Students Illuminate Performance Space with Innovative Designs Jan. 29

Philadelphia University’s Industrial Design (ID) Program presented designs from the sixth-annual student “Sprint” Challenge in The Kanbar Campus Center Jan. 29.

The challenge, which ran from Jan. 24 through 29, charged students to work collaboratively on designing and marketing lighting devices to be judged by industry professionals, University faculty and alumni.

013008feature_id0.jpg“It gives students the opportunity to gain experience in designing under real-world constraints, such as limited time and resources,” said Mike Leonard, School of Design and Media adjunct faculty member, who coordinates the competition each year.  “It’s also a great way for the students to learn what it’s like to work as a team, and to get acquainted with their peers and professors.”

Twenty-eight teams, consisting of more than 100 first- through fourth-year ID students and 30 junior-level Fashion Merchandising (FM) students, worked tirelessly for six days to deliver functional models and visual presentations in time for the Jan. 29 judging.  They defended their creations before a panel of judges that included Guido Buratto, CEO of lighting company Artemide USA; Dennis Foster, Artemide USA; Bryce Beamer, ID resource manager; Meriem Chida, director and assistant professor of FM; Tod Corlett, associate professor of ID; Susan Hersch ’07, ID; Dennis Kuronen, interim dean of the School of Design and Media; Jason Lempieri, School of Design and Media adjunct faculty member; Josh Owen, Craig R. Benson chair for Innovation, associate professor of ID and academic coordinator of ID Study Abroad Program in Milan, Italy; Ken Root, School of Design and Media adjunct faculty member; Justin Siebel ’07, ID; Götz Unger, director and associate professor of ID; and Hy Zelkowitz, School of Design and Media adjunct faculty member.

“The project was extremely challenging and rewarding.  It’s amazing what you can do when you push yourself,” said ID junior Jessica Tarlecki (pictured above with teammate Zachary Asher ’10, ID), who served as manager for her team, which won one of three competition prizes for their ambient-mood light called Foletta.  Inspired by the light cast by a firefly, Foletta provides light in response to human gestures.  “We programmed it with gesture language similar to that utilized by Apple’s iPhone,” she noted.

Each of the three winning teams were awarded Artemide clip-on task lights for their innovative designs and compelling business proposals.  They include: Team Foletta (Kenneth Downie ’11, ID; Samuel Gensburg ’08, ID; Amanda Spector ’10, FM; Tarlecki and Asher); Team Step Ahead (Rocco Avallone ’09, ID; Timothy Brown ’09, ID; David Lang ’11, ID; Ronald McIntyre ’10, ID; and Erin Weisman ’10, FM), which designed a solar-charged, outdoor-lighting system for use along paths and walkways that turns on and off according to footsteps; and Team Uluminate (Gary Bugno ’08, ID; Michael Goodwin ’09, ID; Elaine Mak ’08, Management; John Modestine ’11, ID; and Lorrayne Porrecca-Donato ’11, ID), which produced a remote-controlled, LED-lighting system for large spaces that only illuminates areas of a room when needed.

Documenting the entire design process were Graphic Design Communication seniors Michael Altmann, Sandra Burke and Kathryn Stracquatanio, who snapped photos throughout the competition for a publication that will illustrate the students’ collaboration.

After the winners were named, Mr. Buratto announced a second competition that would enable ID and FM juniors to enhance their lighting projects by applying the design and business skills they gained in the Sprint Challenge.  With guidance from Mr. Buratto, the students will develop working prototypes and marketing plans during the spring semester for Artemide’s Rezek product line.

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