DESIGNING FOR EXTREMES
Integrative Studio 1 is a subject under the MS Strategic Design and Management program at Parsons School of Design at The New School. The class functions as a studio - with a comprehensive brief coming from a live project partner and students conducting research and developing prototyped interventions all throughout the semester.
For a class inversion on the topics of ideation and prototyping, my team and I decided to step outside our team projects for once to help the class be unstuck and get some inspiration from other sources. We decided to run a workshop called Designing for Extremes. Designing for Extremes taps into designers’ capability to generate ideas to solve for extreme and seemingly unimaginable situations.
As designers, there will be situations where we are faced with a lot of constraints where we have very little control over the cards that we were dealt. This seems like a burden at first glance but often times, constraints and extreme situations pique our curiosity the most and help us be our most creative selves. Designing for Extreme Situations also allow us to be practice empathy as we think about user groups who have very limited physical and financial resources.
We structured each prompt with the following - Object, User, Situation, Basic Function.
Object - refers to the item being designed. The form of the object does not matter as long as it serves the main function.
User - the person/living thing for whom we are designing. The user itself is facing a certain type of physical challenge.
Situation - the context in which the user must thrive or survive in.
Basic Characteristic - the non-negotiable function that the object must fulfill.
Design a prototype of a water bottle for a disabled athlete with no hands who is running a marathon. The athlete needs to be able to drink while running and the bottle needs to be fashionable.
Design a prototype of a backpack for a visually challenged user who is lost in the jungle. You may only use materials that are found in the jungle.
Design a prototype of a mini gym for a cat who is lazy and obese. The gym needs to serve multiple needs (shelter, play, feeding etc).
Design a prototype of a shelter for the homeless to protect themselves during a snowstorm. The shelter needs to serve multiple needs (home, storage, cooking etc).
To make sure that participants are indeed working with constraints, only materials that we have provided are allowed in the making of the prototype.