One of the most interesting facts at the Master of Industrial Design (MID) from Pratt Institute in New York is been able to receive each year professionals who mostly come from other fields of knowledge. Candidates for the Master from all over the world, about 300 a year, run for a three years experience here in Brooklyn. Professionals with degree not only in architecture, engineering or visual communication, but also in disciplines such as biology and anthropology, compose up the small group of 26 students selected.

Aslı Özcivelek is a young turkish designer based here in Brooklyn. She has recently graduated from the Master of Industrial Design program at Pratt Institute, NY. Prior to starting her masters, she studied Graphic Design at Bilkent University in Ankara.

We approach Aslı to know about her work and experience.

Transforma is a packaging that transforms and functions as a t-shirt package as well as a hanger. It is made from a moulded paper pulp.

Why Industrial Design after been involved and studied Graphic Design?

Growing up I always knew I wanted to do something creative. At the time that I was starting college, Industrial Design wasn’t something I was too familiar with, so I started studying Graphic Design. As much as I liked to do design work, the two-dimensional nature of Graphic Design felt limiting to me and I also wanted to use design to have a more functional meaning in people’s lives which is when I discovered Industrial Design and thought that it had none of the limitations of Graphic Design and provided me with a great platform to achieve what I wanted.

Additionally, doing Industrial Design after having Graphic Design in my back pocket allowed me to complete the picture and have a full overview of all the components that compose the design of a product from the product to itself to its logo and branding.

Henry is a light that houses bioluminescent bacteria called: Dinoflagellates. These bacteria emit light as a result of a chemical reaction when they are shaken, touched or disturbed. They acquire their energy through photosynthesis. So Henry is a light that houses these bacteria and gives you light in an emergency situation.

How was the experience doing the MID at Pratt?

I learned so much during the time I was at Pratt. Especially because I was entering into a new field, even though I knew a lot about design, I still had to learn a lot of new things from scratch that pertained to Industrial Design.

It was a very busy few years and most of it was extremely hands on, which was something very knew to me but I think having that physical exposure to materials and processes made me a better and more well-informed designer.

We had exposure to a good variety of things so there was a lot of fields to conquer and get good at simultaneously. That, I think is the challenge with Industrial Design in general. Pratt is a very traditional school in a lot of ways and I think going through that thought process helped us have a better foundation, however looking back I would have liked to have a better transition to the needs of the professional work environment once the foundation was built.

The Adaptation Barstool is a barstool that has evolved to become a better adapted species to exist in a bar environment. Just like species that adapt to their environments in nature, the barstool has incorporated new feature to accommodate more.

What are the major differences you see doing Industrial Design here in NY from the field in Turkey?

One of the biggest differences is the work flow. Everything happens a lot faster in Turkey and products are introduced into the market very rapidly. The range of the field is also more traditional and limited, for example if you’re an Industrial Designer in Turkey, you will most likely be designing appliances or maybe furniture. There isn’t a lot of funding for research and development, which I think is the missing component from the process that the States spends a lot of time and money for.

In NY, there are a myriad of companies that incorporate research and innovation into their design process and make that an essential part of how things are made. However, because this process takes much longer and the companies can’t get immediate value out of it, it is hard to implement this work flow in Turkey. In contrast, Turkey is a country with a very unique sense of aesthetics. We have a long history of expertise in a lot of crafts and manufacturing methods. Therefore, some of the works that are produced in Turkey are much more cultural and intricate.

Calie, Soft Prototypes. Urban backpack developed in a class project.

Is what you doing now you expected to be doing as an industrial designer?

Industrial Design is such a broad field that even during our education, there were a lot of different paths to go down in. Now as a professional designer, I can say that I have been doing what I thought I would be doing as an Industrial Designer. I have been working in design consultancies where I get to be involved in the research, ideation, sketching, designing and presenting phase of a project.

I like that being involved in all of those different phases allows me to use my Graphic Design background as well. What I like about working in consultancies is the variety of the projects that I get to work on and how different one project is from the next.

Dream, Digital Collage 2009. A series images to illustrate the concept of dream.

How do you see yourself doing in the next 5 years, what kind of products or industrial you envision yourself?

What I have been doing so far has been what I expected to do. Therefore, in the next 5 years I would expect to keep improving myself in this direction and get better at what I’m doing. What is missing a little bit from my current work experience is the in depth knowledge of manufacturing processes and knowing how to design for manufacture for multiple processes. This was something that was missing from our education and I think as designers, it is a very essential components because when you’re just thinking with a pen and a paper your designs can go anywhere.

However, when you have to answer the question of how that design is going to be made, you have to really know your materials and the manufacturing process that goes with that material in order to design realistic and feasible products. The other thing that I would be interested in exploring would be to get an opportunity to work on some social impact design projects.


Aslı Özcivelek