Passionate, Innovative Design at Tonight’s Art Center Graduation

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RACHEL YOUNG

6:44 am | December 14, 2013


This weekend the Art Center of Design will graduate 153 design students who have incubated for eight terms in a warehouse of innovation learning how to use the arts and design to positively impact their fellow humans.

Whether you talk with Youmna Chamcham who wants to make her hometown Beruit known for its beauty with her Live Love photo campaign, or Melanie Hung who designed a space to intrigue people about sustainable burial methods, or Joel McDavitt who does his best to extract the truth about where design meets reality for athletic products, these students have learned that design can have a purpose bigger than themselves.

Art Center invites the public to experience these ground-breaking projects that the students have worked hard to display on Saturday, Dec 14 after the graduation ceremony from 6:00-9:00.

“Anything that we touch in our lives has design opportunity in it. If we don’t start with understanding the human than its not relevant. It has to be more than an idea that comes out of your head, but products and designs that meet real life need,” Chair of Product Design Karen Hofmann said.

Joel McDavitt applied his Art Center training to research and interview users of his product at his internship and landed his dream job that combines his active passions that take him bicycling and snowboarding with his design.

While he worked at his internship for Giro, a snowboard and cycling company in Santa Cruz, McDavitt designed snowboard goggles that the company now sells as one of their products.

“The words that really pushed this design was one of the professional snowboarders that said, ‘I want it to feel like a muscle car, I want it to feel like an old retro muscle car.’ I wrote those words down and said that’s the attitude that drove this design. From then on every drawing I did was blocky and angular, I completely left the organic stuff behind,” McDavitt said.

With $150 and an idea, Youmna Chamcham started a photography campaign on Instagram, One and a half years later her project has 1 million followers and has raised money for several campaigns.

Live Love Beruit, as her start-up is called, hosts competitions for people to discover their country and show the world how beautiful. The competition guided users to climb the highest mountain peak, find the oldest oak tree and be the first ten to take a picture there in order to receive a bracelet.

The bracelets are only meant to be won as a prize, however, she did authorize Beruit’s most iconic homeless man to sell her bracelets for one day and he made $1000 in seven hours.

Chamcham is trying to change the perception of Beruit to make it know for its beauty with the ocean, nature, and resources. She’s already launched the start-up and plans to create campaigns for other countries as well like Columbia, South Africa, or Nepal.

“We’re trying to educate creators for jobs that don’t exist yet. Students who have been here 4 years, four years ago the iPad didn’t exist. During the time these students are in their program, the world is changing. So were teaching them creative techniques to continue to be learners,” Graphic Design Professor Nikolaus Hafermaas said.

Melanie Hung’s Project called “No More Space,” designed a moveable exhibition for a company called Eternal Reef that offers an alternative burial method. Eternal reef mixes cremated ashes with concrete to make a coral like form and places it in the ocean to help coral reef deterioration and give food to fish.

The idea is that the method is remembering a loved one and at the same time creating life. Hung wanted to create the exhibition space for promoting the alternative with the mindset of the company, leading her to use an oceanic wave-like structure that was also ribbed to represent the rib of a corpse.

“It’s also a kinetics exhibition. When people step on one part it impacts another part, I wanted to really look at the cause effect phenomenon because whatever burial method we choose now will influence the next generation,” Hung said.

Hung noted that Eternal Reef places a GPS tracking on the ashes so that loved ones can scuba dive to the location of the deceased.

At the Grad show, the essence of who these students have become and developed into during their education is showcased.

Jaguar, a concept designer will greet you with his sunglasses on and take you into the world of design for TV and movies while Fredrick Naaman could tell you about how Mazda sponsored his car idea and made a full-size prototype utilizing innovative sheet-folding technology patented by Industrial Origami®.

Come hear their stories for yourself on December 14 from 6:00-9:00 at 1700 Lida Street, Pasadena.