This upcoming New York Design Week, WantedDesign will mark its fourth year hosting their Design Schools Workshop. The workshop brings together students from five different design programs to create objects over an intensive four day period. Each year involves experimenting with different materials to come up with a novel product, but 2017 is the very first year Wanted will make tech an active and essential ingredient to the equation. Under the wing of Pratt's Chair of Industrial Design Constantin Boym, starting May 17th students from Centro (Mexico), Art Center College for Design (Pasadena), Aalto University (Finland), ENSCI Les Ateliers (France) and of course Pratt (Brooklyn) will begin their "HyperHybrid" design workshop in Industry City.
The theme of 'HyperHybrid' asks participating teams not only to create objects that combine new technologies such as 3D printing and traditional making processes using textiles and wood—Boym also had the idea of having teams create objects that were "multifunctional", or items that could be used in a variety of different applications. This prompt is, as WANTED describes, "in response to complex requirements of today's lifestyle and living environment."
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WantedDesign spoke with Constantin Boym about his ideas regarding this year's rendition of the Design Schools Workshop and what he hopes to see by the end of the quick fire week full of design collaboration.
This year's theme for the Workshop is HyperHybrid, Celebrating Differences. Can you elaborate about the theme and how you expect to see it translated into objects?
In a way, the theme was clear from the beginning. From the outset I was struck by the diversity of the participants who come from five very different cultures. The technology, this year, also has also been set up as a mix: advanced 3D printing with traditional wood and textile crafts. So I thought about celebrating these differences and diversity. To drive the point down, I added another component to the blend: a requirement of more than one function for each object. Hence, the hybrid nature of the objects is the condition the workshop is supposed to explore. I see this theme as very timely in social and even political sense, as an opportunity to collaborate and to juxtapose different cultural expressions. The challenge is to avoid pastiche and create objects that have vitality and strength, without sacrificing their usefulness.
Mixed material prototypes
What will be the biggest challenge for the students this year?
3D printing has some inherent limitations, and also a certain leeway time is needed to print the parts. Therefore, students have to think fast. Some initial brainstorming will be done in advance, via Skype and FaceTime. Still, they will have only a couple of days to integrate their ideas, to transform sketches into technical drawings, and then produce 3D files.
What do you see as the most valuable aspects of the workshop?
An opportunity to work with students from around the world, to experience their ways of working, their point of view. And also, a chance for young people to immerse themselves into the midst of New York design scene, to meet interesting and important people, to establish friendships and professional relationships that last a lifetime.
Pratt Institute participated last year. As leading this year the workshop, what do you want to add to the mix? What are your expectations for this year workshop?
Last year's workshop was very successful in producing completed objects of very high quality and level of finish. This year, courtesy of Shapeways, an advanced technology becomes a part of the mix. This is both a challenge and an opportunity. Ideally, the objects could be even made in edition. We can go beyond hand-crafted prototypes. The application of 3D printing in furniture and domestic objects is still in infancy stages. I hope our teams are able to chart some viable ways in using the technology and offer the results to professional and public view.
I also expect the results that have a cultural significance. Art critic Nicolas Bouriaud suggested that art and design practice should engage in "… translating ideas, transcoding images, transplanting behaviors, exchanging rather than imposing." This is precisely my goal for setting up a framework for the workshop in New York.
The Wanted Design School Workshop will take place during New York Design Week from May 17-23. The final projects will be displayed and winning teams will be announced at WantedDesign Manhattan on May 23.
The workshop was made possible thanks to Shapeways, FilzFelt, XL Airways, wood mentor Omar Muniz, textile mentor Kelly Harris Smith, 3D printing mentor Lauren Slowik and forceMAJEURE, the "classroom base" for the workshop.
Learn more about WantedDesign NYC and their NY Design Week events here.