In May 2022, a group of App State faculty and students traveled to New York to participate in the Design Schools Workshop hosted by WantedDesign. App State student Oliver Dunkin was a member of the team that made the winning project at the workshop.
"Each day I was delighted to see tremendous growth from the teams and individuals," said Michael Rall, Associate Professor and Assistant Chair of the Department of Applied Design. "The comradery and relationships that were built during this event will carry the participants into a successful start to their careers. I was honored to lead the workshop with Donald Corey and look forward to seeing what is next for the participants and WantedDesign."
Rall and Donald Corey, Professor and Industrial Design Program Director, led this year's workshop, which took an extensive amount of planning. This year's workshop explored the theme of "NEW RITUALS: Reconnecting, revitalizing, and refocusing through ceremony and artifact." The goal of the workshop was for teams of students to create a ceremony or ritual, something that is tangible and repeatable, to readjust to the paradigm of this "new" world since the pandemic began.
"They set out to create a new ritual that looked at ways that we could, and they could, re-establish reassess, revitalize, and bring back some enjoyment in their daily lives," Rall said.
As part of the workshop, students from Appalachian State joined others from around the world to create new design projects. Other schools involved included Center College of Design (USA), Centro (Mexico), Escuela de Comunicación Mónica Herrera (El Salvador), Pratt Institute (USA), and Tecnológico de Monterrey (Mexico).
Students were split into three-person teams that were divided between the schools, so no student was on a team with people they knew. Because this was a five-day workshop, students had to work quickly to design a project. They needed to introduce themselves to their new teammates, do research, create a concept, and make a prototype within a five-day period.
"The beauty of the workshop, regardless of the individual outcomes, was the shared experience, growth and understanding that I feel was achieved by the students and us the leaders," Corey said. "I feel I probably gained more understanding about myself and my rituals, their benefits, and the importance of evaluating my self-care than I ever expected."
In the end, the project "Altibajos" was awarded as the Workshop Winner, and App State student Oliver Dunkin was part of the winning team. Dunkin was joined by Nadine Torres (Escuela de Comunicación Mónica Herrera) and Andrea González (Tecnológico de Monterrey).
"It was a really awesome moment," Dunkin said. "I had such a great time, and my teammates were great, Andrea and Nadine, and I'm super grateful for the experience. Also, the Dean, Dean Campbell, was there to watch the presentation, and our chair of the department Brian Davies, and it was just great to represent App State in the competition."
The project Altibajos was awarded as the Workshop Winner.
The winning project was called "Altibajos," which is the Spanish word for "ups-and-downs." This project a response to the lack of interaction that humanity experienced because of the pandemic.
The project resulted in the creation of an object designed to be a central meeting space for a weekly ritual. Within this ceremony, people sit together at a table to write on paper their highs and low each week, which they then discuss as a group. When group members are done reading their reflections, the paper is burned within the central ceramic object in a cleansing ritual.
Rall and Corey led the workshop but did not judge the projects. Projects were judged by a team of design leaders including Allan Chochinov (Editor-at-Large of Core77 and Founding Chair of SVA NYC MFA Products of Design), Anna Horvath (Founder of AHA Objects), Hanna Anonen (Finnish designer), Jean-Jacques L'henaff (Leader at Lixil Global Design, Americas), and Victoria Milne (Principal of 6¢ design!).
The WantedDesign Schools Workshop winners present their design concept to the judges. (Photo credit: AppTV)