5 Outstanding SVA MFA Projects in the Products of Design Program

For a program that bills itself as “an MFA that teaches you everything from industrial design to interaction design, from service design to social innovation design, and from corporate design to design and climate,” projects from (now 10 years old) MFA in Design Products SVA department in New York kept its promises. We’ve selected 5 outstanding projects from the program to showcase, ranging from systems-based platforms to products of pure joy. Check them out below!

Kuddle: the phone charger that requires 2 phones

“If only one partner puts their phone down, the device will not charge. As a metaphor for a relationship, the phones will only charge if both are close together on the docking station. “

Kuddle is a wireless phone charger that encourages couples to spend more time communicating face to face. Designed by graduate Crystal Ching Yi Lo, the ingenious docking station only charges when two phones are placed side by side. In her research, she found that “simply having a phone off and present during a conversation (on the table between a couple, for example) interferes with the sense of connection and feelings of closeness experienced.” Kuddle approaches this with charm and humor.

For his thesis project, Ted Scoufis created firelink—an information management ecosystem for firefighters “that focuses on the 4.5 hours between receiving the call from the dispatcher and arriving on the scene”. The system provides firefighters with real-time insight into the conditions of the building they are working in, as well as data entered by FDY firefighters. This data is collected and then delivered via two main modes: the command center tablet app and a helmet-mounted augmented reality head-up display.

MoMA partnership: roller coaster

Each year, MFA Products of Design students receive a partnership with the Wholesale division of the Museum of Modern Art— create products for eventual manufacturing and inclusion in their wholesale line and catalog. One of the recent products resulting from this partnership is “Russian mountains“-playful silicone coasters that” turn condensation droplets from your drink into balls in a maze. “Available for purchase on the The MoMA Store website here.

Frie Menstrual Blood Plant Fertilizer

Designed by the Class of 2020 Pantea Parsa, Free is a speculative object in the form of a container for watering and fertilizing plants, using a mixture of water and menstrual blood. “Blood is commonly used as a plant fertilizer because it contains three essential plant nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.” Pantea offers. “However, Frei nurtures the plants and also aims to nurture a woman’s relationship with her intimate partner. Blood is only a mediator. Women remind their partners of the shared responsibility of procreation by offering Frei and giving them their menstrual blood every month.

Designed by Karan Mahendra Bansal, Hiatus is an iOS feature that boosts work/life balance by “subverting productivity and injecting gaming into your work phones outside of work hours.” The app is smart and almost sneaky: once activated, Hiatus “replaces quantitative interfaces with ones focused on qualitative fun, hiding ‘productivity apps’ in the App Library and replacing them with fun equivalents”. In the demo below, you can see that Zoom is replaced by HouseParty, Mail is replaced by Yo, Stocks is replaced by Breathe, and Trello is replaced by solitaire.

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You can read more about SVA’s MFA in Design Products on their websiteas well as consult the composition of courses, Facultyand recent news and projects.

Attend upcoming SVA Products of Design Open House events to learn more about the MFA program and meet current faculty and students. The open house will take place on November 11 and December 9, Register now.

Abdul J. Gaspar