Stool Project: Spring 2012 Final Posters

The following thumbnails represent a collection of final posters from the end of spring term 2012. The project task was to redesign the ubiquitous grey metal studio stool for the gradID environment. The process included needs analysis, iterative concept development and functional prototype delivery. All in 14 weeks.

Clicking a thumbnail will open a larger image including a caption identifying the designer.


Spring Studio Stool Project

“Know thyself to know others, for heart beats like heart.” -Chinese Proverb

One of the core philosophies of the Grad ID program is to practice human-centered design. Through research and observation, students practice the art of discovering insights into human behavior. This term, M2 Grad ID students were tasked to understand the human needs present within an educational environment by first understanding their own behavior in order to design a stool (a simple seat without back or arms) intended for use in the Grad ID classrooms. Each of the student designs is a candidate for being produced to outfit a Grad ID classroom.

Guided by faculty members Andy Ogden, Stan Kong, Dice Yamaguchi, and Wook Kim, the students labored through 14 weeks of iterative design and after having gone through a tremendous amount of learning, not only about furniture but also about the design process, the students were able to manufacture amazing prototypes that represented their vision regarding the future of design education at Grad ID.

The final design of the Grad ID stool has yet to be determined but in holding true to the evolutionary design process, the Summer term of 2012 will be dedicated to experimenting with the prototypes to further refine the designs. Stay tuned to find out what kind of stool will be used to educate the industrial designers of tomorrow!

Rubber Band Racer – eFormula Experience GradID – ACCD

The Formula E project is an annual Summer event for GradID at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. The class is randomly assigned teams of two. The assignment is to develop a racing vehicle powered by one 16 foot X 3/16 inch rubber strip with radio controlled steering and breaks.The process combines the exploration of materials, automotive engineering, and a thematic design concept, which drives the team’s design strategy, brand identity, racer design and all of the graphic presentation elements. The race event consists of Concours d’elegance (theme judgement) and three challenging race courses.

Starbucks “Coffee @ Home” Project Spring 2011

The Spring 2011 M3 gradID class with team members from the Ducker school of Management were tasked with envisioning a Starbucks home coffee experience for North America.

Prior to the project, in public statements about the future of the company, Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO outlined plans to create long-term shareholder value. This gradID project was an aligned innovation response to the statements of the Chairman and CEO.:

  • “Our next phase of growth will come from extending the Starbucks Experience to our customers beyond the third place to every part of their day, through multiple brands and channels.
  • “Starbucks will continue to offer the highest-quality coffee, but we will offer other products as well – and while the integrity, quality and consistency of these products must remain true to who we are, our new brand identity will give us the freedom and flexibility to explore innovations and new channels of distribution that will keep us in step with our current customers and build strong connections with new customers.”

Each student developed a business model based strategic proposal along side a product design solution.

The specific framing questions we asked include:

What will Starbucks premium at-home coffee experience for North America be?

How will Starbucks create a sustainable competitive advantage and own that market?

This video chronicles the coffee at home project done by Art Center’s graduate Industrial Design programand the Ducker school of Management in Spring of 2011.


Finished project models are shown below. Clicking on a thumbnail will open a larger image with designer credits.

RedPillars – Design for Disaster

Red Pillars are “interactive digital information kiosks”, designed to increase public awareness about the American Red Cross, break its reliance on disaster-driven donations, and give the Red Cross control over its image and communication.
For this project designers have spent one term (14 weeks) on an intensive research phase and one term on strategic planning and design.

Masters Studio 4 – 2009
Refik Burak Atatur
Uri Tzarnotzky

Sparks & Connections

These are large 4-6ft posters created for Katherine Bennett’s “Sparks and Connections” class. Students develop case studies of innovation, and based on what they learn, present “Archetypes of Innovation” – their theory of the different ways innovation happens.

Clicking on a thumbnail will open a new Flash window that allows for scrolling and zooming

Mainstream Displays
Tarangini Jindal, Ruthy Kim, Jules Moretti, Koo Ho Shin

Crayola Crayons
Leslie Evans, Christine Purcell

History of Innovation: Apple Macintosh / big sparks
Quinn Chow

History of Innovation: Apple Macintosh /medium & small sparks
Quinn Chow

James Chiang, Refik Atatur, Tarangini Jindal, Jihoon Kim

Byte into an Apple
Tim Brewer, Refik Atatur, Jihoon Kim

The World in a Laptop
James Chiang, Tarangini Jindal, Jules Moretti, Koo Ho Shin

Ruthy Kim, Koo Ho Shin, Uri Tzarnotzky

Sony Walkman
Amanda Vining

Halo Lamp

Peter’s design for a neon halo lamp to hang over his workspace revealed his interest in design for entertainment. “I was really surprised to discover how many artists work in the entertainment and video game industries,” says Peter, who comes from Hong Kong by way of Rhode Island. “Prior to Art Center, I never considered that as a possibility.”

Peter Chan ’06
Visual Development Artist
Sony Pictures Animation

Entertainment Design

Peter painted this work for a class on originality in Art Center’s Entertainment Design program, a program he immersed himself in alongside GradID. “I definitely had my own goals and chose a different direction,” says Peter. “But at Art Center, you’re not locked into one method of thinking.”
For his thesis project, Peter took his understanding of “systems approach” thinking and made a creative tool for the rapid modeling of new game industry business models.

Peter Chan ’06
Visual Development Artist
Sony Pictures Animation

Mourning Experience

Xuan’s ambitious thesis project aimed to solve China’s overcrowded graveyards and its waning forest coverage. Xuan reimagined the mourning experience by creating a system where cremated remains of loved ones are buried underneath newly-planted trees and social networking and mobile technologies
allow the living to receive previously-recorded messages from the dearly departed. “Burial is an important topic, but it’s also a taboo subject,” says Xuan. “Therefore the solution had to be both meaningful and sustainable.”

Xuan Yu
Senior Technical Staff (Design)
Walt Disney Imagineering R&D

Bao Bei

For this Walt Disney Imagineering R&D sponsored project, Xuan, originally from Beijing, suggested Disney enter the Chinese market by marrying its trusted family brand with the Chinese traditionof giving children monetary gifts in red envelopes. She imagined a system where relatives transfer money electronically to a card, record personalized messages, and even allocate funds towards Disney-branded education. “That was very different from anything I did previously,” says Xuan.
“It had potential to grow.”
Xuan Yu
Senior Technical Staff (Design)
Walt Disney Imagineering R&D


NTT DOCOMO, Japan’s leading mobile service provider, sponsored a project that challenged GradID students to envision business growth models for their company. Based upon research and personal knowledge of his native country, Hiroshi imagined a system that applied context sensitive technologies (glasses that translate text) and augmented reality (bracelets that simulate human touch) to assist Japan’s growing foreign worker population. “The key to success was presenting a problem that didn’t seem solvable through technology,” says Hiroshi.

Hiroshi Horii
Senior Researcher, Design and User Experience Creation
Nokia Research Center, Palo Alto

Last Mile Mobility

For his thesis project, Hiroshi developed Last Mile Mobility, a device that easily transforms from a kick scooter into a wheeled piece of luggage. Hiroshi’s design solves the commuter’s infamous “last mile” dilemma—how to navigate that distance between the final bus/train stop and the ultimate destination—and does so in a stylish and professional form factor. “I really wanted to make something
tangible,” says Hiroshi. “I wanted to show how the product could create a solution.”

Hiroshi Horii
Senior Researcher, Design and User Experience Creation
Nokia Research Center, Palo Alto

Wireless Billboard

While in France as part of the INSEAD-Art Center business study abroad program, Quinn and a group of MBA students analyzed the current advertising experience. “Take for example, the billboard,” says Quinn. “Half a million people may drive past one, but they only really take home one sentence.” Their solution? Design a system where advertisements send information to customer’s cell phones, computers or other devices, creating a richer, more enjoyable purchasing process for the consumer.

Quinn Chow
Strategic Design Consultant
Second Road (Australia)


Employing CAD, rapid prototyping and classic sculpting techniques from the auto industry, Dan developed Skillers, an integrated ski goggle and audio/communications system. The system features hidden noise-cancelling speakers, an MP3 player, a two-way radio and Bluetooth technology that allows users to listen to music, make phone calls and connect to an online music service. “Skillers are inspired by rock culture,” says Dan. “They’re bold, aggressive and not afraid to offend the timid.”

Dan Winger ’07
Design and Strategy Consultant
LEGO Concept Lab

Samsonite Brand Extension

Claire based this new brand extension for Samsonite on observational research of frequent business travelers. She produced it alongside a team of MBA students for the INSEAD-Art Center study abroad program in Singapore. “Being at INSEAD showed me the importance of proper communication
among team members,” says Claire. “We taught the MBA students about the design process. In turn, they taught us about creating a strong business model and assessing the scope of a project.”

Claire Gerhardt
User Experience Designer
Microsoft, Xbox 360

Rubber Band Race Car Summer 2008

mobilityVIP wins two IDEA awards!

Mobility VIP has been recognized with two 2008 IDEA awards:
Silver in the category of Interactive Product Experiences
Bronze in the category of Ecodesign
This is the first occasion of IDEA awards being granted to an Art Center faculty project.

mobilityVIP site is live

We launched a web site today for the mobilityVIP project. Part of that project was the development and testing of a set of cards that rapidly generate a futures scenario for mobility workshops. The project has now entered public beta and the site is at:

It includes some discussion of the process, a small gallery of work, and a Flash widget that simulates the card deck. I think some of you will get a kick out of what we’ve done.

More to come on this project in the coming months.

Rubber Band Race Car Summer 2007