On a recent trip to New York City, I serendipitously stumbled upon the Design 21 gallery space (I'll admit I was on my way to Fifth Avenue to check my email at the Apple store!), an organization I recently posted about.
To escape the pouring rain, I entered the gallery and walked through the current exhibit: "The Good Life," a series of thesis projects by seniors in the Product Design Department at the Parsons School of Design that blended artistry, social justice and product design/development. The objective: create solutions to social and environmental challenges. Projects ranged from raising awareness about global warming, enabling children's imaginations to stimulate early learning, encouraging urban curbside gardens, and exploring sound technology and conviviality.
Here is a sampling of what I saw.
"Loti is an effort to sustain and revive the traditional craft of the Darrai Noor region of Afghanistan and dispose of its toxic processes...This venture ensures that the processes that have led us to where we are today will be sustained before they skip a generation and are forever lost or mass imitated."
"My approach is to encourage children's body movement through music (sound). Combining music and physical activity can become an effective tool for children since music provides opportunities to create, perform, and communicate."
-Jee Hye Yang-
"People run out of satisfaction very quickly and easily. Once they feel a certain product no longer serves its purpose or fit into their likings, it is discarded quickly and easily, before they soon buy a new one. This explains why most of the furniture that I found on the street are actually very repairable and transformable, however not enough people know how to do it, let alone are compelled to do it."
"Because of the refugee crisis in Iraq, millions of children lack the tools to elevate their educational experience. There is also a need to remedy the effects of trauma and regain a sense of identity and belonging. This project focuses on the Iraqi refugee community in Jordan. Tessera is a puzzle/game designed to stimulate problem solving skills, encourage dialogue/communication and reestablish a sense of identity and place."