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Launched in 1995, Core77 serves a devoted global audience of design professionals, corporations, students, enthusiasts and fans.
Updated: 12 hours 26 min ago

Reader Submitted: The Pacific all-day shoes using materials destined for landfill

Sun, 2019-08-18 19:49

Taking materials that would be otherwise destined for landfill, The Pacific is an eco-conscious footwear line made entirely from recycled materials including algae-based foam, chrome-free recycled leather trimmings and tree-based linings.

View the full project here

Explore the Evolution of the Office (and Possibilities for the Future) at A/D/O's Latest Exhibition

Sun, 2019-08-18 19:49

"If the office is no longer spatial, what has it become? Where work and life are conflated, what is the relationship between the office and identity?" These are some of the questions posed by Out of Office, an exhibition exploring the evolution of the office from 1950 to a speculative 2050. Taking place at A/D/O—a fitting venue to explore shifting paradigms of work—and co-curated by Andrea Hill of TORTUGA Living, Alex Gilbert, and Soft-Firm, the exhibition tracks "the feedback loop" between design, technology, and the office.

The show is comprised of four installations. First upon entering, the interactive Water Cooler Talk places the ubiquitous conversation starter next to a live feed from a Slack group to suggest how "the symbolic heart of the office" has shifted, while phrases like "Step away" and "Work smarter, not harder" remind us of the negative repercussions of our always-connected culture.

There's a sense of what we're losing in The Supply Closet as well, which showcases an array of office supplies, many of which are now nostalgia-inducing. "It's rare that we interface with anything other than a computer these days," the curators told us in a recent interview. "What would it take to reinvigorate our senses and make for more inspiring modes of communication and creation? Can something as simple as receiving a letter in the mail help diminish our digital fatigue? We believe that the manual tools of work can continue to spark productivity even as they become less directly tied to our output."

The meatiest component is the Evolution of the Desktop, a graphic timeline that tells "an associative story of how the office evolved alongside global events, cultural and political shifts, labor movements, and pop culture," through the lens of several narrative arcs: from job security to flexibility, hierarchy to horizontality, profit-driven to innovation-driven, control to autonomy, homogeneity to diversity. The cloud-like graphics (likely inspired by Charles Jencks's Evolutionary Tree diagram) express how "these values overlap and bleed into each other, setting the stage for inventions, emergent technologies, IPOs, and work movements," the curators say. "It isn't meant to be a definitive survey from 1920-2050...we intended to create an installation that offered a great deal of information about the evolving office in a single glance."

Beneath the graphic, a standing desk prototype designed by Robert Propst—the originator of the cubicle furniture system—for Herman Miller in 1963 and SO-IL's speculative furniture system designed for Knoll in 2014 bookend an array of workplace innovations, "from the curious to the canonical."

Tucked away in a separate room, the dimly lit space of Wellness 2050 offers a place to rest under the familiar glow of a projection, which shows a bucolic landscape—more or less a stand-in image for wherever a worker would prefer to be. Will conference rooms be transformed into wellness rooms? "With the increasing virtuality of work and nature, spaces for escaping and unplugging from our new reality may be the new normal."

Each distinct installation expands on the exhibition's underlying questions and teases out even more strands of thought to chew on—but don't go in expecting any answers. Ultimately the show hopes to "prompt designers to expand their role in the creation of new, humanistic formats for work."

What do the curators forecast for the future of office design? "Office design has become increasingly about wearables," they say. "Building technology will become smarter over time (like a device) and office technology will catch up to the algorithm."

The Weekly Design Roast, #12

Sun, 2019-08-18 19:49

"My research shows that people often misplace chairs. What could be more frustrating than getting back to your desk, only to discover you've lost the chair again? Well, with my design, that never happens!"

"I've joined the legion of clever designers who design a thing that doesn't work well, but is cool because it's made out of another thing."

"I designed this sofa for people who have friends who smell and/or have annoyingly loud voices."

"Here's a great application for generative design: Wine decanters that are impossible to clean with a bottle brush."

"I designed this chair so that I could read a book while my wife scans the lawn for intruders."

"It's true that pushing it shut and zipping it closed makes it very difficult to get in and out of, but it's worth it for those times when I want to undress in the middle of the living room when I'm having people over."

"I designed this so that I can walk and text in the rain. It doesn't leave my hands free to hold an umbrella, but what's more important, keeping myself dry or my phone dry?"

"I like my cylindrical tiny home, but sometimes when the neighborhood kids roll it down a hill, I do wish I had chosen a different shape."

"I wanted to combine the beauty of living in nature with the inconvenience of a three-story walk-up."

"I'll tell you when he goes to lunch, then all you'll have to do is sneak in and loosen two bolts. It'll look like an accident, and we'll split the insurance money fifty-fifty."

Reader Submitted: Metamorphose - portable stain remover

Sun, 2019-08-18 19:49

Many techniques and methods are used to remove clothes stains including scrubbing, dabbing and rinsing. It can quickly become an overwhelming task to do particularly for beginners. Metamorphose aims to provide a single but honest process of removing stains effectively, eliminating the unnecessary stress and embarrassment that comes along with one.

View the full project here

Design Job: Quench your thirst for a new job as a Product Developer at Takeya in Huntington Beach, CA

Sun, 2019-08-18 19:49

Takeya USA is seeking a detail-oriented and team-minded individual to become our Senior Product Developer & Technical Project Manager (SPD) to oversee all Takeya Product Development projects. Project management responsibilities include the coordination and execution of project tasks and completion of projects on time, within budget and within scope in

See the full job details or check out all design jobs at Coroflot.

A Hand-Operated Rolling Bridge Planned for London Redevelopment

Sun, 2019-08-18 19:49

As part of a masterplan reimagining Cody Dock in East London, architect Thomas Randall-Page was inspired to create a modern version of the retractable rolling bridges first invented during the Industrial Revolution. The small-scale pedestrian bridge will use a system of hand-operated mechanisms and counterweights to rotate a full 180 degrees, accommodating boats and barges that need to pass underneath it.

"Rolling parallel to the channel it crosses, this design owes much to its Victorian forbears. They knew that moving large heavy structures efficiently requires that they are a balanced system and my design works on this same principle," Randall-Page says. "Finished in painted steel the bridge design aims to be understated in its rest position but celebratory and playful in its movement creating a memorable event for spectators when operated."

Teeth alongside the railings enable the bridge to be moved in a steady gear-like motion, while counterweights built into the rounded square frame add further stability and prevent it from getting stuck in a particular position. A single cable will attach the structure to a crank handle, allowing just one person to invert the bridge. All in all, it'll be much easier to operate than other movable bridges.

Despite the nod to Victorian-era engineering, the project looks forward to the future of motion-based architecture, as Fast Company already noted, also citing the operable roof of New York City's Shed museum as a recent example of the latest trends in kinetic architecture and responsive urban design.

Randall-Page has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for construction which will be part of a larger masterplan for the area—a former industrial neighborhood that hopes to become a new hub for creatives—by PUP Architects. The bridge will connect walking and biking paths on either side of the canal, increasing connections between planned artist studios, exhibition spaces, and fabrication workshops along the banks of the Lea River.

Currently Crowdfunding: A Modular Guitar, the Latest From Oru Kayak, and More

Sun, 2019-08-18 19:49

Brought to you by MAKO Design + Invent, North America's leading design firm for taking your product idea from a sketch on a napkin to store shelves. Download Mako's Invention Guide for free here.

Navigating the world of crowdfunding can be overwhelming, to put it lightly. Which projects are worth backing? Where's the filter to weed out the hundreds of useless smart devices? To make the process less frustrating, we scour the various online crowdfunding platforms to put together a weekly roundup of our favorite campaigns for your viewing (and spending!) pleasure. Go ahead, free your disposable income:

Designed by a master luthier and built out of injection-molded plastic, the Boaz One guitar features a system of interchangeable modules that can support up to 50 different combinations. Each module promises to feel like "picking up a whole new guitar." Unlike guitars made out of wood, this one isn't affected by temperature changes or humidity. It also comes with a built-in kickstand-style guitar stand and an optional built-in amp.

Two Scottish engineers have taken their side project to the next level with POTR, self-watering origami planters made entirely out of recycled materials. Backers will receive their pot flat-packed in an envelope with a cotton cord that functions like a drawstring to pull the form into shape. The cord does double-duty by placing one end in the water reservoir at the bottom and the other into the soil—a simple way for the plant to draw up moisture when it needs it. The semi-transparent design makes it easy to see when water is running low.

Here's another origami-inspired creation, the latest product from the team at Oru Kayak, The Inlet. Made for flat water, the extra-wide design incorporates an integrated floorboard, an adjustable footrest and backrest, bow fairings and bulkheads to reinforce rigidity. Best of all, it weighs only 20 pounds and comes together in mere minutes so you can focus on getting out on the water.

Ideal for VR, gaming, and music buffs, Woojer's Vest Edge (pictured above) and the more subtle Strap Edge (which is like a belt that can be strapped on to different parts of the body), uses haptic technology to create an immersive, "mesmerizing audio experience." You won't just hear the bass tones, you'll be able to feel them course through your body.

Detachable hexagonal tiles made of a rubber-like material allow you to customize this doormat endlessly. Though the campaign claims it's weather- and wear-proof, you could also place it in less trafficked areas of the home.

Do you need help designing, developing, patenting, manufacturing, and/or selling YOUR product idea? MAKO Design + Invent is a one-stop-shop specifically for inventors / startups / small businesses. Click HERE for a free confidential product consultation.

Volunteer at the 2019 Core77 Conference, "The Third Wave"

Sun, 2019-08-18 19:49

Want to help out at this year's Core77 Conference? We're looking for a few volunteers to lend a hand throughout the day!

The 2019 Core77 Conference takes place on Friday, October 4th at New Lab in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and we need a few people to help make conference attendees' experience the best it can be. This year's conference, "The Third Wave", will focus on an emerging approach to design that veers away from our current commercial understanding of innovation and market disruption, instead asking designers to use their skills and insights to help shape a more responsible, inclusive world.

Applying for a chance to volunteer is easy—simply sign up via our via the link below, and we'll get back to you within a few days of applying. Please note that volunteers must be able to be in Brooklyn on October 4th to qualify.

Start your volunteer application here

Artist Joshua Vides Collaborates with Converse on a DIY-Style Chuck 70 Sneaker

Sun, 2019-08-18 19:49

The DIY wave in streetwear is still riding high. On August 16th, Converse will answer to the call for more one of a kind footwear with a new sneaker designed by artist Joshua Vides. Vides, who is well known for his comic-like graphic illustrations and experiential collaborations with Takashi Murakami, designed his own take on a Chuck 70 high top by integrating Velcro panels that come in multiple Pantone shades. The provided Velcro hook and loop panels allow the wearer to create ultra-custom sneakers they can swap on a daily basis.

The black and white version of Vides' Chuck 70 also features the artist's signature black and white illustrations, which appear on the outsole and give the sneaker silhouette a surreal graphic look. The hand-drawn, additive quality harkens back to the origins of the iconic chuck, a sneaker known to many as a wearable canvas for personal expression.

The opportunity to redesign an iconic shoe like the Converse arose somewhat out of chance—as Vides mentions, "while I was in NYC, a member of the Converse team introduced themselves and mentioned they were interested in meeting. Maybe an hour later, we were sitting down to discuss a potential collaboration." The collaboration took a little under a year from idea to release, and is the first Converse sneaker to feature an entire upper with a separate Velcro panel.

Is ultra-customization the future of streetwear? It's still hard to tell, as sneakers with the same offbeat spirit as Vides' are popping up regularly in an almost viral fashion. Trends in sneaker design such as this stand as an interesting challenge to designers, who are increasingly prompted to create products that allows for personalization and putting consumers in the creative driver's seat.

Whatever the future holds, Vides' is on board for encouraging widespread design-mania, as he told Core77: "I'm in the position I am today only because I felt the need to create. As much as the collaboration is part of me, I looked at this opportunity as a opportunity to give back. Anyone who has the product in their hand, now has the ability to customize an iconic shoe literally within seconds."

The Joshua Vides Converse Chuck 70s will be available starting August 16th at Converse.com.

Design Job: Help solve brand and business problems as a Product Design Manager for Pepsico in New York City

Sun, 2019-08-18 19:49

PepsiCo Design & Innovation is a creatively driven team that leverages the power of Design Thinking to solve brand and business problems that drive meaningful value and growth. Our team’s mission is to lead the innovation agendas in order to accelerate and transform PepsiCo’s Global brands

See the full job details or check out all design jobs at Coroflot.

This Limited-Edition Bike is Made Out of 300 Nespresso Pods

Sun, 2019-08-18 19:49

Consumers are increasingly discerning about making sustainable choices and brands have to keep up. In a new attempt to find creative uses for the billions of single-use coffee pods that are discarded around the world, Nespresso partnered with Swedish start-up Vélosophy to make a bicycle out of recycled pods. Each RE:CYCLE bike is made out of roughly 300 pods and dons the distinctive purple hue of the Arpeggio blend. 1,000 bikes were produced as part of the limited-edition collaboration, and they retail for $1,446.

RE:CYCLE was initiated by Jimmy Östholm, a former IKEA communications manager, serial bike entrepreneur, and founder of Vélosophy. Östholm had used recycled aluminum from unknown sources in previous bicycle designs but wanted to encapsulate the circular economy in RE:CYCLE by being able to tell people exactly where the material originated. The main challenge was figuring out how to make the lightweight aluminum used in the capsules rigid enough to meet bicycle manufacturing standards. RE:CYCLE spent two years in development.

Designed with eco-conscious coffee drinkers in mind, the seven-gear city bike has a few details that nod to its origins: the Arpeggio purple frame, a bell shaped in the form of a Nespresso capsule, and a front carrying basket made of steam-bended wood with two cup holders.

Recent statistics show that one in three households owns a single-use coffee maker and an estimated 56 billion single-use capsules end up in landfills each year where they take roughly 150 years to decompose. Their environmental impact has long been under scrutiny. Even though recycling aluminum is an easier, less energy-intensive process than recycling plastics, only 35% of all manufactured aluminum ends up being recycled, and that's in large part because consumers tend to throw aluminum products in the trash rather than the recycling bin.

Nespresso has been ramping up efforts to make recycling easier and bolster its sustainability agenda. In the US, Nespresso offers pre-paid recycling bags in 48 states, allowing users to mail back capsules to be recycled. Alternatively, consumers can drop their bags off at one of 88,000 UPS drop-off locations, or one of 500 collection points at Nespresso retail partners. The capsules go to a certified recycling plant that separates the aluminum shells from the coffee grounds, which are made into compost, topsoil or turned into biogas. Still, the company's most recent recycling rate was estimated at a rather paltry 25%.

The driving idea behind the collaboration was to create a product that would encourage users to recycle their capsules. "Through our collaboration with Vélosophy, we're illustrating to coffee lovers the potential of recycling their aluminum Nespresso capsules," said Jean-Marc Duvoisin, CEO of Nespresso, in a statement. "We have been inspired by working with Vélosophy, and I hope the RE:CYCLE bicycle inspires people to recycle." Previously, Nespresso partnered with Victorinox to make Swiss army knives out of recycled capsules and French stationery brand Caran D'Ache to create a ballpoint pen.

Design Job: Design consumer tech products and work with startups as an Industrial Designer at Bould Design in San Mateo, CA

Sun, 2019-08-18 19:49

Bould Design is growing and we are looking for an exceptional designer to join our award winning San Mateo studio on a full-time basis. As a part of our team, you will collaborate on all phases of the design process from conceptualization to production. We offer an intense, yet informal environment for focused, highly motivated designers. Our client list includes industry dominating brands such as Roku, Daikin and Hunter Douglas as well as nimble start-ups like Eero, Rylo, Poynt and Proxy. Our p

See the full job details or check out all design jobs at Coroflot.

Reader Submitted: 7 day project to redesign the Yamaha YXZ

Sun, 2019-08-18 19:49

I was given a wide-ranging brief to re-design the Yamaha YXZ side by side, and a short 7 day deadline to deliver concepts.

View the full project here

Atolla's Skin Health System Drivenby Machine Learning is Designed for You and Only You

Sun, 2019-08-18 19:49

After a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2018, Atolla—a customized skincare company born and bred at MIT—has launched its first product. The Atolla Skin Health System is a monthly subscription model that costs $45 a month. The Atolla subscription includes a skin analysis kit, a skin health tracking app, and finally, a serum created just for you. Customers will receive a new serum each month that adjusts according to an algorithm that incrementally factors changes such as seasonal weather, diet, and skin pH. The difference between Atolla and other skincare companies is a future-forward solution made to help people ailing with skin problems through pinpointed data and skin science.

CEO Meghan Maupin's original idea for Atolla stemmed from her MIT thesis research on the skincare industry's environmental effects and her personal skin troubles. "I have super sensitive skin, and when I got to MIT, I found myself dealing with a whole new set of skin issues," says Maupin, "I couldn't understand what was causing my skin freakouts or how to solve them." With COO Sid Salvi, Maupin formed the idea to leverage advanced machine learning algorithms to log precise skin data around individual consumers to create hyper-personal serums.

The process of designing customized skincare turns out to be a complicated business. To blend precise skincare formulas, the Atolla team had to employ a modular customization manufacturing model, which meant finding manufacturers excited about their technology's potential. As Maupin noted: "[finding manufacturing partners] takes someone who understands where the industry is going to go and that the future of manufacturing in any industry is data driven. To us, it seems like a chemist's dream—we have all this data about people's skin, what they like and what will work. We're so excited about this, so we had to find people and partners who also thought it was equally cool."

User testing and app updates were another huge undertaking for Atolla pre-launch. Atolla used their crowdfunding customer base after the campaign to continue design research. This user research helped them reach small UX breakthroughs for their final app. For example, Atolla subscriptions begin with an online intake survey, followed by the skin analysis kit sent in the mail shortly after. As Maupin told us, "originally in our user testing, [the intake survey and skin analysis kit were] lumped together, but then we found that people completed more often if we split them up into two parts—it made it more digestible." The Atolla app helps you track your skin's progress and how different beauty products might be affecting your skin. Maupin says in addition to providing a product that works, "we can help people solve and figure out issues that they're having that they haven't been able to figure out on their own. That's the prime application of our model."

Finally, establishing the right tone for the brand's overall design was an important factor in Atolla's launch plan. "From a branding perspective, we've done a lot of testing. A big thing we've been trying to do with our visual was adding warmth, to both images and [physical] materials." The packaging maintains a feel that lies in between the cosmetic and pharmaceutical, which signals a sense of trust mixed with a fun attitude reminiscent of your other favorite skincare brands. In accordance with the brands sustainability goals, the team also put a big emphasis on their product packaging and shipping materials being either recyclable or compostable. "Obviously we're shipping something to someone each month so we wanted to make sure that all of our packaging could easily be recycled," says Maupin.

The Atolla team has big plans for new products and helpful app features in the future, but for now, introducing a personalized serum into the market allows the brand to easily merge into consumers' daily skin routines. "We're not, as a new brand, asking people to replace their favorite product with us," says Maupin, "we're building their trust by helping them solve an issue." After all, the company's purpose isn't just to become the new skincare product that customers are addicted to using. Atolla's entire mission is to reimagine the future of skincare by creating a system gives users agency in understanding what products will truly work for their skin.

Atolla CEO Meghan Maupin will be speaking at this year's Core77 Conference, "The Third Wave". Don't miss your chance to attend, get your tickets now!

MoMA Design Store Features Icons of Italian Design in its Latest Pop-Up

Sun, 2019-08-18 19:49

Journalist Anna Lagorio and photographer Alex Carnevali founded Fattobene (which means "well-made" in Italian) in 2015 as an antidote to e-commerce culture. They travel throughout Italy in search of beautifully crafted objects—most of which have been made the same way for hundreds of years. "They are minute, silent objects with an irresistible charm," the duo explain. "Over the years, their role has changed and these simple industrial products have transformed into true icons of everyday life."

Their curated offerings make the hard-to-find yet timeless items more accessible while creating an "atlas of Italian material culture." A selection of Fattobene's findings is now available outside of Italy for the first time, through a temporary pop-up at the MoMA Design Store, either in person at their Soho location or online.

These handpainted ceramic tiles designed by legendary architect Gio Ponti in 1960 for an Italian hotel project he was working on are being sold as single pieces for the first time.

Premana Egg Scissors

This mushroom knife is made in Premana—the Italian village known for producing premium cutting tools—and features a curved cutting blade, a brush, and a scale.

The Zenith 590 Mix Stapler is a colorful version of the original Zenith Stapler that was invented in Italy in 1948.

Dell'Era Astra Bulletin Board Pins

The collection includes a range of home accessories made in Italy from the 1800s through the 1970s. You'll find blue ceramic tiles designed by Gio Ponti, traditional student notebooks and other office supplies, hangers designed by Giuseppe Toscanini (who was commissioned by major fashion houses like Valentino and Chanel to make custom hangers for their collections), and even personal care products in charming art déco packaging.

There's one piece of furniture in the mix, the foldable Spaghetti Outdoor Lounge Chair designed by FIAM in the 1980s. Its made of a lightweight aluminum frame and flexible, handwoven PVC bands that whimsically nod to Italy's staple dish.

An important element of Lagorio and Carnevali's mission is to bring attention to companies that have been around for decades and expand their customer base by making their products more accessible. "Some of these companies really had no online presence, and this really astonished me when I started researching because you couldn't find them even through Google," Lagorio said to Fast Company.

Many of the products haven't changed since they first debuted. Coccoina Almond Glue, for example, is an icon in Italy, first invented by Aldo Balma in 1927. Nowadays it's still produced using the original, solvent-free recipe and features the same aluminum tin and retro label from the 1920s.

Fattobene's founders take a hands-on approach to sourcing which sometimes results in fortunate finds and special reissues. When they visited the Pigma notebook factory in Bergamo last year, they found an extensive archive of more than 1,000 out of print styles and brought back a limited run of the Bella Copia A5 Unlined—a colorful, striped style that was designed in 1951.

The Fattobene pop-up will be available at the MoMA Design Store in Soho and online through September 29.

These Designers are Pioneering the Furniture of the Future, and Building It Right Now

Sat, 2019-08-17 19:04

For over a decade, design-build firm Because We Can has been a pioneer in wielding in-house digital fabrication for the benefit of their clients. By marrying clever design with a mastery of CNC fabrication, BWC became the go-to firm for clients seeking stylish, functional and completely personalized work that could only be conceived of by human beings, and could only be (economically) fabricated by machines.

Image credit: Because We Can

Image credit: Because We Can

Image credit: Because We Can

Their client list and range of work is broad--BWC's portfolio consists of architecture, interiors and furniture for both contract and residential clients--and during their 13 years of operation, co-founders Jeffrey McGrew and Jillian Northrup have run into plenty of challenges. Particularly with the furniture industry, where "the amount of waste is staggering," McGrew says. Environmentally-unfriendly materials being used to create short-lifespan furniture has been a sticking point for the sustainably-minded firm. And even when the furniture is manufactured in a sustainable way, the duo found that the lead times and sheer cost of custom furniture provided a significant obstacle for clients.

Image credit: Because We Can

To solve these issues, McGrew and Northrup got together with industrial designer Adam Weaver and software engineer Vani Khosla. Together, the group co-founded Model No., an unprecedented type of furniture operation that leverages manufacturing technology in BWC's signature way. "We're using digital fabrication to make awesome, on-demand, customized designer furniture that folks have never seen before, and we're selling it directly thru the web," McGrew explains. "So it's like Nike ID and Nike Flyknit, but for dining tables and chairs." And as per the company's founding principles, both customizability and sustainability go hand in hand.

We interviewed McGrew, Northrup and Weaver to learn what Model No. does.

(This interview has been edited for length, clarity and flow.)

Core77: What inspired the formation of Model No.?

Jeffrey McGrew: Through working with countless clients over the years to build and outfit their interior spaces, we came to realize the huge limitations in the furniture industry. We kept seeing the same problem come up again and again: People want custom designer furniture, but it was always too expensive, took way too long to get, and was really hard to order.

Are you talking residential or contract?

Jeffrey: Both. As one example, we're working on a high-end residence right now in Palo Alto, it's a fancy, minimalist modern house. The client ordered a custom dining table that's an unusual size. It took four months for them to get it, and the price was low five figures.

Another example: At Because We Can, we do a lot of creative interiors for start-ups and videogame companies. These aren't companies with a ton of money, but they really do cherish design and creative interiors--they actually use these interiors, which are sometimes over-the-top, as a marketing, recruiting and lifestyle tool, and to retain talent. And in all of the cases, these clients want custom conference tables. Even if we make it in our in-house shop with all of our digital fabrication stuff, it's still going to be a month or two, and it's still going to cost a lot of money.

Adam: And the other thing that we've identified over the years, is that the contract world is emulating the residential world, where the interiors try to be more like living rooms. And in some of these applications, the contract tables don't really match residential geometry. And vice versa with the home, where somebody sees a nice Steelcase or Herman Miller table that they like at work, and then they bring it home and find it doesn't fit. So there's this weird cross-pollination that's happening between residential and contract that's made clients a little more savvy about the dimensionality and what they want for their space.

How long ago did you notice the contract/residential line-blurring trend start to happen?

Adam: About six, seven years ago? And it's now mainstream.

Jillian: The residential look in the office is everywhere. Any large office you go into, they'll have a little space that feels like a living room. And vice versa.

Jeffrey: And as you know, much of the current furniture industry is very wasteful. It's not always made in very efficient or sustainable ways. One's options are often either 'one size fits all' or totally hand-made artisan bespoke. So much of it is made from unfriendly materials, and most ends up in landfills.

So the difference between what we're doing versus how the furniture world currently works is vast. We're on a trajectory to show the world that it does not have to be that way, that you can get a beautiful, striking piece of furniture that fits perfectly in your home or work (because you specified the size, shape and material), and not be contributing to harmful environmental practices by purchasing it or getting rid of it down the road.

How does Model No. tackle these issues?

Jeffrey: We've been interested in getting into a retail line of furniture for years, and the opportunity came to us last year to join up with some partners and seriously look into large-scale 3D printing and digital fabrication as a viable option for on-demand, customized designer furniture production.

After a lot of hard work, we've been able to develop what we think is the right combination of tools, technology, designs, and people to really change the designer furniture industry. Empowering customers to personalize their pieces, get quality designer items, but for reasonable prices and short ship times.

We're creating unique objects that are perfected for your needs, and not someone else's. Using generative / computational design, large-scale 3D printing, and other on-demand digital fabrication we're able to make all sorts of forms never really done before in mass-market furniture: Dynamic shapes that would be too hard or wasteful to cast or mill, and which can be totally customized to fit their uses much better. Tables that are just the size and shape needed, chairs that fit your body just so, interesting items that are really yours.

Also exciting are the bioplastics and sustainable materials we've been working with to manufacture all our goods, creating new material out of industrial food waste and turning it into something useful and beautiful. Then, at the end of its life, being able to city compost those goods, or send them back to us and we'll grind them up into new product.

Image credit: Model No.

Image credit: Model No.

Image credit: Model No.

Image credit: Model No.

That's a lot to unpack! First off, what led you guys towards generative design?

Jill: That's the answer to the ability to make things configurable for the consumer.

Jeffrey: And in order to hit a really short timeframe, where you can order a custom piece and get it in weeks rather than months, and possibly even faster, to hit that we have to leverage a lot of automation to make that happen. That naturally leads us into generative design. In the current scenario of ordering a custom conference table or seating element from say, Herman Miller or Steelcase, there are a lot of really manual steps that people are doing all along the way to fill that order. [Oftentimes] the designer has to go through everything manually and update all of this stuff to produce this one-off custom element.

Mainstream traditional manufacturing is actually pretty bad at creating one-offs. They're really good at when you need thousands of something, but if you only need one, traditional manufacturing is no more efficient or effective at doing that than a lot of bespoke shops are.

So part of our challenge was trying to figure out how can we hit the timelines and price points that we want to hit, but still maintain their design integrity of these really great, modern products.

Adam: Also, most manufacturers are building something once for a specific 99% of users in mind; but we're not taking the cookie-cutter position, and with that in mind, the generative design process allows us to write algorithms and programs that solve for some of the different geometries that it's going to run into.

Image credit: Model No.

Image credit: Model No.

Speaking of which, how will this work, from the customer's perspective? How will they be able to customize a piece?

Jillian: They can go onto our website, and there's a whole range of pre-configured products with different presets, so to speak, that we found were attractive. You can either purchase one of the pieces that's already designed, or you can click the 'customize' button and change that design to whatever specifications you're interested in: You can make it shorter, taller, skinnier, wider, you can add some form changes, you can change the color and the material.

Adam: And the configurator is highly thought out and thoroughly tested.

Jeff: It works in a way that you can't design something that's wrong--[it won't let you] configure a table that's ugly or that's going to tip over and not work.

Jillian: Or that can't be printed, that was a lot of it too. We are really pushing everything being made through additive manufacturing, and we have these designs that you can pretty dramatically customize. You can make them really short or really wide, and we wanted to ensure that we can print with no supports, so that we can keep both the lead-times and the post-processing low.

Image credit: Model No.

Image credit: Model No.

What are the sustainable materials and bioplastics you're working with?

Jeffrey: So the hardwoods we're working with are all FSC-certified hardwoods. We're sticking with domestic species that come from our region, so a lot of stuff that is coming from the western United States.

Jillian: The bio-resins are from a company that uses post-agricultural waste, mostly corn and sugarcane. These contain starch-like substances that they can boil down and create this plastic-like substance with. So it is compostable and county-waste-pick-up compatible, so you can literally put it in your city compost.

Adam: And most of the corn and sugarcane is initially used for industrial food operations, like factory farms and feed, and there is a lot of bio waste there. So they're taking the husks and the stuff that the animals aren't using, and they're turning it into plastic. Ordinarily they would burn those unused components or put it in landfill, so [this application is] better for the environment.

Earlier you mentioned being able to take the products back from the end user. Can you talk about that?

Jillian: We had an idea: We want to be able to accept pieces back, grind them up and use them--we can use 30% post-use bio-resin with 70% new bio-resin to make new products. Or we can use them for our prototyping purposes. We can also grind it up and send it to our local city compost. So we will accept pieces back and deal with them in the most eco-friendly way.

Jeff: And we've talked about restoring the pieces and reselling them.

Jill: The idea is that we could have a resale area on the site where prices are cheaper because they've been restored and they are used.

Image credit: Model No.

What gave you this idea?

Jeff: In large part because in the contract and commercial furniture world, the amount of waste is staggering. Every five to eight years an office will get re-done and they'll throw away everything. There is a secondary market where some of that stuff gets re-sold, sometimes it gets reused, and to their credit some of the furniture vendors like Herman Miller have tried to make their products be more recyclable, or so that they can be disassembled and re-processed in some way. But we found, after doing research, that that only happens sometimes.

Jill: And we've been really inspired by the fashion industry, because right now they're doing it and really pushing it. There are high-end clothing brands that are taking back old product of theirs, rehabbing it, then reselling it at reduced rates, or turning it into new products, or appropriately disposing of it in an eco-friendly way.

Jeff: So in the future we might have a "creative colors series" or something like that, where the pieces are made using the 30%-recycled product, meaning the colors you'll get in those products are going to be a lot more varied and have a lot more interesting changes to them, and that's part of their allure and what will make them unique.

What are some examples of unfriendly materials used by the furniture industry?

Adam: Polycarbonate, which is a petroleum-based product that takes a lifetime to break down, and is not a very good one to recycle. And ABS, which is just in everything.

[Editor's Note: Both polycarbonate and ABS are technically recyclable, but are in the catch-all #7 category of "other" plastics, a mash-up of polymers that don't fit into the neat, single-material categories of #1 thru #6. As a result, special sorting and processing equipment is required to separate and recycle polycarbonate and ABS from the plastic lasagna that is #7, and if your local recycling center does not have this equipment, #7 plastics are simply diverted to the landfill.]

Jill: The ABS plastic is something that a lot of people are 3-D printing with. We are not using ABS plastic, we're using all PLA, which is the bio-resin.

Adam: Another unfriendly material are the foams the industry uses. There are so many styrenes out there--it's staggering, the amount of chemicals that are in furniture.

Jeff: Foam is a big one that we are really working hard to avoid. We're going to be launching seating soon, and we're doing it where we are not using foam.

Adam: Instead we're leveraging the flex of the materials we are using, and the geometry of bodies, to give comfort.

Jill: We're also investigating other ways to create a soft feel without using the traditional foams that most furniture uses.

What are some of the challenges you guys faced in setting up this kind of operation?

Everyone: [Variety of "Where do I start?" groans.]

Adam: All of it. I don't want us to sound big-headed, but being on the bleeding edge of how to have a graphical user interface that makes something highly customizable, and then put that into a manufacturing pipeline that's leveraging additive manufacturing in a different modality than is out there in the industry, is very challenging. For achieving the size of the printing and the volume that we want to do, we ended up going in a direction we never thought we would, and that's making our own 3-D printers.

Jill: We've had to solve a lot of problems ourselves, because there's not a lot of people doing what we're doing; we can't turn to another company for solutions on these manufacturing and design issues. From the technical side of the website and the design configuring to the printers themselves, the materials that we're using, and working with our vendors to solve additional problems.

Jeff: Like Adam said, not to get too big headed about it, but we've solved some big problems that nobody else has figured out how to solve. And we're doing things that nobody else can do right now, in terms of the production, the design and the configurability. So it's been extremely challenging for the last three or four months.

Image credit: Model No.

Image credit: Model No.

Image credit: Model No.

When exactly did this project start?

Jill: We started one year ago--but one year ago, we did not know that we'd be doing what we're doing now. I'd say six months is really how long we've been working on it, because before that we were still figuring out exactly what we were going to do.

What was your timeline?

Adam: The first four, five months, the first charter, was to see if this was possible. And once we had identified that it was possible, we rapidly shifted gears; six months ago we pivoted to bring products to market, because ultimately it was time and we could do some simple-yet-complex designs that would bring value to users.

And where are you guys at now?

Jillian: You can go onto the website and order pieces now, we're live.

Jeffrey: And because of the integrated design-to-sales-to-production tool chain we've developed, and the generative and parametric in-house expertise we've grown over the last year, we're really excited. I think we are going to be able to come out with new product lines several times a year, instead of the more typical once or twice a year most furniture companies do.

We're also coming out with seating and larger tables sometime this month. Watch Model-No.com.

Image credit: Model No.

Interview with Petra Cullmann, Global Portfolio Director Plastics & Rubber at Messe Düsseldorf

Thu, 2019-08-15 16:43

This post is presented by the K-Show, the world's No.1 trade fair for the plastics and rubber industry. Visionary developments and groundbreaking innovations will again lead the industry into new dimensions at K 2019 in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Petra Cullman is the Global Portfolio Director for Plastics & Rubber at Messe Düsseldorf, where she directs all events in the plastics and rubber industry, including the K Show. She previously served as the foreign representative for Messe Düsseldorf in Singapore, and helped produce the German pavilion for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

Title image photography by Gianni Diliberto

Chris Lefteri: Plastics went through an unparalleled growth, as did other materials, in the middle of the last century but apart from 3D printing and more recently investigation into eco plastics and more energy efficient processes it hasn't been as dramatic. What changes have you seen in the plastics industry since you've been involved?

Petra Cullman: The exhibitors have always set trends at the show during the past editions and ever since actually. This is my fifth K since I have started working on this show and it has always been very fascinating and surprising what new developments come up at the show. For example, when I started, the plastic age had only just begun in aviation. Today it is hard to imagine aviation without plastics.

The trends during my first K years have been nano technology, bioplastics, wood-plastic-composites, organo sheets. The trends since K 2016 on the technology side are additive manufacturing, industry 4.0. And there are topics that are on the agenda since I started, such as lightweight construction and the whole field of climate protection, sustainability as well as energy- and resource efficiency – which will have a huge impact at this year's show: K 2019's major topic will be "Circular Economy".

Next to the major trends over the past few years a lot has happened on a smaller scale: We have had new developments on the material side. We have seen new materials or material combinations with improved qualities for new applications e.g. in the automotive sector. For the medical sector, construction, consumer goods and packaging – at every show, you see novelties regarding flexible packaging. Technology wise, we have seen a lot of improved functionality, development that helps to save material, save resources, and make the production process more efficient.

CL: What do you see as the role of the K show has within the plastics industry?

PC: By now 67 years since K was inaugurated, it has been the most important market place of the international plastics and rubber industries – and counting. Every three years exhibitors and visitors from all continents come together in Düsseldorf in order to present and experience at first hand leading edge developments and products from this dynamic and innovative industry. Exhibitors and visitors use the opportunities offered by the K flagship fair, a unique information and networking platform for innovators seeking new prospects. Only the K show features such a high density of international product launches and K is the driving force for innovation and international business

K is also a clear indicator of changes in the global market. Take participating countries for example: over the past few years, the number of participating Asian companies and the exhibition area that they have booked has been rising steadily. That mirrors that the Asia-Pacific economic zone is nowadays the largest and fastest-growing region in the global plastics industry.

Feedback from our exhibitors, visitors and journalists tells us that K is by far the most important show for the industry and that no one can afford or wants to miss out. They appreciate that at K they have the opportunity to see and experience the whole world of plastics and rubber. Visitors not only find new suppliers or business partners but they also find orientation for their business for the future. They tell us that K is the best platform to communicate with partners and customers and to exchange knowledge: what are the new developments, what are best practices, what are new strategies for current and future challenges? For the last K in 2016, visitors came from 161 one countries to see the state-of the art of the industry and what the future holds for them. We often hear that K is the place where innovation happens – and we agree on that! In addition, the community raises a claim to talk about relevant issues of their industry and – of course – to find solutions. The keyword today is "Circular Economy".

CL: It is your role to promote the plastics industry?

PC: K show is a partner of the industry and its most important market place, but we are not an integral part of the plastics value chain. To maintain the position of K as the leading market place for the global plastics and rubber industries we work very closely with the industry in committees with representatives of the industry alongside the entire value chain. Together we set the concept and we define the topics for the next show. Of course, at a trade fair exhibitors promote their products and interested parties come to make business. But the K trade fair also offers a platform where all players of the industry find room for communication, knowledge-exchange, education and where they find orientation. It is important that we take all aspects of the plastics and rubber industry into account.

The plastics industry is under much pressure today and the industry takes the debate in the media and public regarding public waste and microplastics in the environment very seriously. K 2019 addresses the current challenges of our era, primarily with regard to "plastics for sustainable development" and "circular economy". Leading manufacturers will make their knowledge and experience – regarding responsible handling and circular economy solutions for plastics – available to a global audience at K 2019. The supporting associations will also present their knowledge at K 2019, example giving, PlasticsEurope at the K special presentation "Plastics Shape the Future" or the "VDMA Circular Economy Forum".

It is not our role to promote the plastics industry. But it is our role to create the industry's major market place where all players of the industry have the opportunity to get together every three years and see what is new and what the future holds for the entire industry.

CL: You are in a unique position to have an overview of the entire industry. If you were to imagine in, let's say nine years time, what the plastics industry might be presenting at the K. What would you imagine that to be, if you were to look into the future?

PC: This is a very difficult question. First of all, speaking for Messe Düsseldorf, we would like to secure the position of K trade fair as the world's most important platform for the plastics and rubber industry in the future. Therefore we are in constant contact with the stakeholders of the global industry, be it key players, associations or scientists.

The industry is facing challenges right now. The public sees plastics as a main reason for many environmental issues the world is dealing with. It is true, polymer materials also present us with major challenges in terms of their whereabouts and handling after use, for example. But different players of the industry agree that it is mostly a problem of waste management. Plastics is a material of great value that can be produced and being re-used in a sustainable manner and should ideally be fully recyclable to produce high-quality products. However, this requires a material design that per se guarantees a high recycling rate and maximum yield of high-quality recyclates. And the industry comes up with solutions. Recycling products are increasingly becoming an alternative and an important raw material for new plastic products.

I am positive that solutions will be presented at K in the coming years that will help us to actively counter the great challenges of our time and of the future. These include, for example, population growth and demographic change, globalization, climate change, energy supply, medical progress and technological change. Plastics can contribute to a positive development in these fields.

Take, for example, the topic of mobility or e-mobility, keyword: lightweight construction: plastics help to make cars lighter and more economical. There is potential for plastic as a material in powertrains, interiors and exteriors as well as car bodies. Here, plastics can make a significant contribution to energy savings as construction and functional material.

Mega trends are and will remain sustainability , resource efficiency and digitization. And they are linked. To drive sustainability, companies are looking at the entire value chain: alternative raw materials, high effective and efficient materials, integrated processes for improved functionality and efficiency. Low-emission, energy-saving and efficient methods and technologies are in high demand, as are intelligent, high-performance materials that can be easily adapted to the application at hand without placing an additional burden on the environment or using up extra time and resources. This complexity can only be achieved through digitization, which is why this issue will also continue to play an important role in the future.

CL: Do you get a sense that the plastics industry is interested in approaching designers, to raise awareness of plastic as a material? Do you see that as a trend?

PC: Yes, absolutely. Product design is very important. So far, the main focus has been on functionality and on appearance. Now, recyclability is taken more and more into account as early as the product development stage. And this requires, I mentioned it before, a material design that per se guarantees a high recycling rate and maximum yield of high-quality recyclates. Especially when it comes to raw materials producers, they work very closely with industrial designers in order to develop enhanced materials that allow new applications or even more sophisticated products. Some of them have dedicated design centers to work closely with industrial designers. The Industry is fully aware of the important role that industrial designers play.

CL: And you see more of these companies, looking to design?

PC: Definitely. Just yesterday I talked to a raw materials supplier who had developed a totally new material with enhanced qualities that can be used to print sport shoes. It was really impressive.

And I think a lot of raw materials suppliers will be coming up with innovative ideas – always in the context of how to produce, use and reuse it in a sustainable way. That is a big issue for everybody at the moment. Another supplier is producing a material for a sports company in order to have 100% no-waste sports shoe. It is produced but then it will be taken back by the retailer to be completely up-cycled again. So yes, there is definitely a market here.

This post is presented by the K-Show, the world's No.1 trade fair for the plastics and rubber industry. Visionary developments and groundbreaking innovations will again lead the industry into new dimensions at K 2019 in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Design Job: Identify, Ideate and Implement technologies to solve challenging health care needs

Thu, 2019-08-15 16:43

The Biodesign Innovation Fellowship is an exciting year-long entrepreneurial opportunity starting in Summer 2020 for early-stage professionals in medicine, engineering, design, and business. We’re bringing together a best-in-class interdisciplinary team to prototype and develop technologies to solve challenging health care needs. As a UCLA Biodesign Fellow...

See the full job details or check out all design jobs at Coroflot.

Reader Submitted: Schema - A modular and reusable toolkit to organize ideas and projects

Thu, 2019-08-15 16:43

Schema tools are reliable, reusable, and, like, really beautiful. We got sick of buying packs and packs of post-it notes and downloading multiple software trials just to try to stay organized. Look, if you've used post-it notes to accomplish a project, you'll get it... but with us, your desk won't look like that scene in A Beautiful Mind.

Schema is the only physical and sustainable toolkit designed for organizing ideas and managing projects. We're still a few months away from launching, but this project has been a testament to the tool.

Most people are familiar with some type of project management framework or software, and at their core they're based around the same idea -- to break down large goals into actionable items and really simple tasks. For work, you'll find a lot of these workflows are mostly used on the computer (where you spend most of your day), but here at Schema, we believe the tools that organize your thoughts should be disconnected from the ones that clutter them. At home, you're either going back to the computer or to post-it notes. And with a background in design, post-it notes eventually drove us a little crazy.

Our goal is really simple: we want to help you achieve your goals.

View the full project here

Joe Meersman of IBM on the Importance of Defining Why We Want Change and the Future of Design With AI

Thu, 2019-08-15 16:43

This interview is part of a series featuring the presenters participating in this year's Core77 Conference, "The Third Wave", a one-day event that will explore the future of the design industry and the role designers will play in it.

As a self-described career meanderer, Joe Meersman has held the following job titles: Design Researcher, Freelance Industrial Designer, Human Factors and Ergonomics Senior Researcher, Senior User Experience Designer, Market Research Analyst, Associate User Experience Director, Associate Creative Director, Studio Lead, Design Principal, and Group Design Director.

Along the way, he's researched and designed a variety of experiences, ranging from Bluetooth headsets and office furniture to first-responder centers and artificial intelligence. Joe has led teams of designers in the delivery of cognitive-enabled applications and services across IBM's Cloud and Watson portfolio. He currently serves as the design strategy director for IBM's Hybrid Cloud organization where, among other things, he's exploring future applications for AI.

During the 2019 Core77 Conference, Joe will host a panel discussion between Dean Malmgren of IDEO and Marijke Jorritsma of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory about the products and processes that will redefine what's possible for design in the years to come. We recently sat down with Joe to learn more about his background and the importance of designing with AI rather than for it.

"The nature of the near-term versus the long-term is something that we as human beings don't really have a strong grasp on. Future applications of AI really come down to a few different likely scenarios whereby we have more commonplace leveraging of AI, but in ways that we may not immediately recognize today."

Core77: In the biography on your website you describe yourself as a "UX practitioner that specializes in transformation," and throughout you use the word "transformation" as a synonym for "design." Can you expand on that?

Joe: Philosophically speaking, design really is about change. If we want to be change agents and if design wants to be a force for good and have the impact that we strive for, what we have to do is embrace change in many ways, shapes, and forms. If we pound our fist and want change or improvements, we actually need to go beyond being that change agent and also advocate on behalf of the why of the change—not just the actual change itself.

And the why, is that something that you always trace back to the user experience?

I think it's about providing ongoing value for a user or a class of users, but also there's the need to provide business value as well. So it's not enough to just make someone's list or workflow easier. It does actually require a bit of a value add from the standpoint of maybe it's an efficiency gained or a cost-benefit that's provided by whatever that product is.

"When designers can speak with confidence about the health of the business and its goals we increase our credibility. In doing so we also have the ability to see how our work delivers on a broader strategy. When designers of any level of experience can connect to the overall business strategy of the broader design organization, it creates the best conditions for success." 

You started at IBM as a design studio lead and educator. Can you tell me a little bit about how that was at the start and your career trajectory since you've been there?

About the time that I was going to come on board to IBM, I was debating hanging a shingle and starting my own practice. Out of the blue, IBM called with a really unique opportunity. They told me that they were going to build a global design practice and it was going to be a network or nodal model, as opposed to a hub and spoke model, and that the center of thought leadership was going to be in Austin and that's where they were gearing up to start building the first studio. They said that they needed experienced practitioners to join as studio leads and that role eventually kind of morphed into being the first series of design principles at IBM.

I found myself as an accidental educator. I had never really planned on serving in that capacity. My personal mission was to create an environment for new career professionals to work in that I would have loved to have myself in the early 2000s. When I graduated, I was fortunate to have a lot of really talented people take me under their wing over the years. And for me, what I really wanted to do was give back to the design community. I ended up doing that by relocating to Austin and living inside the prototype that was the IBM Design Studio.

And then after a few years you started working on Watson?

Yeah, I became the group experience director for Watson and it was an exciting time for sure. At that point we were working very closely with clients to define where the value could be derived from artificial intelligence. I think for me, trying to figure out how to incorporate a learning loop and having a two-way street of communication with a machine was a real challenge because there wasn't any kind of a precedent that was set there in order to do so.

I think in order for AI to remain relevant, people do need to have more realistic expectations for the leveraging of the technology.

When it comes to artificial intelligence, it's really, really good at focused applications, but you have to tell it what it is you want it to do and you have to kind of nurture it to one degree or another. You have to provide ongoing feedback as to how good of a job it's doing as well as tell it, honestly, what it needs to do. And once it can be kind of performance-tuned through that learning loop, it can be incredibly effective.

How have your thoughts on the application of AI changed in recent years?

Instead of looking at AI as a monolithic offering or a standalone product, the marketplace at large has evolved to the point at which we now see AI as an enabling technology that can be woven into or integrated with existing solutions for a variety of user needs.

Today I think about AI as a set of services that can be mixed and remixed together with other open-source services. The notion of IBM's Watson only being accessible through an IBM product is no longer the case. It's more about enabling many different types of users and many different product experiences to leverage cognitive capabilities.

The nature of the near-term versus the long-term is something that we as human beings don't really have a strong grasp on. Future applications of AI really come down to a few different likely scenarios whereby we have more commonplace leveraging of AI, but in ways that we may not immediately recognize today.

I think anything that is of low value, business-wise, that can be automated will be automated with an increased degree of efficiency and effectiveness. And I think that there's going to be an entire new class of jobs and job types that we can't imagine today—similar to the way that there are a wide range of roles today that we couldn't conceive of 50 years ago, due to the proliferation of the Internet and the acceleration of technology.

Can you briefly describe the kind of work you're doing now, as director of design strategy for the Hybrid Cloud portfolio? What exactly is that?

It's a total mouthful, right? And not only that, but it's vaguely specific and specifically vague at the same time. I love it.

The design strategy practice at IBM is focused on being more inclusive about the delivery of design strategy. To unpack that a bit, TL;DR: The demand will always outpace the supply of design strategists—there are never going to be enough design strategists at IBM to assign to every product. So, in a response to that, we've taken a very open-source approach whereby the design strategy guild has created a series of artifacts and generated a few frameworks that any designer of any degree of experience can deliver upon within the context of their products, thus enabling all designers to practice design strategy regardless of what their role on paper is.

This is different than an exclusive team, which works in some organizations and contexts—consulting and client services, for example. Exclusive, dedicated design strategy teams in product organizations can result in only allowing a small group of designers to have a point of view on strategy, which can be frustrating for the rest of that org. This isn't always the case, but it is a risk to acknowledge.

What are some examples of those artifacts/frameworks?

Some examples include our competitive analysis framework, marketing workshops, and design strategy field guide. Each focus on ensuring that design is the best possible partner to the product management, marketing, sales, and development organizations.

Just to give one example, the design strategy field guide we developed is a 50-page booklet focused on educating designers about the business of the cloud, data, and AI. It arms designers with a glossary of business terms, a guide to interpreting town halls, and a Mad Libs-style worksheet to foster meaningful conversations with design's partners in development and product management.

When designers can speak with confidence about the health of the business and its goals we increase our credibility. In doing so we also have the ability to see how our work delivers on a broader strategy. When designers of any level of experience can connect to the overall business strategy of the broader design organization, it creates the best conditions for success.

What types of projects are you most excited about working on in the future?

The types of projects I'm looking forward to working on in the future incorporate AI. I'm a firm believer in designing with AI—not for AI—because I see it as a really incredible, powerful technology. But it is a technology and it is our job as designers to harness the power of that technology and to ensure that it's useful for human beings, the users. I'm excited about addressing problems that involve large volumes of data that are constantly changing in order to address cultural and societal challenges that can make for a better planet through the use of AI and other technologies.

IBM has a tradition of approaching AI as a companion to our knowledge rather than as a replacement for it. And I think going forward, there's always this question of how do we make sure that AI stays human?

As humans, we can have fairly unrealistic expectations from artificial intelligence. I think a great example of that is AI being leveraged to enable human beings to be solely passengers in vehicles instead of drivers. We expect that, because it's a machine, it should be 100% effective, meaning it should enable car accidents to go down to a 0% rate. In fact, what we should be looking at is what would enable parity with the existing rate of car accidents and then look at any degree of improvement from there as proof positive of the application of AI.

I think in order for AI to remain relevant, people do need to have more realistic expectations for the leveraging of the technology. But, to go directly to your question about how does AI preserve its humanity, I think that a very important area is ethics for AI—we need to make sure that AI doesn't reflect the bias of those that are architecting those machines.

Ethics for AI will definitely be one of the topics of discussion during the panel you're hosting at this year's Core77 Conference. What else can we expect?

I love the lineup this year! I'm confident that the panel I'm fortunate enough to be hosting will end up being one of the conference highlights. The reason why I feel so strongly about the panel has nothing to do with me, rather my POV is driven by the fact that we have two fantastic panelists.

Dean works day-to-day at IDEO to incorporate data science into the design process that IDEO applies on a project-to-project basis for clients. He can speak to the iterative nature of how data science has evolved as a practice that is integrated into the workflow for multidisciplinary teams. I am excited to hear about how AI has been applied for different clients and the types of outcomes its created for their businesses.

This is contrasted by Marijke, who does fantastic work at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab. She has a really unique challenge as a designer, but also an incredible opportunity to take on. She has to anticipate the needs of an astronaut about a decade from when an experience is delivered.

This is different than speculative design, as its very intent is anchored less in potential scenarios and more in a user's workflow. She delivers an interface that will be in a product that is launching years from today. She has to think very, very carefully about the technologies that are being leveraged, the way at which they're being leveraged, and what jobs they're doing.

Essentially, I will be hosting a conversation between Dean and Marijke that will address the future state of not only product, but also process. There will be inspiring subject matter but also real-world learnings that designers can take with them and apply immediately after leaving the conference.

The panel is going to be a fantastic balance of the pragmatic and practical, exploring the process of creating these experiences and products (and by products, I mean both software and hardware) alongside discussions about how design redefines the notion of what is within the realm of the possible when it comes to the products of tomorrow.