“We need designers to bridge people and technology more so than ever before.” According to Industrial Design Engineering (IDE) Dean Ena Voûte. To highlight this point, the faculty hosted its open house day, ’Design for our Future’ on September 13.
The open house featured range of speakers and innovative designs. It allowed the faculty the chance to roll out its new concept and its new ‘Delft Design Guide’, which is ‘a tool kit; a must-have for designers’, according to Voûte. The fruits of this tool kit, the ‘Delft Method’ of design, surrounded visitors including a smart bike, a system for curing sleep apnea, an E-quarium, a specially designed gymnastics leotard, a device for learning laparoscopic procedures, and even cookies were on hand.
At the morning’s Symposium Delft Inspired Design, designer after designer stepped forward to explain the thinking behind their products. Taco Carlier, founder of Vanmoof commuter bicycles, said that the idea behind his company is ‘that urban commuting by bike solves problems’ including traffic and pollution. The company’s goal is to further encourage this problem-solving effect by offering cyclists a more streamlined urban bicycle that incorporates a simple, endurable design with integrated lights and locks. They did so through their ‘focus on design and innovation’, he added.
Erik Tempelman, Associate Professor Reliability & Durability at the faculty, underscored the notion of improvement through design. “We need products that make life better,” he said. The process of dreaming up such products must keep in mind the daily reality of a given material or design. “It has to feel right,” Tempelman added, “it’s not just about the engineering; it’s about the subjectivity of touch.”
The day’s speakers also explained the field behind the products. Nightbalance founder Eline van Beest said that designers are ‘a unique kind of species’, one that needs to know a little bit about a lot of things. Remco Timmer, Design Manager at Philips Design, agreed adding that empathy facilitates a designer’s work, while Maria Sääskjärvi, Associate Professor of Consumer Behaviour said that unlike designers, consumers often reject new, radical products. The designer’s role, she added, is to serve as a bridge between old and new.
Being the bridges they are, the university’s designers succeeded in reaching the wider university community with their open house. “The positive reactions we got for our faculty outnumbered my happiest dreams,” said Voûte.