A lesson in sustainability...
Developed over 8 months as my senior thesis, BOUW is a digital magazine that inspires its readers to live intentionally and sustainably by sharing the stories of independent furniture makers. This online publication was inspired by a frustration with the recent market trend of 'fast furniture' such as Ikea. In 2016 alone, the EPA reported that furniture accounted for 9.8 million tons of household waste and was the #1 least-recycled item in the household. We wanted to see how we could re-orient consumers relationships with the modern furniture industry to design more sustainable options and solutions.
During this year of in-depth research, synthesis, ideation,and prototyping we designed many possible solutions for this problem including a furniture rental company, a local furniture incubator, and an online retail platform for local makers. Informed by our researched we pivoted and grew with our insights. After interviewing dozens of local furniture makers along with industry and retail experts, we realized that to change customers purchasing habits we didn’t need to create another retail platform, but rather a dialogue about our values as consumers.
This inspired us to develop a digital magazine that focused on connecting with our readers on a more emotional level and subtly educating them about where furniture comes from, who makes it and how you could make more sustainable choices. We do this by creating an experience both online and offline that shares the stories, lives, and work of local makers. As part of the slow movement, BOUW looks to the past for an appreciate of craft and nudges its readers to create a more sustainable, community-based future.
A lesson in simplification...
The most impactful pitches are the ones that show while you tell. For my thesis project, I co-created an online platform that sells home furnishings crafted by local New York Makers and teaches modern consumers the value of making.
As part of my Design Entrepreneurship class I created a four minute pitch to present for investors and entrepreneurs on Demo Day. While the project took four months, it only takes four strategically crafted minutes to sell your vision and inspire others to invest in your story and product. You can view our website's beta version here.
A lesson in pivoting...
My senior thesis began by looking at the furniture industry and trying to create an alternative furnishing system for urban residence. Through thorough research, interviews, observations, and surveys my partner and I decided to create a new type of online furniture rental.
However, after more in-depth interviews we realized that our research was leading us in a different direction. So instead of holding onto our prized idea, we let it go and let our insights lead the way. As a designer this can be the one of the hardest things to do, but pivoting can lead to even greater ideas and more passionate projects. That is how we created Dekor, featured in the presentation above.
THE COEUR COLLECTION
A lesson in brand renewal...
While studying abroad at Parsons Paris, I was paired with local embroidery studio Linge au Coeur for a collaboration to modernize a very traditional atelier. Through industry research my team developed a holistic strategy that allowed the brand to grow with its clientele and expand its boundaries into the 21st Century. This included a new visual identity, a new line of embroidery made through designer collaborations, and a unique marketing campaign combining old and new mediums.
COLOMBIA BUSINESS EXPANSION
A lesson in global strategy...
Cultural understanding and empathy make the difference between a good international business person and a great one. Being able to readily connect and communicate with people takes time, research, and knowledge.
For my Global Professional Practices class I took an in-depth look into Colombia's traditions and business relations. This included everything you'd need to know at a glance in order to do business there, teaching me how to adapt quickly and create lasting business relations.
SOULCYCLE GLOBAL STRATEGY
A lesson in brand research...
This proposed global strategy for SoulCycle's international expansion was developed through in-depth brand and market research. I worked along side Maurice Dusault, Miles Pope, and Amelia Haney to create a cohesive presentation that clearly identifies possible countries for expansion, a marketing and project strategy, hiring and cultural orientation, and risk analysis.
THE INTERACTIVE EGRESS
A lesson in coding...
I always love a challenge so my senior year at Parsons I enrolled in a graduate level Digital Environments studio. Here I learned how to code arduinos, work with Processing and Wekinator, lighting design, and systems thinking on a technical level.
For my final project, my group created a lighting installation in a stairwell promoting health and fitness in everyday spaces. This class was completely outside of my comfort zone but I loved it. It's important to never stop learning and exploring as a designer, there is always something to be gained by pushing yourself to the next level.