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Designers to Watch

July 28, 2016

We here at i+s have had the honor of meeting so many wonderful and talented designers over the years, and now we’d like to return the favor. Every month we will be introducing design students and recent alumni recognized for going above and beyond.

For the last six years, the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) has held Metaproject—an annual industrial design senior studio project. Run by Josh Owen, professor and Industrial Design Department Chair in RIT’s School of Design, the semester-long course gives fourth year senior students the ability to work with clients to provide them with the opportunity to design real-world products.

This year, RIT partnered with Poppin, challenging the students to design accessories for Poppin’s furniture, whether to accent, improve, or add to an existing product. Of the 22 students who participated, four final winners were named: Brendan Babiarz, Tristan Cannan, Veronica Lin, and Koby Trout.

Babiarz’s Branch Accessory Holder uses simple attaching mechanisms to increase storage capacity at a desk by utilizing vertical space. Both Cannan’s Booster Desk and Trout’s Lap Topper take the open and ever-changing office into consideration by creating tabletop additions which facilitate movement in a simplistic form. Lin’s Foot Pebble creates a new and innovative solution to ergonomic issues occurring in the work place in a fun, creative new form.

Of the winners, the judges—Professor Josh Owen along with Poppin rock stars Francesca Pezze, product designer; Jeff Miller, vice president of Design; and David Branham, director of Merchandising—said each displayed sophistication that would fit seamlessly into Poppin’s existing collections. “The strengths of each individual winner was that they were well thought out, refined concepts with polished prototypes,” Pezze said.

“It should be said that while some of the winners were chosen for their coherent project process, and refinement brought to the final concepts, still many useful and pertinent ideas abounded in a majority of the projects that Poppin will actively mine for future product development,” Miller added.

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