiny as paper, letting users make their own determinations about the usefulness and preciousness of the material. Li managed to create a meditation on the meaning of blank and to imbue the word “with all kinds of emotion,” Probst said. “She told the story about where the book came from without writing anything about it.”
For an assignment to redesign the bedpan, Syracuse University industrial-design students Ross Exley and Eric R. R. Miller conceived a two-piece disposable version that is intended to “provide greater dignity and comfort in an uncomfortable circumstance.” Compared with conventional bedpans, their model is shaped to better accommodate the user’s position, the constraints of the hospital bed, the nurse’s involvement, and disposability issues. The rede.life is made of polylactic acid, a renewable starch-based polymer that mimics the strength and water resistance of traditional petroleum-based plastics but contains none of the chemicals that release harmful gas emissions when incinerated. Probst called the work “aesthetically pleasing and truly innovative.”
California College of the Arts and University of San Francisco
Probst praised the “perfect integration of technology and fashion” in En Route, a multifunctional garment for 20- to 30-year-old travelers. Eric Bergman, a fashion-design student at California College of Arts & Crafts (now California College of the Arts), teamed up with Lin Ayetut and Huong Ly, industrial-design students at the University of San Francisco, to conceive the jacket as an entertainment and information system for people moving through different time zones and cultures. In their proposal, a breast panel houses GPS mapping software, audio systems, and translation software, while discreet kinetic capturing modules in the hem harvest energy. A soft digital camera hangs asymmetrically from the hood, and an ultrasonic self-cleaning mechanism keeps the garment looking fresh. “It’s a product for those who travel a lot. It’s a nice treatment of all the elements,” said Smith.
Mountain Board Concept Bang Sungil
Academy of Art College
For a class in small vehicle design, Bang Sungil of San Francisco’s Academy of Art College reinterpreted the mountain board, a hybrid snowboard/skateboard used for all-terrain downhill boarding, a new trend in extreme sports. Constructed of carbon-fiber layers, the lightweight, ergonomic four-wheel skater has side handlebars for tricks, a snowboard-style binding that adjusts to different angles, and a shock-absorbent suspension system. “It’s a nicely engineered, well-thought-out product,” remarked Probst. “It’s a logical progression from skateboard to snowboard to this.”
The Kargil War Memorial
National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India
For an exercise in an exhibition-design class, Bikram Mittra, a student at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, India, created an interactive memorial to honor the 474 Indian soldiers killed in the 1999 Kargil War with Pakistan. Constrained only by size requirements-the design had to fit within a 130 x 130 x 65-foot space-Mittra began by isolating the concepts he wanted the memorial to convey and assigning a physical element to each: running water for purity, a burning flame for timelessness, and a soaring arch for glorification. The final arrangement incorporates the sacred Amar Jioti (“eternal flame”), which visitors stoke by lighting small candle-like flames that join the larger flame after rising through a series of pipes. An arch equipped with self-adjusting steel louvers shields visitors from the harsh sunlight. Photochromatic glass panes change color according to the intensity of ambient light, creating a spectacular visual play. “It’s a strong spiritual statement that would speak to all humanity equally. It incorporates everything that a memorial should,” Probst said.