Monday, April 17, 2006

Industrial Design Graduate Thesis Presentations - Spring 2006

Friday, April 28th from 9am to 4pm

Pratt Institte - Brooklyn Campus
200 Willoughby Avenue

Pratt Studios, Room 43

Featuring the following Masters candidates...

Jason Ammerman makes "the compleat angler" more complete
Noah Bowers drinks the air
Rodrigo Olea Cosignani jumps through fire and smoke
Victoria Haroian brings the past into the future
Valerie Haynal rethinks design for aging
Bethany Martin takes on time altering experiences
Heidi Newell designs material dialectics for ski mountaineers
Iku Ohashi tips the design scale
Ainslie Pearsall speaks of truth, lies, and product design
Victoria Petitt creates quality time for harried supermoms
Gabe Ruegg listens as form speaks
Mesve Vardar engages us on a long flight

The One That Got Away, Or Did It?: Recreational Fishing Documentation

By Jason Ammerman

This study identifies, through historical research and interviewing methods, the major motivations for recreational fishing and their relation to documentation. It develops a contemporary interpretation of a documentation product that addresses these motivational factors.

Want to know more? Email Jason.

Drinking The Air

By Noah Bowers

Drinking the Air mimics the sun-powered process of evaporation and condensation that converts seawater to freshwater, in the form of rain. The thesis explores the many ways in which it is possible to exploit naturally occurring temperature differentials, and adapt to changes in prevailing winds, in order to provide inexpensive potable water to parched coastal tropical regions. The proposed solution floats on the ocean, uses wave power and passive solar energy, and can be rapidly deployed to places where fresh water supplies have been disrupted.

Curious about this project? Email Noah.

Beyond the Decline Narrative: An Exploration of Design for Aging in the 21st Century

By Valerie Haynal

At the outset of my thesis, my interest was in infusing dignity into disability products for the elderly; over time I became aware of what a narrow view of aging this assumed. Indeed most designers tend to treat "Design for aging" as synonymous with "Design for Disability". Given the projected growth of an already large cohort of healthy elderly in our society, it is becoming critical to explore the opportunities in design for the aged that go beyond disability. I argue that making products applicable to this population should not only be profitable, but should also serve a positive social purpose in making the aging process part of an affirmative life continuum. This thesis traces my exploration, and proposes that designers transcend the decline narrative, and incorpate the notion of design for Positive Aging into their repertoire.

Want more information? Email Valerie.

A Change of Pace: Re-Thinking Tempo While Designing for Living

By Bethany Martin

A cultural obsession with speed, driven by the modern marketplace, has us producing and consuming at an ever increasing rate. As the pace of our daily lives accelerates with the speed of our technologies, we are moving too fast to engage in the more subtle experiences of time. Upon beginning this project, one of the first questions I asked was: “what is the world in which I want to live?” This thesis explores a paradigm shift from mainstream “fast design” towards engaging a more holistic, more sustainable, and less consumptive experience of the everyday. Knowing when to be fast and when to be slow might better enable us to deal with the complex problems we face in the world today. My designs seek to mediate our cultural addiction to speed through the creation of pockets of slowness to the benefit of ourselves, our communities and our planet.

Share your thoughts with Bethany.

Out of Bounds, Venturing Design Dialectics for the Intrepid Among Us

By Heidi Newell

My thesis, titled Out of Bounds, Venturing Design Dialectics for the Intrepid Among Us, is about a design search for enlightened combinations of hardware and clothing for ski mountaineers. Sparked by the tragic ski accident of Pratt professor Brent Porter’s daughter Christina, my thesis illuminates ski mountaineering as a timeless discipline on the cusp of a popular revolution, and invites new perspectives on hard and soft prototypes, as well as consideration in how we design for compliance. Liberated by the diversity in textiles, I designed with the motivation to communicate, lighten and preserve the ski mountaineer’s passionate, complex and sacred desires in seeking wilderness. Special thanks to my mom, for making the wilderness accessible, to my dad and grandpa, for inspiring the respect of materials, to Andrew Mclean - lord-god-king-bufu of off-piste, and most especially to James, for selflessly sponsoring the revolution and patiently playing witness to each battle.

Share your thoughts with Heidi.

Design Scalability; Rethinking Products' Traditional Scalable

By Iku Ohashi

The field of industrial design was founded on the principles of scale. Industrial designers find themselves in a completely unique context: designing within the "economies" of scale.
This thesis seeks a deeper understanding within ID by exploring the broad spectrum of scale, and scalability outside the industry. This expanded body of knowledge is a powerful tool to the product designer as it can be used to broaden our notion of scale, and allow us new ways to resolve scale related design issues. Design exploration in this thesis tackles the notion that a more efficient and dynamically designed product is one in which these traditionally static factors become variable in response to the ever changing user and environment.

Send your comments to Iku.

Facing Fire…From Rituals to Smoke Jumping

By Rodrigo Olea Cosignani

Humans have always watched fire with fascination. Throughout history, humankind has used it as a tool and a symbol of power; only recently have we begun to understand its role in nature. The continuous depredation of the biosphere has taken us to the point where humanity cannot risk loosing any more forest acreage. Of the many forest-fire combative initiatives in recent history, perhaps the most interesting is the Smokejumpers program which began in 1939. This thesis deals with the relationship between fire and man. Specifically it addresses the duality of wildfire as a devastating incident and prescribed fire as a means to controll the healthy development of the forest and the ecosystem. Above all else, the thesis addresses the challenges of facing fire with limited resources, and the opportunities and responsibilities these present to designers.

To hot to handle? Email Rodrigo.

LIAR! LIAR! : Exposing the Lies in Everyday Products

By Ainslie Pearsall

Humans’ ability to lie comes second nature. It is reflected in our consumer culture, where dishonesty and deception have become commonplace. My thesis takes you on a tour of deceptive products from little white lies like push-up bras and wood laminates, generally considered benign, to more harmful acts of deceit, such as counterfeit goods, defective parts and products made with hazardous materials that hide their environmental and social impact from the consumer. As a result, all of my designs have a common thread: dispersing information to raise consumer awareness of the risks, harms and environmental costs found in these deceptive products. By providing consumers with accurate information, they can better assess a product’s true quality, make better informed decisions about the products they buy, and have the ability to change their consumptive habits to reflect a more honest lifestyle.

Feeling betrayed? Email Ainslie.

Making time: Reinventing quality time for mothers and infants

By Victoria Petitt

Life with a newborn baby is far from easy, and many women struggle with the transition into motherhood. The demands of modern life have exacerbated this already difficult transition, and most new mothers report feeling overburdened by an unmanageable number of expectations and responsibilities. Meanwhile, the embedded cultural mythology of "the Supermom" leaves little margin for error or fatigue. The primary source of stress identified by new mothers is the sudden loss of personal time to attend to their own needs. With the needs of their babies, and their own, often appearing mutually exclusive, those of a mother often yield to those of her child. My thesis exploration has been about finding a compassionate solution to the needs of both mother and infant, since, as we as a society are quickly learning, the health of a mother is inseparable from that of her baby.

Send your comments to Victoria.

The Expressiveness of Form: An Investigation of How a Product's Form Communicates

By Gabriel Ruegg

Locomotives look powerful. Hello Kitty is cute. No culture's members frown when they are happy or slouch when excited. Research suggests all humans share a common core of ability to perceive and interpret form. Artists use this common language—what T.S. Eliot called "objective correlatives"—to communicate feelings and ideas: music in minor keys sounds sad, and bounding dancers convey exuberance. Industrial design training, from the Bauhaus forward, has focused on teaching a 'visual grammar' while leaving students to discover the expressive qualities of form on their own. My thesis is an attempt to understand, and make explicit, the range of visual characteristics that communicate distinct emotions or meanings in the context of product design. Hopefully increased sensitivity to the expressive qualities of form, will ultimately lead to stronger, more coherent work.

Feeling expressive? Email Gabriel.

Getting there is half the fun: Improving the commercial airline experience

By Mesve Vardar

It has been a little over a century since the famous flight of the Wright Brothers in 1903; in this time air travel has gone from being a luxurious experience reserved for an elite group to a means of mass transportation.The adventure and romance associated with air travel in the previous decades are far from today’s reality. Today air travel is generally associated with cramped seating, bad food, poor air quality, and long lines. This thesis examines the history of commercial air travel, focusing on the evolution of passenger experiences and investigates ways to improve air travel as we know it today.

Send Mesve your thoughts.