Books on Cross-disciplinary Design

The Smart List is a monthly list of multi-media recommendations on everything design, curated by Interwoven Design. As a group of aesthetically obsessed designers, there are a lot of beautiful products and objects we love and enjoy. These products make our daily lives special and inviting and we want to share them with you. Pick up these Books on Cross-Disciplinary Design in this issue for the design savvy people on your list!

Books on Cross-disciplinary Design

1. The Senses: Design Beyond Vision

Edited by Ellen Lupton and curated by Andrea Lipps

Dive into the awesome world of inclusive and multisensory design with “The Senses: Design Beyond Vision.” This book is like your backstage pass to a cool exhibition at the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum that flips the script on the idea that design is just about what you see. Get ready to explore how space, materials, sound, and light mess with your mind and body, all while getting insights from hip designers like Petra Blaisse, Bruce Mau, and Malin+Goetz. And guess what? This isn’t just about solving problems – it’s about making life better for everyone, especially those with sensory disabilities.

The book isn’t your typical read—it’s got essays on all kinds of stuff like designing for the table, cool tactile graphics, making sound tactile, and even visualizing the senses. It’s like a shout-out, telling you to jump on the multisensory design train. Students and pros in things like products, interiors, graphics, interaction, sound, animation, and data visualization need to check it out. But hey, even if you’re just curious about design, “The Senses” takes you on a wild ride of thought-provoking exploration. And they’ve got a dream team behind it—Christopher Brosius, Hansel Bauman, Karen Kraskow, Binglei Yan, and Simon Kinnear all pitched in, with a killer design by David Genco and Ellen Lupton. It’s like the Avengers of the design world got together to drop some knowledge!

via Cooper Hewitt

2. Ways of Being

by James Bridle

In “Ways of Being,” James Bridle, the artist, tech whiz, and deep thinker, dives into a cool exploration of intelligence in all sorts of areas—plants, animals, humans, and even artificial stuff. This mind-bending work shakes up the usual ideas about intelligence, asking if it’s just a human thing or if it’s hanging out with creatures made of flesh, wood, stone, and silicon. Bridle gets real about the progress in artificial intelligence, making it sound like this mysterious force that’s messing with our sense of being at the center of the universe.

Bridle doesn’t stick to one subject—he throws in biology, physics, computers, books, art, and deep thoughts into the mix. “Ways of Being” dives deep into all the different ways we know stuff, do stuff, and just exist in this world. As we try to wrap our heads around artificial intelligence, Bridle pushes us to rethink what we know about intelligence itself. It’s like a wake-up call to think about who we are, what our gadgets are doing, and how we fit into the big picture of nature. And hey, it’s not just for the science nerds—this exploration totally connects with the world of cross-disciplinary design, telling designers to think big about how their creations impact all kinds of intelligence and the crazy interconnected world we live in.

via Barnes & Noble

3. Videogame Atlas

by You + Pea Architecture and Game Design

In the vast digital world, the only limits are the ones we cook up in our minds. Stuff like games and shows throw open doors to these wild and captivating worlds, often inspired by architectural research. Check out game design in hits like Assassin’s Creed, where they smoothly mix architectural stuff with the gameplay. The cool team You+Pea, led by Sandra Youkhana and Luke Caspar Pearson, dives into this whole blend of architecture and gaming. They run You+Pea, an architectural design studio that’s been showing off their game-based creations in fancy galleries. Plus, they just dropped a book called “Videogame Atlas: Mapping Interactive Worlds.”

This awesome book, a brainchild of You+Pea’s research, breaks down twelve rad games—from big-budget ones to indie gems—using panoramic maps, diagrams, and over 400 illustrations. “Videogame Atlas” makes the whole link between architecture and games easy to get, even if you’re not a gaming whiz. The book digs into games where the city takes the spotlight, like Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Cities: Skylines, and Dwarf Fortress, as well as those with crazy fantasy vibes like Final Fantasy VII + Remake, Death Stranding, and Dark Souls. The authors want us to see video game worlds like we look at real cities, recognizing the deep meaning they hold for gamers. They’re all about how games not only get ideas from real spots but also twist them in new ways, creating cool perspectives in gamer communities. With games leaving their mark on how architects learn and design, the line between architecture and gaming is getting blurry. And hey, The Bartlett just launched a fresh master’s program called “Cinematic and Videogame Architecture,” led by Lukas Caspar Pearson. It’s like the next level of blending these two worlds!

via Parametric Architecture

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Small Scale Manufacturing

Prototyping and Initial Production Runs

The Smart List is a monthly list of multi-media recommendations on everything design, curated by Interwoven Design. As a group of aesthetically obsessed designers, there are a lot of beautiful products and objects we love and enjoy. These products make our daily lives special and inviting and we want to share them with you. This issue is a collection of small scale manufacturers for prototyping and initial production runs.

The Smart List: Small Scale Manufacturing

Print Parts

We rely on Print Parts’ impressive 3D Printing capabilities to conduct early design tests and validate ideas during our creative process. Their team of skilled additive specialists is always on hand to assist with printing parts and overcoming any challenges that arise.

Conveniently located in Manhattan, just a short subway ride away from our studio, Print Parts facilitates a swift turnaround of iterative 3D printed components. Their manufacturing lab excels at producing cost-effective prototypes and high-quality samples.

To ensure top-notch quality, every order is accompanied by a comprehensive Quality Assurance Checklist. This meticulous inspection is carried out by one of Print Part’s operators before the parts are dispatched for delivery. This way, all parties involved can rest assured that the components meet the required criteria.

via Print Parts

Athena 3D Manufacturing

Athena 3D Manufacturing was established in 2019 with a clear objective: to utilize 3D printing to produce top-notch parts at scale and competitive prices. Over time, Athena has grown its offerings to include a range of additive manufacturing methods like HP Jet Fusion and Markforged Metal X technology, post-processing services, CNC machining, injection molding, cast urethane, and engineering design services.With their ability to develop high-performance, quality parts quickly, Athena 3D helps us iterate quickly through 3D printing and even runs small production runs for us to develop high fidelity prototypes to our clients. Combining their exceptional components with our prototyping capabilities empowers us to fabricate fully functional, photoshoot-ready products with confidence.

via Athena 3D Manufacturing

Carbon 3D

Carbon® is a pioneering 3D printing technology company that empowers businesses to create superior products and accelerate their time to market. Their impressive client roster spans the globe and is particularly distinguished by innovative solutions in the automotive, footwear, and athletic industries. Among their standout projects, Carbon’s ongoing collaboration with Adidas stands out, where they utilize 3D printing to craft lattice midsoles for shoes.

Through their ingenious application of additive manufacturing methods, Carbon 3D has revolutionized lattice structures, allowing us to replicate foam-like qualities in plastic parts. This opens up unique use-case scenarios that were previously unattainable through injection molding or traditional 3D printing. Working alongside their personable and knowledgeable team, we’ve enjoyed a seamless process of iteration and prototyping.

via Carbon 3D

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Networking, Resilience, and Balance

Lessons from Successful Women Design Entrepreneurs

From designing products that we use every day to crafting the tools we need to live a more sustainable life; industrial design is all around us. While this field has traditionally been male-dominated, women are shaking things up and making a name for themselves in the industry. In fact, some of the most innovative and exciting industrial design studios today are run by women! So, grab your sketchbook and let’s take a closer look at some of the badass women who have started their own industrial design studios. Get ready to be inspired!

The Whys

One of the things that I am curious about is how and why so many women have opened their own practice. I asked a group of successful women design entrepreneurs about what led them to open their own studios.

For Isis Shiffer, founder and design lead, Spitfire Industry in Brooklyn, NY, her love for working with diverse clients and teams from various disciplines was likely a strong motivator for her to start her own studio. By owning her own business, she could have greater control over the types of projects she takes on and the clients she works with. This can be important for individuals who have a passion for a specific type of work or working with certain types of people.

On the other hand, the founder and creative director of Level Design in San Francisco, Nichole Roulliac, had the desire to lead her own studio and bring a new energy and perspective to the design industry that highlights the importance of representation and diversity in the workplace. ‘As a female founder, I saw firsthand how important it was to create a space that not only celebrated diversity but actively sought it out. I wanted to build a company that valued diverse perspectives and ideas, and that actively sought to create a more inclusive industry,’ said Roulliac. This aligns with a larger trend of women starting their own businesses to create more opportunities for themselves and to challenge traditional gender roles and expectations. Both designers recognized the need for a fresh perspective and decided to take the leap to become design entrepreneurs.

Jennifer Linnane’s experience as a successful solo-preneur and industrial designer highlights the benefits of being a freelancer, such as the flexibility to work on a variety of interesting projects and to build a successful business around one’s unique skills. This flexibility and independence can be appealing for many individuals who want to take control of their career and work on projects that align with their values and goals.

The Challenges

However, running a consulting practice or starting a business also comes with its own set of challenges. One of the biggest challenges is finding and securing clients, which often requires developing new skills such as networking, branding, and communicating effectively with clients. As Brittany Gene of Brittany Gene Design points out, scoping projects and learning how to communicate and contract with clients is crucial for success.

Building a strong network of fellow industrial designers and professionals outside of the design industry can also be an important factor in building a successful practice. This can help to provide support, advice, and potential referrals for new projects. It’s important for entrepreneurs to continuously develop new skills and maintain connections with others in their industry to stay up to date with the latest trends and techniques and to keep their business growing.

Overall, while becoming a design entrepreneur can offer many opportunities, it also requires hard work, dedication, consistent and clear communication skills and a willingness to continuously learn and adapt to new challenges.

Jennifer Linnane emphasizes the importance of confidence when it comes to freelancing, as you are essentially presenting yourself as an expert in your field highlighting your ability to partner with your client to deliver results. Additionally, resilience is necessary because not every day will go as planned. This highlights the need for adaptability and the ability to handle challenges and setbacks to succeed as a freelancer or design entrepreneur.

As the founder and principal of Interwoven Design Group, I have found that balancing innovation with practical business requirements and deadlines can be a challenge. Jen Linnane, who shares similar beliefs, argues that innovation and creativity can sometimes conflict with predictability, which is necessary for meeting business requirements, budgets, and deadlines. As a design entrepreneur, having both strong design skills and business acumen is essential for success. Achieving a balance between these two areas is crucial for running a thriving firm.

In summary, while becoming a design entrepreneur can offer many opportunities, it also requires hard work, dedication, consistent and clear communication skills, and a willingness to continuously learn and adapt to a new challenges. Freelancers and design entrepreneurs alike need confidence and resilience, and finding a balance between innovation and practical business requirements is essential for success.

The Hows

When doing researching for this article, the most common question asked by people who want to open their own firm ask is how to find new clients. The top answer from successful design entrepreneurs was networking. Isia Shiffer explains that 80% of her clients come from word of mouth and repeat business. Jeanette Numbers emphasizes the importance of building authentic connections with people to foster good business relationships and ultimately good projects and Nichole Roulliac expands her network by asking her contacts to connect her with their contacts. Most of the women entrepreneurs I spoke with spend on average 10-12 hours per week expanding their networks and fielding requests for info and proposals.

If you’re considering starting your own practice, this group has some great advice. Jeanette Numbers suggests surrounding yourself with a strong team and having faith in your team members. Brittany Gene advises investing in yourself and the tools you use every day. Nichole Roulliac stresses the importance of perseverance and staying true to yourself. Additionally, having a unique point of view and asking the “whys” rather than just the “hows” is important, according to Numbers.

However, even with a great support network and the right tools, burnout is a common issue among entrepreneurs. Isis Shiffer reminds us that it’s important to take breaks to recharge our brains, and Nichole Roulliac suggests being part of a strong network of allies who can support each other during difficult times.

Jeanette Numbers says “surround yourself with a strong team, have faith in your team members and Keep moving forward”.  Brittany Gene adds “invest in yourself and the tools you use every day. It’s so easy to pick a cheaper option when buying tools but it can be the costliest in the long run.”  supporting this adds Roulliac is to have perseverance and staying true to yourself.  And Numbers goes on to say it’s important to have a unique point of view and strong perseverance, that she thrives on asking the whys, not just the how’s. 

But even with setting up a great support network and investing in the right tools and equipment Shiffer adds that “Burnout is common, real, and avoidable.  A lot of entrepreneurs have the sense that if they aren’t always working, they’re somehow failing, but this isn’t the case at all. You need to let your brain recharge to be good at any job.”

Roulliac, “Industrial design is a rollercoaster. Like any service industry, from hospitality to retail, there will be a huge, overwhelming rush of work – then a silence while you await the next storm.” “One thing that will help you through is being part of a strong, genuine network of allies who can support one another when times are tough”

Your Future Awaits

So there you have it, folks! From Brooklyn, NY to San Francisco and places in between, these badass women are changing the game in industrial design. They’re not only creating innovative products and solutions, but they’re also challenging the traditional gender roles and expectations in the industry.

Whether you’re thinking of starting your own design studio or just looking to learn more about industrial design, take some inspiration from these women. Remember to network, invest in yourself and your tools, stay true to your unique point of view, and don’t forget to take breaks to recharge!

Who knows, maybe one day we’ll be reading about your success story and how you’ve helped to transform the world of industrial design. So grab your sketchbook, put on some tunes, and let’s get to work!

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Designs Created by AI

The Smart List is a monthly list of multi-media recommendations on everything design, curated by Interwoven Design. As a group of aesthetically obsessed designers, there are a lot of beautiful products, objects and events we love and enjoy. These recommendations make our daily lives special and inviting and we want to share them with you. This issue is a guide to Designs Created by AI!

The Smart List: Designs Created by AI

NASA’s new AI generated parts

NASA has submersed themselves in incorporating artificial intelligence, much like the kind we have all experimented with in creating images, text, and music based on human prompts. These one of a kind components, known as Evolved Structures, are now being integrated into space-bound equipment. This remarkable lineup includes astrophysics balloon observatories, Earth-atmosphere scanners, planetary instruments, and space telescopes. Designers, harnessing the power of CAD software such as Autodesk, nTopology, and Divergent3D, have been delving into the realm of generative capabilities for years. According to Ryan McClelland, a research engineer at NASA, these awe-inspiring structures, influenced by science fiction shows, have been meticulously generated using precise prompts. He further highlights that conventional manufacturing tools are typically not deemed capable of producing such unique parts. As McClelland aptly puts it, “Most people would simply find it hard to believe that these parts could be created through that process—until someone actually did it.”

via Fast Company

Sneakers designed with H.U.E. by DeepObjects and PUMA

Deep Objects began on a groundbreaking mission to develop an AI engine that relied heavily on human input. Operating covertly for nearly two years, the creative studio known as FTR has been at the forefront of this project. This “decentralized design studio” takes a million potential solutions and distills them into a singular outcome. Enter the Hueristic Unsupervised Entity (H.U.E.), an engine that has astoundingly showcased an array of sneaker variations. The creators elucidate that this tool serves as a means to explore, engage, and scrutinize technology in order to unleash creativity and advance the field of design. Deep Objects elaborates, stating, “Now, people and designers alike are actively and massively engaging with it, which holds immense power. At Deep Objects, our aim is to investigate how a more controlled and proactive relationship between designers, AI, and ‘consumers’ can yield extraordinary design objects.”


Paragraphica Text-to-Image Camera

Paragraphica, an innovative camera powered by artificial intelligence, has emerged as a remarkable creation. Devised by Bjørn Karmann, this lensless camera employs location data to provide users with real-time descriptions of their surroundings, which are then transformed into distinctive visual representations of the scenes. Equipped with buttons, the camera allows users to control the collection of surrounding data, including weather conditions and points of interest. These parameters grant users the ability to govern both the description and the resulting image. Karmann elaborates, stating, “Interestingly the photos do capture some reminiscent moods and emotions from the place but in an uncanny way, as the photos never really look exactly like where I am.”

via Designboom

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The Search for Sustainability

How New Materials are Shaping Industrial Design

In recent years, industrial designers have been challenged to find new materials that can meet the demands of today’s ever-changing world. With an emphasis on sustainability and functionality, the search for new materials has intensified, leading to innovative and inspiring discoveries that are changing the way products are designed, manufactured, and used. In this article, we will explore some of these new materials, including their functions and the impact they have on industrial design.

New Materials: An Introduction

New materials refer to the novel substances, composites, or combinations thereof, that possess properties and characteristics that make them suitable for use in the design and development of products. These materials may offer enhanced mechanical, electrical, thermal, or optical properties, as well as features such as biodegradability, sustainability, and reduced environmental impact. New materials may be developed through various approaches, such as advances in material science, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and additive manufacturing, and can lead to innovative products that address real-world challenges in industries ranging from healthcare to transportation to consumer goods. As such, new materials play a critical role in enabling product designers to create sustainable and high-performance products that meet the evolving needs of society.

The development of new materials has become essential in addressing environmental concerns and creating sustainable solutions in industrial design. One approach is to integrate living organisms into building materials, as seen in the bio-concrete tiles developed by Brigitte Kock and Irene Roca Moracia. These tiles are an innovative example of how new materials can address real-world issues by absorbing water and reducing urban heat island effects. On the other hand, bio-plastics offer an eco-friendly and biodegradable alternative to traditional plastics, significantly reducing plastic waste and its harmful impact on the environment. The use of these new materials demonstrates a shift towards a more sustainable approach to industrial design, leading to a greener and healthier future for our planet.


Bio-plastics are a category of materials that are derived from renewable resources and have gained popularity in recent years due to their sustainability and eco-friendliness. These materials are made from plant-based sources such as corn starch, potato starch, and sugarcane, which makes them biodegradable and environmentally friendly.

One of the most significant advantages of bio-plastics is that they can significantly reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills and oceans, which is one of the biggest environmental issues we face today. Unlike traditional plastics, which can take hundreds of years to degrade, bio-plastics are biodegradable and break down much faster, leaving behind fewer harmful residues.

In addition to their environmental benefits, bio-plastics also have numerous practical applications in industrial design. They can be used to create a wide range of products, including coffee cups, cutlery, and packaging materials. These products are not only more sustainable, but they also offer a range of unique features and properties, such as heat resistance, water resistance, and durability.

One example of footwear that uses bio-plastics is the “Futurecraft Loop” sneaker, developed by Adidas. The sneaker’s upper is made from 100% reusable thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), which is a type of bio-plastic derived from natural materials like corn and castor beans. The unique design of the sneaker allows it to be easily disassembled and recycled, with the recycled TPU being used to create new shoes. This innovative approach to design and materials creates a closed-loop system that minimizes waste and reduces the environmental impact of the footwear industry.

Overall, the impact of bio-plastics on the environment and industrial design is significant, and they represent a promising solution to the plastic waste problem. By using bio-plastics in their designs, industrial designers can create products that are both functional and sustainable, contributing to a more eco-friendly future.

Natural Fiber Welding: A New Material

Natural Fiber Welding is a technology that uses plant-based materials, such as cotton and flax, to create new sustainable alternatives to traditional synthetic materials like plastic and leather. The company behind this technology has developed a patented process that transforms natural fibers into a durable, flexible, and customizable material that can be used in a wide range of applications, including furniture, apparel, and automotive products.

The process involves using enzymes and natural chemistry to break down the plant fibers into their basic components, which are then reassembled into a new material that has similar properties to leather or synthetic fabrics. The resulting material is biodegradable, non-toxic, and more sustainable than traditional materials, as it requires fewer resources to produce and has a lower environmental impact.

One example of a product that uses Natural Fiber Welding is the “Mirage” chair by the furniture company Steelcase. The chair features a unique backrest and seat made from the company’s patented plant-based material, which is created using Natural Fiber Welding technology.

The material used in the chair is made from natural fibers like flax and cotton, which are processed using enzymes and natural chemistry to create a material that is both durable and flexible. The resulting material has a similar look and feel to leather but is much more sustainable and ethical, as it is biodegradable, non-toxic, and requires fewer resources to produce.

The Mirage chair is an excellent example of how Natural Fiber Welding can be used to create innovative and sustainable products that meet the needs of today’s consumers while minimizing the environmental impact of the manufacturing process.

Sustainability: Sourcing New Materials

One of the biggest challenges that industrial designers face when sourcing new materials is sustainability. With an emphasis on creating a more sustainable future, it is important that new materials are sourced responsibly and ethically. This includes ensuring that materials are not harmful to the environment or contribute to deforestation, pollution, or exploitation.

To overcome these hurdles, designers can use databases that provide information about the sustainability of materials. These databases can be found online and offer information about the environmental impact of materials, including their carbon footprint, water usage, and more. By using these databases, designers can make informed decisions about the materials they use, ensuring that they are sustainable and ethical.

Here are three databases where you can find information about new materials:

  1. Materials Project: This is a database that provides information on the physical and chemical properties of materials. It includes data on more than 100,000 materials and is free to use for academic and research purposes.
  2. MatWeb: This is a searchable database of materials and their properties. It includes data on metals, plastics, ceramics, and other materials, and is used by engineers, designers, and researchers to find materials that meet specific requirements.
  3. SciFinder: This is a database that provides access to a vast collection of scientific research, including information on new materials. It includes data on materials science, engineering, chemistry, and other related fields, and is used by scientists, researchers, and engineers to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in their fields.

In addition to databases, designers can also work with suppliers and manufacturers who prioritize sustainability. This includes sourcing materials from local or ethical sources, using renewable energy, and reducing waste and emissions. By working with these suppliers, designers can ensure that their materials are sustainable and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Getting Materials in House: Ordering and Cost

Another challenge that industrial designers face when sourcing new materials is getting materials in house to prototype and cost. This can be difficult, as many new materials are not readily available or can be expensive to source.

To overcome these hurdles, designers can work with suppliers who offer samples or small quantities of materials. This allows designers to test and prototype their designs

without committing to large quantities of expensive materials. Designers can also work with manufacturers who offer custom material development services, allowing them to create materials that meet their specific needs and requirements.

When it comes to cost, designers can explore alternative materials or look for ways to optimize their design to reduce material usage. For example, using lightweight materials can reduce transportation costs and lower the carbon footprint of the product. Designers can also explore ways to use recycled materials or incorporate waste materials into their designs, reducing the overall cost and environmental impact.


In conclusion, the search for new materials is an essential part of industrial design. New materials offer unique properties and features that can improve product performance, aesthetics, and sustainability. Bio-concrete tiles, bio-plastics, and natural fiber are just a few examples of new materials that are changing the way products are designed and manufactured.

To overcome the challenges of sourcing and using new materials, designers can use databases, work with sustainable suppliers and manufacturers, and explore alternative materials or design optimization. By embracing new materials and sustainable practices, designers can create products that are both functional and environmentally responsible, contributing to a more sustainable future.

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