2005 Student Design Review Design Distinction

Posted inID Mag

Expandable Urban Mobility Jacket

Kate LudwigCranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI

Kate Ludwig, a 3D design student, sought to reduce our society’s addiction to plastic bags by incorporating storage into stylish clothing. The Expandable Urban Mobility Jacket, seen here in a charcoal Gore-Tex model, boasts a hidden, expandable nylon bag, accessed via a zipper. An interior shoulder strap adds support. “The whole point is that people need more places to carry things,” Maeda said. “This turns the kangaroo idea into something really quite fashionable.” The jurors’ enthusiasm blossomed when someone was called in to model the garment. “From a fashion design standpoint, she really aced it,” Maeda marveled of the designer. “It looks like Sugoi.”

Spin Joseph Sean O’Brien Art Center College of Design, pasadena, CA

Joseph Sean O’Brien’s Spin (pronounced “spine”) is an aluminum folding chair that collapses and well-nigh vanishes into a wavy sheet of metal. “This guy went all out,” Henderson said, noting the complicated manner in which the chair folds. “Sculpturally it’s good. Materials use is way up there.” Maeda was impressed with O’Brien’s use of a single piece of water-jet-cut aluminum and with the void it left in the chair’s template: “It’s the negative, an artifact of the process of production.” The jurors did note one drawback: the cumbersome weight, which canceled out any folding-chair virtues. “It’s a really cool, original accomplishment. But it’s not the most practical thing,” Henderson said. “Once you set it up, it’s going to stay set up, for years, probably. It’s not exactly something you put away and take out when you have company.”

Transmutation Lilya Turki Ecole Cantonale d’art de Lausanne, Switzerland

In Lilya Turki’s playful design metamorphoses, book pages gradually change from text to pictures and then to newspapers; wallpaper evolves to mimic nearby objects; and T-shirt graphics migrate into the three-dimensional world and back again. “It’s very Shigeo Fukuda, very surrealist-based,” Maeda said. He liked the “classical tricks” such as fantastical trompe l’oeil. Henderson noted the “nice details.”

Spotlight the Music and Touch the Light Suk-woo Lee Hong-IK University, Seoul, Korea

Can light play a useful role in a household beyond providing illumination? Can an audio interface be anything but knobs and buttons on a metal box? Suk-woo Lee’s Hershey’s Kiss-shaped pendant light with an internal CD player proposes the integration of soft light and tactile interfaces. It beams holographic controls for the audio device onto a surface by way of a “virtual keyboard” that registers touch. The idea, Lee suggests, is that one could sit and read by the same light that controls the music. “This is well done. It can be used in many ways,” Maeda said.

The Metascape Experience Bikram Mittra National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India

“‘Wow,’ was my initial reaction,” Henderson said of Metascape, a holograph-driven “future narrative museum” prototype designed by 2003 SDR winner Bikram Mittra as a “landscape of wisdom.” Each of its spare, luminescent exhibition spaces is an experiential venue for examining fundamental questions of human existence. In “The Forest of Infinity,” holographic trees connected to “seeds” constantly shift and are redrawn, evoking that perception is not absolute. In “The Corridors of Time,” a straight platform brings visitors through series of luminous frames that curve and straighten, suggesting different experiences of time travel at different paces.

“Most science museums are not so high-tech—every one I’ve ever been to reminds me of a post office,” Henderson said, admiring Metascape’s shimmering OLED screens and glowing, Pompidou-like tube passageways. Carlos judged the renderings “incredible” but added, “It’s in drawn form. Whether it actually gets built is another story.” Maeda described the project as “a cleaner version of Syd Mead” as well as a “vision piece of how things will look and feel in the future.” It seemed to augur a bright future for Mittra as well. “When you see a student thinking this far out,” Maeda said, “you know they have a career arc they can work toward. Not tomorrow or today, but far out.”

Intersection: 4 Cities, 360 People Cynthia Tuan Hochschule Für Gestaltung und Kunst, Basel, Switzerland

Intersection, a kind of cartographic Friendster, documents the people Cynthia Tuan met—and where and when she met them—over the course of four years. The goal, she wrote, was to “show how design and beautiful images can be created by information.” Ranging from colorful bar charts to quasi-fractals, the results give graphic form to random meeting times and places. “It seems very Swiss,” Maeda said, even before noting the student’s school. “It’s anti-typography in a way, which may be showing a new trend—pure color, a loss of type.” Observed Carlos: “There isn’t text that explains all these graphics. But because it’s so beautifully done, I want to interact with it. It shows that complexity doesn’t need to be that complex.”

Armadillo Backpack Eddie Sang-ho Lee Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA

You’re at the beach and want to catch a few waves, but you’re worried about leaving behind your cell phone, watch, and Oakley shades. The solution? Attach your hard-shelled Armadillo Backpack to a light post, bike rack, or guardrail, close the lock, and hope the surf is epic. The segmented exterior, inspired not only by armadillos, but also by medieval armor, lobsters, and the Sydney Opera House, conceals a soft inner backpack and is flexible enough to wrap around many stationary structures. “This would sell,” Maeda said. “With the ubiquity of street poles, you have the perfect place to hang something.” One concern was that Eddie Sang-Ho Lee did not address the problem of unattended objects in an age of terrorism. But “do we have to live in that world?” Carlos wondered. “Who’d blow up a beach?”

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