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SB Design Internships 2011 Recap

For SB’11 I partnered with students from San Francisco State University and California College of the Arts to bring attendees their own versions of Sustainable Design. They earned class credit, a full conference pass and hopefully some learning experience, see if you recognize any of the pieces:

Sustainable Brands Podium

Andy Perkins' podium in use at SB11Andy Perkins, Furniture Designer, Graduated from CCA June 2011
Andy put this piece using reclaimed pieces of maple, environmentally friendly polish and glue. Part of the brief was to create a podium that speaker’s couldn’t hide behind to force them into being bold and expressive.
In Andy’s own words, “The idea of seeing the forest through the trees informed the creation of the new SB podium. Titled "elevate", the podium strives to create an experience of gazing above the grass toward the horizon. Made entirely of reclaimed maple, this piece hopes to convey the beauty of sustainable design.”
Find out more about Andy and his work by visiting


Tony the designer stood in front of the WasteCase at SB11Anthony Michaiel, Design Engineer, Senior at SFSU
I have this idea that the way our trash cans are designed are a big part of our waste problem. We symbolically throw trash away into these dark, often lidded containers and can instantly forget about it. What if our waste bins were rethought in the same way as trophy cases? In effect turning the trash can inside-out. You’d immediately be reconnected visually with the waste you generate and perhaps find opportunities to reuse pieces or avoid creating more. After my rambling Tony took his own take on what a “Wastecase” could be.
In Tony’s own words, “The Waste-Case is a fun and interactive way to manage waste with like materials. Each compartment stores a distinct waste material prior to disposal. This eases the post consumer waste process while encouraging users to engage in the process itself. The goal was to develop an aesthetic yet functional installation in order to reverse total detachment of waste. The Waste-Case is made out of recycled materials and is also compost friendly!”
Find out more about Tony and his work by visiting

Recycled Bicycle Rack

Steven Barcikowski, Product Designer, SFSU
In the first two weeks I had asked the designers to generate ideas. Steven came back with a brilliant idea to turn discarded, unusable bicycles into a public bike rack and to be even more ambitious he wanted it to be able to have some dynamic, moveable element. It was an exciting idea that required Steven to learn metal work and welding to put together an excellent piece that we were able to attach Specialized bikes to in the conference entrance.
In Steven’s own words, “The Recycled Bicycle Rack is a playful and easy way for people to lock up their bikes in order to keep them safe. For this project four abandoned bicycle frames were found around the city of San Francisco and repurposed as fully functioning bike rack. The main focus of this project was to give these bikes a second life and still maintain a functional purpose. The rack is made entirely out of parts from bicycle frames, so it is a completely sustainable design. In order to incorporate the theme of "play" in the project, the frames are designed to rotate and move side to side allowing the user an easy and fun way to lock up their bicycles.”

Elephant in the Room and Fashion Design

Ariel's fashion design using reclaimed bottle caps at SB11Ariel Johnson-Carroll, Apparel Designer, SFSU
Ariel is very passionate about sustainable fashion designer. She brought many ideas to the internship and executed on 3! Ariel reclaimed clothes, tore them into strips and created a huge elephant rug. She also collected bottle caps, painted them to use in a dress she designed and stitched together. On top of all of this she reached out to sustainable fashion designers who donated their own pieces to display at the conference. A huge amount of work, delivered to a very high standard.
In Ariel’s own words, “The textile industry is the second largest import and export business in the entire world. Your clothes, bags, drapes, towels and even lanyards are made from textiles. Your sheets, furniture and scarves are too. So far, the amount of textile waste going to the landfill is equal to 100% because we have yet to find a sustainable enough way to diverge the line of waste away from the landfills. There are many textile recycling companies out there, but not enough to handle the 13 million tons generated each year. This number has grown 4 tons in the past decade, so this is our Elephant in the Room; our unmanageable and widely observed problem. This “elephant” of a problem is starting to get too big to handle and the more people notice it, the better. Spread the word.”
Ariel is also an excellent writer, you can follow her on

SB Lightbox

SB11 stage with Previn's light glowing beneath the screenPrevin Chee, Industrial Designer, SFSU
Previn’s project had quite the journey, to his credit Previn made the best of each obstacle put in his way. Initially Previn developed several ideas based on the Fun Theory ads. He found a few ways to make recycling more fun taking inspiration from traditional carnival games. They were all exciting and feasible but were ruled out by health and safety concerns (apparently catapulting waste across the expo room had risks!). Previn simplified his ideas but was dealt a huge blow a mere few weeks out from the conference by the conference center not accepting the feasibility of the concept. He had already made a large CNC cut SB logo into acrylic so with a bit of brainstorming we decided he could turn the sheet into a lightbox for the stage. Under extreme pressure Previn delivered a piece of stage kit we can use for years to come.

SB Scavenger Hunt Token Collector

Melissa de Mata, Graphic Designer & Photographer, SFSU
Melissa is a talented photographer and graphic designer who is interested in interactivity. The Scavenger Hunt was an excellent opportunity for her to show her skills. Under a constantly changing brief she managed to develop an elegant way of turning a single sheet of paper into a token collector with a few cleverly chosen folds and no glue. Melissa showed grit as well as talent to then fold 80 of her design for our attendees to use.
You can see more of Melissa’s work on her online portfolio

I met the students for an hour every two weeks in groups so that they could see how their peers were progressing, help and inspire each other too. I asked them to blog post about their progress and any examples of sustainable design they found along the way. You can see how this unfolded at

I thoroughly enjoyed working with the designers collectively and as individuals. They proved that young design talent is an untapped resource. If you know any young designers who might be interested in participating email me anytime.

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