Design in the Age of Experience has drawn to a close. Our final two days focused on how design advocates for social change. (If you missed our recaps from other days, here are the links: day 1 – sustainable design, day 2 – design and the human experience, day 3 – sustainable cities.)
We speak of the art of living, not the science of living. Design as an art form contains lessons on healthy and sustainable living. The world of making more ‘stuff’ is outdated. Instead we need to design living environments that can bridge the need for social change and provide solutions to our societal challenges, The speakers over the final two days explored this topic, sharing real-life case studies of improved lives and environmental experiences – and in general, how design improves society.
What happens when art meets science? This is a key area of exploration for Friday’s first speaker, designer Takumi Yamamoto. Yamamoto detailed his latest exploit: “A portrait of db“, a 3D-printed concept car conceived as a tribute to David Bowie. He is mixing art and science to make shapes inspired by Bowie’s music. He shared the creative process and design challenges behind building an anthropomorphic car and his vision of both functional and emotional design.
Architect Toshiko Mori spoke next, focusing on how the dynamic and social nature of design requires a re-education. We no longer design to discover and pioneer but instead we design to imagine sustainability. She talked about how we draw on science and art, but more importantly, how we must look towards community solutions for our collective future.
She was followed by Oke Hauser, the Creative Lead for MINI LIVING, a company looking into the future of urban housing. MINI LIVING is exploring new solutions for how we live, work, and interact in our cities as millennials’ mindsets are shifting from ownership to access and sharing, luxury status symbols are becoming less important and experiences and human connections are becoming the most significant ways of expressing identity. With the help of design, MINI LIVING is looking at how we create cities that feel really human and connect people.
Next was Laura Teicher from Greentown Labs. They are the largest cleantech incubator in the US, home to over 95 startups looking to solve the world’s biggest efficiency, energy, and environmental challenges. Teicher talked about the support needed for startups to come up with viable solutions: help with prototypes, seed funding and guidance during the often long hardware development phase including helping the startups build relationships with manufacturers.
Closing day 4’s sessions was Alessandro Bellati of Safilo, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of sunglasses and optical frames. Bellati addressed the need for integrated solutions from design to rendering and engineering/manufacturing in order to provide more personalized products for consumers. The key is reducing the number of physical prototypes by using virtual prototypes, which is also a more sustainable approach.
Day 5 started with Annamaria Franz from CATAS, the Italian test laboratory for furniture that offers design analysis and sustainability assessment services. Their certification lab’s team of experts – including chemists, engineers, and mathematicians – provide applied research and testing and certification services to the wood and furniture industry to ensure regulatory compliance and that only safe products make it to market. They use technology to test products virtually which can reduce time and cost, but also have less environmental impact because fewer physical products are produced for testing purposes and design optimization.
Next was Claudio Capelli, a researcher from University College London and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. Capelli is collaborating with clinicians to design a Virtual Reality application for the treatment of children born with heart disease or anomalies. He talked about how modern medicine is embracing computational tools, and lead the audience on a virtual journey inside the heart using 3D modeling, simulation, and visualization. His project, 3D CARE – 3D CArdiovascular Research and Education – received the CSR Award from the Franco-British Business Awards and is supported by Dassault Systèmes’ La Fondation.
We then welcomed Elvio Bonisoli, Associate Professor in Applied Mechanics at the Politecnico di Torino, Italy. Energy harvesting for autonomous sensors is an emerging new frontier. From vehicle monitoring systems to human healthcare, devices can serve as a mechanical vibration source. This holds promise as a sustainable source of energy with a small environment footprint.
Concluding the week of inspiring speeches and conversations was a discussion on designing ultra-energy-efficient cars with Franco Bonaccini, Professor at ITIS Leonardo da Vinci in Carpi along with three of his students. They talked about their participation in the Shell Eco-marathon challenge, a global program for science, technology, engineering and math students to design and manufacture the smallest, lightest and smoothest running vehicle possible. They used SOLIDWORKS Simulation tools to help them test their structural designs and optimize the aerodynamic performance of the car.
And after 48 hours of tireless work, our five hackathon teams have wrapped up their projects. Congratulations to all, but especially team #4. They data-mined the city and developed an algorithm to create a new type of urban planning – master planning – that incorporates new building uses that seamlessly transition from the old to the new.
Thanks go to our esteemed jury as well!
And that’s a wrap! Thanks to all who attended our third annual Design in the Age of Experience event. We look forward to welcoming you next year…but in the meantime, enjoy some highlights from 2019’s event.