What's your dream studio project?

Hi all,

I’m trying to take a bit of a poll… what would your ‘dream’ studio project? Would you want to spend a semester focusing on toys? Or branding? Or human powered vehicles?

Would love to hear any and all thoughts.


The next one.

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I often tell students to design the following as a personal project in order to keep them grounded and see how well they could design something that needs to be on the shelves next year:

  1. A new line of small kitchen appliances. Coffee maker, toaster & blender.
  2. A new line of power tools. Drill, flashlight, circular saw.

I’ve always been curious to re-design a senior walker/rollator. Or maybe a new transportation device for active seniors. An improved bicycle/tricycle/quad-cycle to help them move around. Everything seems too industrial.

We did this project in school, I didn’t enjoy it. Not enough access to senior citizens and research to make any notable improvements. You also cant really proto things easily. PVC pipe? Bending that how you want isn’t fun. Same with making connectors that work well or anything that isn’t flimsy. In the end most did not like their products/solutions. Everything was pretty incremental improvement. Although those who focused on kids had some good solutions, but still a very lack luster studio project. I think its potentially to big of a project for a school studio. (Carly you can speak to Doehler about it.)

In studio, things that I could use later in life where always nice projects. Chair project is cool. I still use that. A lamp/lighting project seems fun and can be spun many different ways

Also any project that required you to deep dive into a new skill was fun to me. Speaker Project for example. Students could learn a bit of about the tech behind it and end up potentially making a working model at the end. Students could go as simple as taking a part cheap speaker and reusing it. To building a system up from scratch. But outside of designing the speaker/brand/etc. They’d learn about component selection/electronics/ and fitting internals into a design.

Bags/Softgoods could be fun/useful to. Its a skill that I wish I knew more about and seems to constantly come up at work more than I was expecting. Diving into that at school would have been fun.

Yes, the walker is a challenging problem but it would also expose a student to user interviews, testing, ergonomics, materials and processes, mechanisms, etc. I was thinking that if she’s going to spend a semester then she needs something challenging. Even if the solution is not great, the exposure to the whole industrial design process will be an eye opener and learning experience. Could be a strong portfolio piece.

However, she mentioned 3 options. Toys, branding or human powered vehicles (that’s why I thought of a tricycle for the elderly). Are you set on those 3 options? Like somebody else already mentioned; what are you lacking in your portfolio or what would you like to work on when you graduate?

I think Carly might be trying to organize a studio.

What is my dream project, or what is my choice between the 3 stated above?

Dream project:

Reinvent transportation for the 21st century. It tok 50 years to move from here path based roads to the US interstate and highway system. Will another major endeavor be needed to meet future needs? Take into account individual and mass transport, near and far, vehicles as well as roads and urban redevelopment/city planning, and how do brands play a roll?

Of the three you outlined: Human powered transport. Bikes are hot right now.

Good find. Considering this, they all have potential but I would urge that you make the class project transparent to students before they sign up (in case it isn’t already). We’ve probably all known friends (or ourselves) who’ve signed up for semester-long studios and then found it wasn’t what it seemed and lost interest.

The weak one for me would be the Human Powered Vehicle. My school had a similar studio and during that particular year, the 12-odd group didn’t create a final completed vehicle. Not their fault, but it is a ton to handle. Considering time-frames of studios and the depth of a project like that, they may only be able to make some rough models and renderings … and I know how designers love to tear apart pretty renderings of bike concepts! If a student was interested in this kind of project, it could be more doable as a thesis.

Branding or toys can go a lot of places but still allow for a nice, refined final.

Too late for that.