It's no coincidence that Interior Design brought the 2019 edition of Giants of Design to Savannah, Georgia. The city has a connection to both historical architecture and rapidly-developing design technologies, thanks to SCAD. Described by the university's president and founder, Paula Wallace as, "somewhere between heaven and Hogwarts," SCAD gives its students countless opportunities to master the boundary-pushing technologies that admittedly almost seem magical and are actively shaping the future of design.
At Giants, SCAD in turn gave the designers a chance to become more familiar with the technological skill sets that students entering the workforce can contribute to their firms. SCAD professor and president of Emmy award-winning creative studio Magika, Teri Yarbrow, presented to the Giants how SCAD's mastery of augmented, virtual, and mixed reality technologies prepares architecture and design students to excel in these fields.
The Giants were also introduced to SCADPro, an "innovation studio" powered by standout SCAD students and leading professors. Best described as a conceptual design studio, SCADPro connects industry titans such as BMW, General Electric, and Microsoft with faculty-led student teams to deliver solutions to pressing design problems. Josh Lind, the studio's executive director of strategic enterprises, spoke to the Giants about the studio's deliverables and how they bolster the students' project management skills.
"Everything that SCAD does is about getting our talented students prepared for their creative professions," said Lind. "These brands are coming [to SCADPro] for vision. They're trying to see what's next, not only with talent, but also their companies. The world and industry change quickly, and when you know so much about your field, it's sometimes hard to shift and understand what's next."
Lind continued, "Who is the next consumer? What are they all about? What do they think about and believe in? Something that we love is pairing these industry-leaders with these future leaders, our students. They want what the other has: The students are looking for experience and the brands are looking for freshness, new ideas."
Among the students Lind brought before the Giants to present on their SCADPro projects was Caroline Pavlov. Pavlov is a senior equestrian studies major at SCAD, and she was part of a small team that worked with Clayco to reduce construction site deaths by redesigning Clayco's hard hat.
"The hard hat really hadn't changed much in the past 50 years. It was the same design, the same materials, and it needed to be updated," said Pavlov. She went on to detail the student team's intense research methods in preparation for the project. "In 2016 there were almost 1,000 construction site deaths due to head injuries. Amongst this, we found another interesting fact: 90 percent of all jobsite head injuries were due to workers choosing to remove their hard hats, not because of failure of the product itself. This shifted our focus. We didn't necessarily need to revolutionize the hard hat; we just needed to make people want to keep it on their heads."
The deliverable for Clayco was three styles of hard hat designed with both comfort and safety in mind. The designs, which have been prototyped, will be brought to market this fall.
Students had other opportunities to present their skills to the Giants; during a coffee break, SCAD's top interior design students used iPads to present interactive portfolios to the designers. "It's a spectacular opportunity to connect with the designers here, said Scot McMaster, an interior design and photography fellow who had the opportunity to present his work. "Not only are we able to introduce what we're doing to the designers, but they're also able to see what our world looks like."