Design Field Notes, Fall 2023

January 17, 2024 | 1:42 pm

Please join us in welcoming another exciting semester of Design Field Notes speakers. As part of our ongoing course DES INV 95, this speaker series invites a dynamic group of designers, artists, and academics in design-related fields to share their work and practice with our students and public.

Each talk is free and open to all students and members of the public via Zoom. A Zoom account is required for login and access to this series. You can join each of the talks during its scheduled time using this link!

All talks will take place on Zoom Thursdays, 10 – 11 a.m. PT.
Subscribe to the Design Field Notes Google calendar.

August 31: Automotive UI/UX Design 

Iris Koser / Sr. UX Designer, BMW

Photo of Iris Koser

Iris has 14 years of international experience in the automotive industry. She specializes in concept development, innovation, strategy, UI/UX design, and automotive HMI development, and has contributed to major projects for BMW and Audi. Iris brings an interdisciplinary design background to industrial design, with expertise in UI/UX design, research, strategy, and usability. She has formerly worked as a freelance designer, project manager, moderator, head of jury at the international inventor’s fair IENA, and as a guest lecturer at Stanford University. Iris has also lead youth workshops and was recognized as a nominee for the German Design Award.


September 7: Futurefarmers: Presence As Practice 

Amy Franceschini / Founder, Futurefarmers

Amy Franceschini is an artist and designer and the founder of the international working group Futurefarmers. Founded in San Francisco in 1995, Futurefarmers are artists, architects, computer programmers, designers, farmers, scientists and anthropologists with a common interest in creating work that calls into question the social, political and economic frameworks in the contexts in which they work. Futurefarmers is known for creating playful entry points and tools for participants to gain insight into deeper fields of inquiry – not only to imagine, but to engage in and initiate change in the places we live. Their design studio serves as a platform to support art projects, an artist in residency program and their research interests.


September 14: Multi-Modal Design Systems 

Charles LeClercq / CEO, ARxVision

Charles focuses on user-centric, multi-modal technology products that enhance human capabilities and enrich lives. He achieves this by fostering collaboration between design, engineering, and business strategy, ensuring a holistic approach to innovation. He has worked in gaming and accessibility, with both hardware and software. Currently leading ARxVision the cognitive wearable that harnesses the power of AI and computer, making the world more accessible seamlessly.


September 21: The Art of Trusting Robots

Agnieszka Pilat/ Artist, Pilat Art

Agnieszka Pilat is an award-winning artist whose works can be found in public and private collections in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Born in Poland, Pilat maintains studios in both New York and San Francisco, traveling between the east and west coasts in pursuit of emerging technologies.

Pilat has exhibited at the de Young Museum and alongside Poland’s Embassy in Washington D.C. at the Strathmore Center and the Air and Space Museum. She has spoken about art history at the Hirshhorn Museum, Stamford University, and the annual Founders Forum in London, and has written on the topic for Artnet. Her current work explores the philosophical underpinnings of modern technology and has involved series at SpaceX, Boston Dynamics, and Waymo. Later this year, Pilat will debut a new installation at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, which will feature three of the Boston Dynamics’ “Spot” robots (nicknamed “Basia,” “Bunny,” and “B23”) painting autonomously for four months.

Pilat’s career, artwork, and exhibitions have been covered by The Guardian, New York Magazine, Hyperallergic, Boston Globe, WIRED, The New York Times, and The New Yorker.


September 28: 

Vidhi Mehta / Product Designer, LinkedIn

Vidhi is a designer with a focus on digital experiences. A native from India, she is currently working at LinkedIn as a growth designer, designing features and products that help members leverage their network and help them find their next economic opportunity. Prior to that she worked with Dr. Reddys Laboratories in their digital design studio to build care-centered solutions for patients with chronic skin conditions.


October 5:  Designing Identity

Jenny Ha / Manager, Exterior Design, Lucid Motors

Jenny is the Exterior Design Manager at Lucid Motors. She has been with the company for over eight years, leading the exterior design of the Lucid Air and the exterior design of the upcoming Lucid SUV called Gravity. Prior to Lucid Motors, Jenny was an exterior designer at VW/Audi Design Center California, where she designed a variety of production and concept car proposals for all brands of the Volkswagen Group. Jenny holds a Bachelor of Science in Transportation Design from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. In addition to her role at Lucid, she also taught Automotive design studio classes at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.


October 12:  Data Visualization for Experience Design

Tanyoung Kim / Experience Designer, Airbnb Inc.

Tanyoung is an Oakland-based experienced designer mainly working on Tech company’s internal infrastructure and data products. Her specialty is data visualization design and development across front-end engineering and data analytics. Her other passions include swimming and knitting.


October 19: 

Clare Brass/ Chief Product Officer, Moree

Clare Brass uses circular economy thinking to focus on the intersection between design, sustainability and enterprise. She was head of sustainability at the Design Council before setting up social enterprise SEED Foundation, seeking entrepreneurial solutions to environmental challenges such as food, water and waste. She established SustainRCA, an interdisciplinary centre fostering collaboration between designers at the Royal College of Art and business students at Imperial College, also acting as a mentor for the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. She co-founded Department 22, innovation agency for sustainability and circular economy with a focus on food. She is currently developing Moree, a reusable packaging start-up aiming to make single use plastic a thing of the past.


October 26:  

Utharaa Zacharias & Palaash Chaudhary / co-founders, soft-geometry

Zacharias and Chaudhary are Indian designers based in San Francisco, with a focus on collectible furniture, lighting and objects. Their collaborative studio practice is centered around softness and hand-making, inspired by the craft traditions and object culture of their hometowns in India.”


November 2:  Zero Waste System Design // Apparel

Danielle Elsener / CEO, DECODE

Danielle Elsener has dedicated her life’s work to proving Zero Waste as a valid and robust design model. For over a decade, she has learned from industry, educational institutions, and self-run initiatives to understand how best to do this. What began as a love for puzzle solving through Zero Waste Patternmaking, became a way to fix the fashion industry’s biggest problem. This approach has caught the eye of many industry leaders, from Virgil Abloh to Jony Ives. Her design system has won the Evian Activate Movement Grant and iDesign Covid Grant and has recently received accolades in Wallpaper Mag, Dezeen, Hypebeast, and Oregon Business Mag.


November 9: What if there were billions of designers?

Koraldo Kajanaku / Co-founder & CEO, Layer

Koraldo works at Layer where he gets to help shape the future of creative tools. Before starting Layer, he co-founded Farewill—which has now raised more than $1B for charities, led teams at IDEO, and designed products for startups and organizations like Alphabet, Pinterest, and the International Space Station. He has also served as an advisor to charitable giving platforms at the Better Giving Studio (Gates Foundation × IDEO) and serves as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.


November 16: Technology as Vocabulary / Discursive Machines

Jurg Lenhi 

Jürg Lehni works collaboratively across disciplines, dealing with the nuances of technology, tools and the human condition. His works often take the form of platforms and scenarios for production, for example various computer controlled drawing and mark-making machines, as well as software-based structures and open-source frameworks, such as Paper.js and Scriptographer.

Lehni has shown work internationally in group and solo shows at the MoMA New York, Walker Art Center, Centre Pompidou, Institute of Contemporary Arts London, Victoria and Albert Museum, Design Museum London, Kunsthalle St. Gallen, etc.

His works have been acquired by the collections of SFMOMA, HEK Basel and the Christoph Merian Foundation. He runs an independent practise in Switzerland since 2002, but has lived and worked around the globe:  as associate professor at Parsons in New York, the Arts Council Visiting Professor at the UCLA Department of Design Media Arts in 2012 ~ 2013, running his own studio in London from 2008 ~ 2011, on a Swiss Design Awards residency in New York in 2007, and on a research residency at Sony SET Studio in Tokyo in 2006.