50.1 F
Bellingham
Sunday, May 31, 2020

Industrial design students look to the future

With the influx of information and expanding field of design, some people are working to solve the world’s problems.

        Surya Vanka worked at Microsoft for 16 years before leaving the company. He presented his thoughts on data, design and the potential it has for the world on Thursday, Jan. 9, in Fraser Hall. Around 50 people attended, most of whom were industrial design students. The Western Gallery sponsored the event

       More data has been produced in the last two days than from 2003 to the dawn of civilization, Vanka said. During his time working in design, Vanka saw how the meaning of design change is largely impacted by the amount of accessible data.

        “In my career, what is so important is to be a designer in this particular moment in history,” Vanka said. “A lot of my career in design was on the edge, trying to fight your way to the center. But now the conversation is about design.”

        “Design and fine art are very close,” Gallery director Hafthor Yngvason said. “The creative industry is something that we’re all a part of.”

Designers can use modern data and communication to create better products and more personalized services.

        “We no longer work in glass, in metal, in plastic, which are things that are pre-designed, manufactured and put up,” Vanka said. “You’re working with digital materials which are infinitely malleable and infinitely connected.”

“One of the key shifts that happens is that the user now starts to enter your design process.”

Surya Vanka

        This is what many of the students had come to learn about, like Joe Han, an industrial design major.

        “At industrial design we mostly focus on the form study, format aspect of the design,” Han said. “Personally I’m pretty interested in the digital data part of the design so I’m trying to get more info on this.”

        Much of the talk was about the business sphere, but Vanka ended his presentation by talking about how designers can solve problems in the developing world.  

        “Personally, I’m less interested in aligning myself to the more consumerist, fossil-fuel economy,” Vanka said. “And I’m very curious of really using the idea of using data and using design thinking to look at the flipside and look at what impact we can really have on taking on issues such as the environment.”

        Vanka cited several examples of designers solving problems, such a tent for refugees that catches rainwater, a smartphone app that allows the user to perform eye exams and a man who uses 3D printing for prosthetics in Africa.

        “For me, looking at this, with all of these problems that we see, these wicked problems, I’m really optimistic. I think these are great opportunities,” Vanka said. “This is the rise of design to the fore of the planet.”

 

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

3,960FansLike
1,241FollowersFollow
5,463FollowersFollow
0SubscribersSubscribe

Must Read

Behind the systems: WWU Newman Center forced resignation of student employee after learning of same-sex partner

Student says she was told to break up with her girlfriend or quit her job

Behind the systems: Former members frustrated over student’s resignation, double standards for dealing with sexual activity

Former members say rules regarding moral conduct were not applied equally This is...

Resident advisers hold open forum with university officials to discuss concerns

Written by: Bram Briskorn and Questen Inghram Over 300 people packed into Arntzen Hall, room 100 as if it were...

Latest News

Survey shows Whatcom County’s small businesses are struggling

Outside of The Shakedown in 2018. // Photo by Lili McMurtrey By...

Mental health and the COVID conundrum

People living with mood disorders may find it hard to get out of bed in the morning. Social distancing due to...

Mix drink to-go kits are the top buy at La Fiamma Wood Fire Pizza

A pizza and Moscow Mule mixing kit from La Fiamma Pizza, who are conducting carry-out services. Displayed on the deck of...

Western professors’ recommended reads

By Macy Adkinson For those seeking adventure in a time of uncertainty, recreational reading...

Bellingham mask sewing effort continues with Molly’s Sewing Machine Service

Sewing machine repairwoman and seamstress Molly Chambers in her downtown Bellingham studio. // Photo courtesy of Molly’s Sewing Machine Service

More Articles Like This