August 23, 2012

Life Impacted

Cory Depasquale, a senior industrial design student (BIND ’13), says that he will never look at a product the same way again. After spending several months designing an exhibit with thirteen classmates about design, Depasquale can’t look at household items without thinking of the designers and manufacturers behind them. And that’s what he hopes others will learn to see as well.

The junior students, with the help of professors Sam Aquillano and Derek Cascio, have created an exhibit entitled Life Impacted: International Design Excellence. It aims to highlight the importance of design in everyday life, and premiered at the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) National Conference, which is being held at the Westin Waterfront in Boston.

Their exhibit showcases the gold and silver winners of the International Design Excellence Awards – products as diverse as special jackets made for children with autism to chair-like MRI machines.

“For most exhibit design courses, it’s just a design on paper,” said Aquillano, who, along with Cascio, also founded Design Museum Boston in 2009. But one look at the classroom shows that this isn’t the case: students are picking out font sizes, looking over the Google doc spreadsheet that serves as the budget, and building the foundation for the exhibit.

Last year, the professors led a junior studio class that created the exhibit “Retail: Retell. Recycle. Rethink.” It was featured in the Prudential Center, and design website Core77 recently awarded the exhibit two notable awards in the Educational Initiatives and Interiors & Exhibitions categories as part of their Annual Design Awards.

But for this year’s class of industrial design students, they will be able to see their final project on display in front of some of the most important names in the field. “This exhibit really has to be perfect because it’s going in front of the design community,” said Depasquale, one of three students acting as a project manager.

After the IDSA conference, the exhibit will travel to MassChallenge, a startup competition in Boston. There, the goal is to encourage entrepreneurs to consider the design aspect of their products.

“When you tell people you’re an industrial designer they don’t really know what that is, so we want to show them that we’re not making factories,” said Emily Connors, BIND ’13, a site scouting project manager for the exhibit who helped decide where to send the exhibit after the IDSA conference.

Connors and Depasquale say that this class went beyond most of their studios because they learned the practical skills of fundraising and management in addition to their design work.

“I hope that the exhibit is kind of an eye-opener and people will really appreciate it,” said Depasquale. “This is about giving these products the recognition they deserve.”

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