Costa Rica is quickly becoming one of Central America's hubs for all things design. There are a growing number of design education initiatives that have seemed to gain some momentum in the past few years by the local creative community.
This year, Costa Rican designers have launched a national sketching workshop in their home country. They call it Sketching Lab Costa Rica. It's a 3-day, intensive workshop that focuses on the development of rapid visualization and the most effective ways to visually communicate your ideas as a creative. The workshop follows the principles of the sketch aerobics that uses music and the very basic elements in drawing to promote learning by doing.
The 3-day workshop kicked off at the end of August and brought in 70+ participants. The event was led by Costa Rican designers Jóse Gamboa of Slingshot Product Development Group and Joey Zeledón of Smart Design and was organized by Mario Ramírez and David Melendez of Plex Studio.
The first day of the event was focused on rudimentary form development and drawing in perspective. It was held at the National Museum of Gold "Museo del Oro" in San José, Costa Rica. The museums exhibit features many ancient artifacts and objects from the pre-Columbian era that gave the participants inspiration during sketching breakout sessions.
Day 2 focused on biomimicry. Held at INBio Park (National Biodiversity Institute of Costa Rica) in Heredia, Costa Rica. This bio diverse oasis is home to poison dart frogs, butterflies, iguanas, sloths, caimans, birds, turtles and snakes, among many others. The participants were given the task of choosing either a plant or animal and translating its characteristics into a shoe design. The participants were encouraged to sketch an evolution of translation. In other words, to show how the plant or animals characteristics could be integrated into a shoe design literally and abstractly.
Day 3 was focused on refinement of visual communication and problem solving skills. Held in an inspiring renovated church at Ave del Paraiso Hotel. The participants had the opportunity to summarize all learned techniques in a final exercise where they implemented perspective, composition and biomimicry to create concepts for their personal projects. The final results amazed all the participants because they were able to see all the improvements that they had made during their participation in the Sketching Lab and recognized the value of constant practice. They also had a demonstration of 3D modeling and 3D printing solutions based on a design that was chosen from the participants on the first day of the workshop.
These workshops are a great opportunity to improve visual communication skills, all while exploring Costa Rica's beautiful and inspirational environment. As guest speakers, we were impressed by the punctuality and thirst for knowledge that the participants demonstrated. It was a pleasure to be part of this event and we hope
to continue the Sketching Lab as an annual workshop.
Joey Zeledón is an award-winning designer with expertise in industrial design, experience design and design strategy. During his over decade-long career, Joey has designed footwear for Clarks and Banana Republic, furniture and spaces for Steelcase, and everything from consumer electronics to consumer products, medical devices, housewares, services and food for a variety of clients while consulting at Smart Design and Continuum.
Joey holds a BFA in Industrial Design from Rochester Institute of Technology with a concentration in Sociology.