Twenty-five graduate students spent a year researching and designing objects within the topics of identity, connection, health and sustainability. Scroll down to learn more about each category and browse projects within them or click here to view all projects.


Design can be used to communicate identity, but it can also build identity through its languages of communication. While these projects touch vastly different subjects--the visual language of cities, the biochemical reactions between living organisms, the interplay between private and public spaces, memory, and childhood--each has explored in some way the subject of identity and how it is constructed, expanded, mediated, and disassembled through objects and spaces. Design can create new conversations about identity, and can improve the functions of our cities, our memories, and even our biology.


Designing a thing includes many choices from sourcing its materials, manufacturing it, to choosing how it will end. All these choices are defining the product's relationship to the planet and how it will participate with the societies and environments it will live in. These projects interrogate the materials and systems of our industrialized world ranging from reclaiming waste materials, reducing food waste, creating new objects with ecological and beneficial materials, to creating more efficient programs of recycling.  Design can propose a sustainable present through critical questions and research, and offer the world alternative ways of living with what we already have for the benefit of our societies and planet.


Design can inform our relationship with our mind and bodies. These projects work through themes of anxiety, equity, gender, food, and exercise to create new relationships of care between humans and objects, in pursuit of wellbeing. From accessible exercise equipment to waiting room companions, design can intervene and assist us all in nuanced ways as we navigate our worlds physically, mentally, and spiritually.


In our ever evolving world, and especially in the current crisis, it can be difficult to feel our link with others. However, connection is part of what makes us human, allowing us to feel understood and to understand the people and world all around us. Connecting across time, stigma, space, and knowledge, projects in this category explore how objects can enhance the human connection through public spaces, cardboard, collaboration, smartphones, scent, and even microbes. Design can build bridges by strengthening and celebrating our interdependence.

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