Design News N. 027

Design News is your tiny dose of design, technology and other important news, curated monthly by Interwoven Design.  In this series we share the latest on our favorite topics, including sustainable design, design events in NYC, adaptive design, and women in design. In this issue: read about innovations in biomaterials and biotech, appreciate classic industrial design in the Eames pop-up at Herman Miller, and witness the power of color at Vitra’s new color-coded exhibit.

Studio MOM’s eco-friendly bicycle helmet

A hand holds the MyHelmet above a white table
Studio MOM’s eco-friendly MyHelmet is made with mycelium and hemp fibers. MyHelmet by studioMOM. Photo courtesy of Studio MOM.

Dutch design office Studio MOM has developed MyHelmet, a bike helmet that is manufactured with a combination of mycelium and a hemp textile, creating a composite that can be produced sustainably and composted after use. Most bike helmets on the market are made with non-biodegradable expanded polystyrene and are difficult or impossible to disassemble at the end of life. Studio MOM wanted to use innovative biomaterials to create an offering that would reflect the principles of a circular economy. They explained to Dezeen, “MyHelmet fits in with principles of the circular economy. There are minimal CO2 emissions, it does not require any fossil raw materials and the end result is 100 per cent biodegradable.”

via Dezeen

Biofabricate, where design meets biology

Designers congregate at Newlab
Designers congregate at Newlab.

Designed and facilitated by visionaries in the field, the Biofabricate Summit invites creators to integrate biotech into their future projects. The 2022 event is a 2-day conference showcasing the next wave of bio-innovators, with featured sectors including fashion, sport, wellness, mobility and construction. Join innovators and learn from biotech pioneers June 6-7 at Newlab in Brooklyn, NY.

via Newlab

Bye-bye to the iPod!

5 colorful iPod shuffles sit in a pile on a white background.
The iPod revolutionized the electronics market. Photo courtesy of sucelloleiloes.

Almost 22 years after its historic, record-breaking launch, Apple is stopping production of the iPod. The initial design concept was a music product that would encourage people to buy Apple’s computers. They weren’t the first to the market but they edged out the competition with their smart and intuitive user interfaces (that trackwheel!) and 99 cent tracks that prioritized selling hardware over software. The design far exceeded expectations, selling millions, revolutionizing the market, serving as a model for success for decades, and eventually inspiring the iPhone.

via The New York Times

Eames Institute at Herman Miller NYC

A red and black poster by Don Ervin for Herman Miller.
A poster by Don Ervin for Herman Miller. Photo courtesy of MidCentArc.

As part of NYCxDesign, the Eames Institute is holding its first pop-up exhibition at the Herman Miller Flagship. Herman Miller still manufactures all Eames furniture in the US, making the location of the pop-up especially fitting. Visitors can expect to see thousands of artifacts designed and collected by Ray and Charles Eames, including iterative ‘sketches’ of furniture pieces, notes, polaroids, and toys. This will be a preview of a massive display of small objects that The Eames Institute is organizing for later exhibition. On view until May 22nd.

via Designboom

New adaptive computer accessories 

A hand hovers above an adaptive mouse
Microsoft is launching a range of computer accessories designed for those with limited mobility. Photo credit: Microsoft.

Microsoft has launched a set of accessories that allow those with limited mobility or visual impairments to more easily and comfortably use a computer or laptop. The collection can be customized to suit different bodies, requirements, and preferences. The collection was developed by Microsoft’s inclusive Tech Lab, which specializes in adaptive design.

via Dezeen

Color Rush! by Sabine Marcelis at Vitra

"Vitra Design Museum by Frank Gehry" by o palsson
Vitra’s Color Rush! installation features hundreds of objects in their extensive design archive sorted by color. Photo courtesy of o palsson.

Dutch designer Sabine Marcelis’ Color Rush! exhibit sorts 400 of Vitra’s 7,000 object archive by color, resulting in a rainbow arrangement of products that juxtaposes radically different periods and styles while providing a vibrant, immersive experience. The objects are sorted by color gradients and displayed against a translucent background. The monochromatic presentation reveals the power of texture and material in design while creating a tour of design history via Vitra’s iconic furniture archive. On display from May 2022 to May 2023.

via Vitra

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Women in Industrial Design

Cultivating A Community That Supports Women in Industrial Design

Industrial design is a male-dominated field. The statistics don’t lie; only 19% of all industrial designers identify as female. This is a problem that has far-reaching repercussions, affecting everyone from budding designers to active professionals to the consumers using our products. Having an unequal playing field isn’t good for anyone, and frankly, it’s bad for business. Studies have shown that improving gender equality has positive impacts just about everywhere, improving everything from GDP to job growth to working conditions.

Just 19% of industrial designers identify as female. Via zippia
Women earn 89 cents for every $1 earned by men. Via zippia

Women as Design Leaders

At Interwoven Design, we’re working hard to change things. One of our main goals is to support women in design leadership. Although the number of women in design education and in academia has been growing over the past century, the percentage of women in leadership roles remains small. Across all industries, only 39% of executive roles are held by women, and a shocking 1% of all creative agencies are founded by women. These statistics speak to a larger problem of women being under represented in leadership roles, which has a critical impact on not only the products we are designing, but the world we are designing in.

The Interwoven Design team works on a project in the studio.

Having more women in design and design leadership roles is not just a theoretical concept; it results in tangible, on-the-ground product design solutions. Take our HeroWear Apex exosuit as an example. While conducting initial research for it, our team noticed a lack of warehouse equipment designed with women’s bodies in mind. Today, the Apex exosuit is considered a breakthrough wearable technology product: the world’s first exosuit specifically designed with a fit for everyone. The contoured straps and modular components offer multiple opportunities to customize the suits for both the female and male bodies.

a woman lifts a box in the Apex Exosuit
A female worker wearing the HeroWear Apex Exosuit by Interwoven Design lifts a box.
The Apex Exosuit is the first of its kind to be designed for all body types, including female body types.

Fostering Healthy Environments

Promoting women in leadership roles is a key part of cultivating a healthy community of designers. Lack of mentorship and unsupportive learning or working environments are two major reasons why women are underrepresented as professional designers. A recent study observed differences in communication styles between male- and female-dominant groups, and found that male-dominant groups resulted in less collaboration and cooperative sketching than groups that were either equally mixed-gender or female-dominant. Furthermore, countless female designers have stories of textbook gender discrimination: being treated differently than their male peers, standing by while their less-qualified male counterparts were promoted or given raises, experiencing aggression or sexual harassment from management. Toxic and unsupportive environments that foster these kinds of behavior eventually lead to women being pushed out, changing jobs, or changing careers altogether.

“When design teams are diverse, they call for vast spheres of influences and life experiences.” 

Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman discusses a project with her team at the Interwoven studio.

Interwoven uses every resource available to make industrial design a better, safer place for women. Interwoven’s founder, Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman, was recently elected to the position of Northeastern District Representative for the Industrial Designer’s Society of America (IDSA), as part of their Women in Design Committee. This committee makes it their number one priority to support, mentor, and encourage participation among women industrial designers.

Interwoven makes an active effort to diversify our workplace and cultivate collaboration. Starting from the ground up, we are working hard to change the male-dominated paradigm and promote women at every level in design. Come meet our team! If you haven’t already, check out Part One of our Women in Design series and follow us on Instagram for design news, multi-media recommendations, and to learn more about product design and development!

Art & Design Shows NYC 2022

The Smart List is a monthly list of multi-media recommendations on everything design, curated by Interwoven Design. In this issue, discover the art and design shows that Rebeccah and our team have enjoyed the most this month. Coming up: artists capture the turbulent nature of the last two years with a dynamic exhibit for the Whitney Biennial, The Shed hosts a wide range of art and performance experiences for the summer, and the best designs of 2022 are featured at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair.

Smart List: Art & Design Shows NYC 2022
The Smart List: Art & Design Shows NYC 2022

Whitney Biennial 2022: Quiet as It’s Kept

April 6 – September 5, 2022

The 2022 Whitney Biennial is designed to reflect the uncertain and disruptive nature of recent years. The pandemic, uprisings for racial justice, a presidential election, and polarizing events both national and international influence the art on display. This art is dynamic, incorporating animation, performance, and spatial shifts in the gallery itself to reflect the turbulent times.

Frieze New York: The Shed

May 18 – 22, 2022

The Shed is a contemporary art fair in the Frieze New York, an innovative art and performance space on Manhattan’s west side that was developed to transcend the barriers between various art forms and the audience. They collaborate with community organizations and partners to create transformational experiences. Take advantage of their Open Call performances to see new and emerging artists display their work or enjoy the work of featured DJ’s in their Summer Sway dance events on Friday and Saturday evenings throughout the summer.

International Contemporary Furniture Fair at the Javits Center

May 15 – 17, 2022

At ICFF’s 2022 convention over 375 design brands showcase dozens of product categories, including furniture, seating, lighting, flooring and rugs, kitchen, bath, and more. The ICFF is the leading venue for contemporary furniture design and a must-see trade event, presenting innovative product launches for commercial, residential, and hospitality environments. Expect a lot of walking to cover the entire convention.

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Design News N. 026

Design News is your tiny dose of design, technology and other important news, curated weekly by Interwoven Design. In this series we share the latest on our favorite topics, including adaptive design, innovative technology, and sustainable design. In this issue: The VITURE One smart glasses create a panoramic virtual reality, the Pixy drone is the ultimate selfie sidekick, and Nike’s new glue-free shoe promotes a circular economy as an admirable example of design for disassembly.

Stream immersive video anywhere

A product shot of Layer's Viture One smart glasses
Layer’s VITURE One smart glasses create an immersive virtual reality for the user. Photo courtesy of Layer Design.

Benjamin Hubert’s studio Layer has designed a pair of smart glasses for tech company VITURE that displays a virtual screen for the lucky wearer. The wearer is able to play games and stream media on a virtual, cinematic 120-inch screen without the aid of any other devices. The style of the design was led by fashion trends to appeal to the lifestyle market rather than to get lost in sea of tech devices. “We see one of the biggest use cases being streaming media and communicating with friends, colleagues and family nomadically,” Hubert shared with Dezeen.

via Dezeen

Mini friendly-flying camera

The Pixy hovers against an unfocused background.
The Snap Pixy drone is a camera that tags along with the user to document their activities. Photo credit: Snap.

Snap (the owners of Snapchat) has announced the launch of its flying camera. Called Pixy, the bright yellow block is like a selfie-enabled drone. The device takes off right from your palm to follow you around and capture footage that can be sent directly to the Snapchat app. Once you have the footage you want, you place your hand below the device to have it land again.

via Designboom

Shower-proof prosthetic leg

An amputee rests his knee on the Lytra prosthetic.
Lytra’s shower standing aid was developed for lower-limb amputees. Photo courtesy of Harry Teng.

The Lytra lower-limb prosthesis uses an interchangeable modular system to avoid the expense of custom building that pervades the prosthesis market. Creator Harry Teng wanted to produce a safe, inexpensive standing aid to help amputees shower. An adjustable height pole features a hand grip for added stability and a customizable socket gives amputees options for the best size and fit. This is the kind of thoughtful, user-centric design we really love to see; design that has not only thought about the immediate functionality of the device but about the entire system.

via Dezeen

Nike glueless ISPA Link trainers

Three components of the ISPA trainer are laid out on a white background
Interlocking parts eliminate the need for glue in Nike’s new ISPA trainers. Photo courtesy of Nike.

Nike has unveiled ISPA Link, a collection of modular trainers that can be easily disassembled, as part of the brand’s move towards a circular design economy. The line comes from Nike’s ISPA (Improvise Scavenge Protect Adapt) design division, which works to create sustainable solutions to design. Standard shoes need to be shredded to be recycled, which is an energy intensive process that ultimately creates a recycled material with significantly limited applications. Once the shoe can be disassembled, individual materials can be recycled or reused to prevent waste and feed future manufacturing.

via Nike News

NYCxDESIGN 10th anniversary

NYCxDesign 10 year anniversary logo
NYCxDesign celebrates its 10 year anniversary this year. Image courtesy of NYCxDesign.

NYCxDESIGN returns to New York for its tenth anniversary edition to showcase the city’s design talent. Hundreds of events are spread over the five boroughs in a celebration of local design. The festival will take place online and at various locations around New York City, May 10th – 20th, 2022.


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Celebrating Women Design Pioneers

Celebrating Women Design Pioneers, Thought Leaders and Activists

For centuries, women have been the pioneers and drivers of design. You see it in architecture, interior design, fashion, advertising, furniture and product design: women working behind the scenes, receiving little to no credit for their pioneering work. Fortunately, that’s all starting to change.

The early twentieth century saw the beginnings of a transformation in America. The number of design product patents held by women began to rise. Universities granted more and more design degrees to women. Companies hired women into design leadership roles. Today, more than half of all working designers are women—yet women remain underrepresented in design leadership positions. 

At Interwoven, we’re working to change that. Starting in early 2020, we began our Women Design Heroes Instagram series, celebrating women designers who have made an awe-inspiring imprint on the world.

Design Pioneers

Some of the most inspirational designers were cross-disciplinary trailblazers. Ray Eames started out as a painter in the early 1930s and 40s, making her mark on the New York abstract expressionist scene along with her friend and fellow artist, Lee Krasner. After a move to the West Coast, Eames took up architecture and industrial design, working closely with her husband, Charles Eames, and well-known architect Eero Saarinen. In Eames’ now-famous home and artists’ haven, the Eames House, you can see the influences of abstract art on the multi-colored facade.

“I never gave up painting, I just changed my palette.”

– Ray Eames

Textile designer and weaving innovator, Anni Albers changed the way textiles were perceived, using the medium as art and a breeding ground for experimentation. She trained at the Bauhaus and embraced its learning-through-experimentation methodology to explore composition and color through weaving. She often worked in grid patterns and was influenced by her husband’s work in optical illusion color theories. She taught for many years at both the Bauhaus and, after immigrating to the U.S., at Black Mountain College. Her seminal book, “On Weaving” (1965) is a must for your library.⁠ 

Designer Anni Albers weaves at a loom
Textile Designer Anni Albers
Architect Zaha Hadid. Photos courtesy of Forgemind ArchiMedia and Alena Graff.

Other design pioneers—Elsa Schiaparelli, Rowena Reed Kostellow, Ellen Manderfield, Coco Chanel, and many more—have not only left their mark on design itself, but have also paved the way for a future generation of designers. 

Thought Leaders and Inspiration

Some design thought leaders are not designers in the way you might think. Take a look at Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, whose impact on women’s rights in the U.S. still resonates. She may seem like an unlikely Woman Design Hero, but her life and legacy are a testament to perseverance and focus. We should learn from her example and remain true to our vision and stay focused on the long game. 
Other Women Design Heroes serve as a source of unending inspiration and creativity. Take architect and inventor Neri Oxman, head of the Mediated Matter research group at MIT. Oxman’s work is category-defying; her 3D-printed “skins” and art pieces explore concepts in materials science, product design, and Material Ecology, a new field defined by Oxman which regards biological processes and Nature as inseparable parts of product design and architecture.

Ayse Birsel is another design thought leader and a true font of creativity. Voted by Fast Company as One of the Most Creative People in Business, she has designed hundreds of award-winning products and systems for Fortune 500 brands including Amazon, Colgate-Palmolive, Herman Miller, GE, IKEA, The Scan Foundation, Staples and Toyota, among others. Her recent book, “Design the Life You Love,” uses design thinking as a scaffold for creating the life you want. 

“Life, just like a design problem, is full of constraints — time, money, age, location, and circumstances. You can’t have everything, so you have to be creative to make what you want and what you need co-exist.”

– Ayse Birsel

Social & Political Statements

Other Women Design Heroes have used their work to elevate political and social platforms. The concept is not new; the visual and visceral elements of design can captivate the human imagination and mind in ways that other media cannot. Consider the images of Barbara Kruger, whose bold text laid over collaged photos has become an iconic format in American political history. Her striking poster for the 1989 Women’s March on Washington–”Your body is a battleground”–challenges our assumptions on gender, identity, and politics.

Like Kruger, Katharine Hamnett uses bold, direct text to get her message across. Her oversized T-shirts feature huge slogans in block text; her “CANCEL BREXIT” T-shirt is sold out on her website. Alongside being the “inventor” of slogan t-shirts, she is also a pioneer of sustainability in the fashion industry. Over the course of her decades-long career, Hamnett has campaigned endlessly to change the fashion industry, both with her designs and sustainable production. She has been involved in numerous eco-friendly initiatives, and has given lectures on sustainability around the world.

“I am committed to changing the way it works, only making clothes ethically and as environmentally as possible, preserving traditional skills, and showing how it can be done.”

– Katharine Hamnett
Designer Katherine Hamnett black and white portrait
Fashion Designer Katherine Hamnett. Photos courtesy of Katherine Hamnett.
Ruth Carter with the Black Panther poster
Costume Designer Ruth Carter. Photos courtesy of Gage Skidmore and AntMan3001.

Carter’s design process may be one of the most fascinating elements of her work. She does intensive and deep research into each character she is creating a costume for, which adds depth and nuance to the costumes she designs. She brings her characters to life, adding to the complex narratives of the films she works on. 

These designers represent only a fraction of the Women Design Heroes celebrated in our Instagram series. See Part Two of our Women in Design blog series and follow us on Instagram to learn more about women in the industry.