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Research

Good design isn't just finding a solution to a problem- it's figuring out what the problem is in the first place. Interviews, trend analysis and future studies are some of the tools used to design on a systems level.

Development

Building on research with ideation through rapid drawing, modeling and prototyping allows ideas to fail quickly and often- so that the best, most viable solutions emerge thoroughly tested and considered.

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STRATEGY

Design strategy doesn't begin after a solution is developed- it is an integral part of the product itself. Beginning alongside research and development phases, strategic product positioning is a defining driver of product development from day one. 

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Simple setup and smartphone stowage encourage conversation at the table.

 

Nothing beats old fashioned, face-to-face communication and the dinner table is a classic venue for conversation. In fact, researchers at Harvard Medical School have found that children in families that eat together have lower rates of depression, teen pregnancy, substance abuse and perform better in school. 

The Quixet (quick-set) Table is designed to encourage communication by eliminating barriers for families to sit down and engage with each other. The table features drawers with pre-assembled tray place settings to make set-up effortless.

In between settings are two additional drawers designed to store cell phones, tablets and other distractions during mealtime. Playful yet useful, tech-cubbies are upholstered in jewelry box fashion to keep devices safe while just out of reach. After all, it's nice to 'turn off' every now and then. 

 
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While 82% of US adults say cell phone use distracts from conversation, 89% admit to using one during social gatherings, nonetheless.

-Pew Research Center 2015

Handmade porcelain cups nest into a side drawer.

Handmade porcelain cups nest into a side drawer.

Devices are stored in between diners in padded leather cubbies.

Devices are stored in between diners in padded leather cubbies.

"Daddy," she said, "stop Googling. I want to talk to you." 

-Stop Googling. Let's Talk., The New York Times

Sustainably sourced Walnut, Honduran mahogany, brass and leather are used in the Quixet Table. Dyed porcelain dishware was provided by Mud Australia. The Quixet table was both designed and fabricated by hand, by Zach Schlossberg.

Fabrication


Evolving retail norms are driving opportunities for new consumer-direct companies.

 

As Gen-Xers and Millenials surpass Baby-Boomers as America's top purchasers of home goods, retailers are scrambling to adapt to changing purchasing habits.

Still, large purchases and those dictated by "feel" and "comfort" face barriers in online shopping.

Some companies have convinced consumers by leveraging "easy returns," but for many, trying before buying is still essential.

 

The first step is understanding who our customer is and what relevant trends will converge in the future.

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User archetypes help to clarify consumer profiles and tell their stories.

Presentation excerpt of user archetype looped below.

Gro is a scalable, collapsible furniture platform with a mobile retail experience.

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How can consumers "try" larger goods without visiting a store?

How can retailers offer a showroom experience without a physical location?

Mobilizing a freelance sales force with demo units offers a mutual win for consumers, drivers and ride share services. Buyers get to try products at home, freelance drivers can increase income on their own terms and services offer more value to their partners without extra capital expense.

How does increased portability impact the user and product life cycle?

Increased portability and the option to update components allows users to dramatically extend the product life-cycle without concessions.

Understanding industry competitors and attractiveness during design helps shape product outcome strategically.

Acknowledging Gro's vulnerability to new entrants helps inform a road map that protects IP through continued innovation and service expansion. 

Trash is good and triangles are strong!

 

Inspired by the growing pile of wood and metal offcuts in his furniture workshop, designer Zach Schlossberg was inspired to make use of the scrap with an experimental table. After settling on an old cracked maple slab for a top, Zach scanned the shop for suitable leg material only to re-discover a pile of offcut 1/8" thick steel rod. Could such puny wire be a suitable base for such a heavy slab!?  

The challenge was on. Drawing from memories of ancient Roman aqueducts and the trellis supports of New York's infamous, Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, Zach set out to to design a wobble free triangular base using thin scrap steel.

The end result, welded and painted electric blue is a quirky homage to architecture, geometry and sustainability.

 

"Consumers are beginning to question the processes used in manufacturing, demanding that manufacturers reduce overall waste..."

The American Furniture Industry: Industry Watch Update

A long crack rendered this slab unusable and landed it in the trash. A hand mortised inlay (top right) adds visual interest and structural integrity.

A long crack rendered this slab unusable and landed it in the trash. A hand mortised inlay (top right) adds visual interest and structural integrity.

Spalted maple slab, scrap 1/8" steel round bar, Montana acrylic paint. The BQE table was both designed and fabricated by hand, by Zach Schlossberg with welding by Oblik Studio.

Finding viable business opportunities for a new technology.

 

The Helia Canopy was developed as part of a five week, team strategy project at Art Center College of Design. The project was based off of an unaffiliated international contest sponsored by Hanergy, the world's largest solar panel manufacturer. In both cases, designers were tasked with developing consumer facing products using Hanergy's new "Thin Film" technology, a new generation flexible solar panel.

The team, composed of three designers, Vedang Kulkarni, Clarice Rodriguez and myself researched and developed the Helia Canopy based on user and market trends and technological feasability. The final result was entered into Hanergy's International Thin Film Solar contest and selected as a finalist. 

 

Identifying primary and contributing trends.

Greater connectivity increases our demand for energy generation and storage. 

We have increasing complementary needs.

One product can target multiple human needs and demographics.

VENDORS - Market day

FAMILIES - CAMping DAY

A compact folding solar canopy for sustainably powered experiences.

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Ideation & Concept Development

More than 50 distinct ideas were diagrammed during the ideation phase, some blue sky and others more practical.

Digital and physical scale models were developed in tandem. 

Designing, engineering and, racing a winning RC car.

 

"Leadfinger" is a rubber band powered race car designed as part of an international competition to engineer and race a rubber band powered race car around a series of courses at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA.

The results? Team Leadfinger stole the show and won the competition overall taking Best In Show, the Eckles Design Award, Axial Racing Award, Honda R&D's Dare to Dream award and Drag Race Alley Champions.

 
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The car is powered by 16' of "rubber band" material wound manually inside a carbon fiber tube. At full capacity, Leadfinger is capable of reaching speeds in excess of 45 miles per hour.

Rubber bands are loaded into the power tube by disconnected the driveshaft portion from the body of the car. Components are keyed and register automatically without additional fasteners.

Rubber bands are loaded into the power tube by disconnected the driveshaft portion from the body of the car. Components are keyed and register automatically without additional fasteners.

The only parameters placed on contestants are that the car may contain only two servos- one used for steering, and the other a clutch or brake. 

Leadfinger was built of aluminum, titanium, FDM 3D printed plastics, carbon fiber and a litany of scavenged RC toy parts.

A 90° bevel gearbox was created from a model helicopter tail rotor. Transferring power from a longitudinal driveshaft to a perpendicular rear wheels allowed us to focus on a rigid body with less power loss than a transverse powered car.

A 90° bevel gearbox was created from a model helicopter tail rotor. Transferring power from a longitudinal driveshaft to a perpendicular rear wheels allowed us to focus on a rigid body with less power loss than a transverse powered car.

A "slipper clutch" was made from a large format RC car disc braking system. The clutch allowed rubber band power to be feathered in degrees, not just on and off, adding to control and power conservation.

A "slipper clutch" was made from a large format RC car disc braking system. The clutch allowed rubber band power to be feathered in degrees, not just on and off, adding to control and power conservation.

The clutch is controlled by a large front mounted servo, placed accordingly for weight balance near the front wheels. 

The clutch is controlled by a large front mounted servo, placed accordingly for weight balance near the front wheels. 

Independent suspension was designed not just for bumps but primarily to compensate for the force of a fully wound rubber band bearing down on one side. With added suspension, the car could hold more force and keep all four wheels on the ground.

Independent suspension was designed not just for bumps but primarily to compensate for the force of a fully wound rubber band bearing down on one side. With added suspension, the car could hold more force and keep all four wheels on the ground.

In addition to building a car, we designed a branding strategy for the team.

We created a Bond style poster using photography with digital hand painted overlays and classic 60's layout tropes.

We created a Bond style poster using photography with digital hand painted overlays and classic 60's layout tropes.

The classic James Bond film, Goldfinger served as inspiration.

The team assembled at our race booth with our wares.

The team assembled at our race booth with our wares.

Receiving our awards at the end of race day!

Receiving our awards at the end of race day!

We designed custom playing cards with "Bond Villains" from the opposing teams, manufactured clutch shaped drink coasters, Leadfinger cocktail shakers and served lemon water in mini martini glasses. 

We designed custom playing cards with "Bond Villains" from the opposing teams, manufactured clutch shaped drink coasters, Leadfinger cocktail shakers and served lemon water in mini martini glasses. 

"In a gentle way you can shake the world"

-MaHATMA Gandhi

A core part of our team mission was to increase awareness of STEAM initiatives in the local community. We partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena and volunteered to teach a class in Design Process to local youth. 

Students created clay models based on self generated orthographic drawings.

Students created clay models based on self generated orthographic drawings.

We designed a curriculum based on automotive design principles and led instruction in ideation, drawing and clay modeling.

A student tests out driving "Leadfinger."

A student tests out driving "Leadfinger."

Team member, Atria Azarmi demonstrates clay carving tecniques.

Team member, Atria Azarmi demonstrates clay carving tecniques.

Zach Buchman guides students in a drawing exercise.

Zach Buchman guides students in a drawing exercise.

We used our car as a point of entry for students to get excited about design. In the end, students walked away from class with their own orthographic drawings,modeled clay cars and digital 3D models generated from their work.

In the year after the competition, Team Leadfinger was asked to visit China to lead design discussions at several universities. My co-captain and I traveled to China and delivered talks on ideation, R&D and the iterative design process. We traveled thousands of miles from Beijing to Ji-Nan to Guangzhou and Shantou, and met with hundreds of students along the way.

Some presentations were large format lectures and others were intimate discussions with small groups. We rarely knew in advance how many people we would be visiting so we prepared multiple programs to engage any audience we encountered.

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Pillow talk promotes playfulness and communication-even in absence.

 

By leaving notes for each other, couples communicate in a more fun way than texting, e-mail and phone calls. 

Notes are left for each other underneath a pillow in the cubby.  When a note is left, the writer flips the toggle switch illuminating an LED.  When the recipient returns home, a glowing light indicates that a note is waiting to be read. 

Used as a coffee table, the stored pillows act as side pillows on the sofa when the couple is together.

 

Couples connect by leaving notes underneath each other's pillows.

“I would argue that play is an essential part of living. It’s the process by which great discoveries are made, industries are built, and people fall in love." 

JOHN FERRARA, PLAYFUL DESIGN

A day in the life of Amy & Jack illustrates how couples with different schedules can enhance their communication with Pillow Talk.

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Reclaimed wormy walnut, MDF, Ilva polyester lacquer, felt, batting, soft-close undermount slides, LED, wiring, toggle switch, 9 volt battery, pen & paper. The Pillow Talk Table was both designed and fabricated by hand, by Zach Schlossberg.

Fabrication

A lamp that shines even when it's off.

 

Daylight is no excuse not to showcase a beautiful lamp but where's the sense in burning energy in a bright room? Placed near a window, Alight channels sunlight through a resin encased lavender panel, glowing no matter what time of day..

 

Black walnut, 3Form resin panel with lavender, antique black patina steel with brazed joints, grey felt with purple contrast stitching. Alight was designed and fabricated by hand by Zach Schlossberg.

Using interviews and analysis to find design insights in a niche sport.

 

This research was conducted over the course of 8 weeks as a three member team project in GradID at Art Center College of Design. Our aim was to uncover insights that would drive design opportunities in an unfamiliar area. The following is an excerpt of our investigation into the culture and sport of bouldering. 

 
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How can The Magic Castle appeal to a younger crowd?

Rebranding a classic with humor and reverence.

 

Part dinner theatre, part night club, part private clubhouse, The Magic Castle is a legendary Hollywood institution with a robust history. But like so many historic landmarks, it struggles to remain culturally relevant and appeal to young consumers.

In order to connect with a new demographic, The Magic Castle needs to update its dated graphic identity. This series of objects show one direction that The Magic Castle could use to modernize its image, poke fun at itself while still remaining dignified and magical.

This system was designed at Art Center over the course of one term as a graphic exercise.

 

"The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper."

W.B. YEATS

Custom playing cards, a gift shop magic kit, a dinner menu, tickets, and invitations were among the items conceptualized.

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Graphics were developed over the course of 12 weeks with dozens of iterations. Semi-final proofs below.

 

How can we develop safe and hygienic shared VR headsets for use in a high turnover theme park environment?

 
 

Lately it seems like Virtual Reality is popping up everywhere- from software to soft drinks- companies across all industries are scrambling to gain entry into this compelling experiential medium. While much can be said for the advances in software, one of the largest barriers to VR adoption is comfort and understanding of the HMD (Head Mounted Displays) that are are required to engage..

This project was undertaken as part of a year long research & development effort for a major multi-national theme park provider. I was the lead Industrial Designer responsible for all modeling, prototyping, and user research as well as supporting optical engineering design.

 

HERO SHOT- OUTLINE TO RENDER

HUMAN CENTERED RESEARCH
I designed and conducted primary research through generative interviews, first hand observation of similar experience and competitive analysis of similar products, we

OUR THREE BIGGEST CHALLENGES

Users of VR at home, have plenty of time to get acquainted with their gear and dial it in until it’s perfect. In a theme park, users have mere minutes to do the same.

HOW CAN WE MAKE A DEVICE THAT ANYONE CAN USE THE FIRST TIME?

Visiting a theme park is all about shared experiences and user comfort is all about knowing your family is saf

how can we make an HMD that lets users check in on loved ones and respond in an emergency?

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There’s nothing grosser than sharing goggles with untold masses- How can we design a device and system that offers a clean and safe headset, to every user, everytime?

How can we design a device and system that offers a clean and safe headset, to every user, everytime?

USER JOURNEY

PRODUCT USE CYCLE (MOUNTINGTO USE TO CLEANING) (SYSTEM MAP)

AR Motorcycle HUD

 
 

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About

 
 

It all started when…

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