At times of radical change and uncertainty, the RCA IDE designers of the future are responding with a wide array of thoughtful improvements to the way we live. I was fortunate to take part and work with a great team and students at IDE this year. The RCA and Imperial College joint program is a pioneering design and science hybrid that enables a unique new design workflow.
It has been wonderful to see students using rich conceptual and technological approaches. The work this year has touched on nearly every element of our way of life in the current urban landscape. This includes designing new services to improve living while coping with mental health challenges, coming up
with alternative sources of energy, connecting physical with virtual working environments, while proposing new ‘slim’ industrial aesthetics.
The materials IDE students have been working with, reflect the fast changes in the reality we live in. We can see narratives of hope and narratives of dystopia operating side by side. The ability to understand and use chemistry and biology, together with elements of data and computer science, is bringing a new colour and richness to design processes and strategies.
As we move forward together in time, the designer’s toolbox and array of responsibilities grows. While the understanding and embodiment of science into the design process brings great opportunities and efficiencies, the invaluable elements of playfulness, elegance and aesthetics remain at the heart of the universal design language.
Assa Ashuach is a director of Assa Studio Limited and a co-founder of Digital Forming® Limited. Assa is a former leader of the MA design suite at the CASS school of Art, Design & Architecture and is currently a visiting lecturer at Central St Martins school of industrial design, Bartlett school of architecture and the Royal College of Art in London.
Assa Studio ltd works closely with large multinational design firm’s innovation teams, such as Nike, Samsung, Panasonic, Amazon and Target and others, to research and develop new territories and unexplored briefs. The studio is focused on product design, innovation, and the development of new industrial methodologies within 3D digital design and hybrid manufacturing. In the center of the studio’s developments is the digital object as a file, open for users’ input. It is about the virtual 'life' of an object before it is physically produced.
Assa has been at the forefront of exploring the creative potential of additive manufacturing since 2003 with the launch of some of the world’s first mass market 3D print products. His designs are integrating sensors and AI with bio-inspired mechanisms and forms. Assa has founded the Digital Forming® co-design technology, a 3D software powered by AM (3D Printing) urban manufacturing network. Assa's latest work has been in collaboration with macromolecular and biomaterial scientists and resulted in new 3D autonomous design methodologies, demonstrating radical manufacturing efficiencies.