Stand-out Students: 7 Graduate Projects That Point the Way Future

These students are traversing disciplinary boundaries, and stepping out of the cocooned world of the design school to take on some heavy challenges.

We picked seven absolutely stellar graduating projects from design schools around the world for the round-up in our July/August issue, but we found many more that were equally worthy of our attention. Graduate students in industrial design, architecture, and communication design are traversing disciplinary boundaries, and stepping out of the cocooned world of the design school to take on some heavy challenges.

Here are some more nuanced, fully resolved prototypes and concepts, in various shapes and sizes, and designed for very diverse situations and communities, but with one thing in common—they’re ambitious, and they’re ready to be implemented.

Leen Sadder,
MFA Design, School of Visual Arts, New York
How to get women in Lebanon to talk to each other about health and sexuality, freely and confidentially? Use the metaphor of a ladies room. Beinetna (meaning “between us” in Arabic) is a Beirut-based youth initiative, a private online platform where girls can ask a simple question, and spark off an anonymous conversation.

Dafi Reis Doron,
MA Design Products, Royal College of Art, London
Doron’s stools may look upholstered, but they are actually solid blocks that have been cut using a CNC machine. Doron puts together layers of leather and wood veneer, and then cuts through the layers to reveal patterned surfaces that are a combination of the materials, providing a new way of applying materials in furniture.

Cameron Zotter,
MFA Design, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore

With a website, and a book of 30 small projects, Zotter demonstrates the application of hacking to graphic design—he calls it the intersection of “art, design, technology, and misuse”—suggesting subversive prompts and tools for creativity.


Greg Hittler,
M. Arch, Parsons The New School for Design, New York
In recent years, there has been a steady increase in both diabetes and obesity in the Bronx. Hittler hopes to reverse this trend with a public space and urban farm adjacent to a high school in the South Bronx, creating a new network of food and retail in the area.

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Sunny Babbar,
MFA Design, California College of the Arts, San Francisco
Urban bicyclists often have to be rigged out like warriors—shielded against the weather, prepared for an encounter with other moving traffic, and armed with a dozen products. Babbar’s line of products offer wearable, transformable, and stylish solutions for the professional male who likes to pedal to work.

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Carla Jaspers,
Masters in Industrial Design, Pratt Institute, New York
Jasper, a former occupational therapist, developed this adaptable product around the idea that all of us need some form of support throughout our lives. Mainframe can be used as a stroller, or with a shopping cart attachment, so when the time comes for it to be used as a walker, we can feel less stigmatized and more confident.


Thomas Maincent
M. Des., Contextual Design, Design Academy Eindhoven
The Chinese developed methods to cultivate worms for silk centuries ago, but spider silk—five times stronger than steel at the same thickness—remains under-utilized. Maincent hopes to rectify this with his spider farm, which mimics the natural settings in which Madagascar silk spiders live, and allows humans to harvest their silk.

Categories: Design, Design Education