LA Design Festival – Supplyframe DesignLab

The Supplyframe DesignLab is a facility I’ve visited many times in the context of different events, and LA Design Festival gave me yet another view into what happens there. Unlike my usual experience through Hackaday LA or the Pasadena 3D Printing meetups, these events placed more focus on the “design” of DesignLab.

DesignLab Gallery

On Friday, an exhibit titled Intuitive Objects: When Interaction Becomes Second-Nature was opened at the DesignLab, utilizing the space facing the street which is sort of fitting as it is shiny and white like many galleries. A collection of items were on display, every one the result of a designer putting time and thought into making the user experience intuitive and seamless. The presentation as a gallery put focus on these items, but there were a few downsides of the format. An art gallery wasn’t an environment where visitors could just pick up and experience the interaction in actual usage, and there was limited information on site to satisfy curiosity for more details. Still, seeing them firsthand was a better exposure to these works than scrolling through pictures.

DesignLab Panel

On Saturday, a panel of women in design were assembled to speak on Designed Interactions: Diverse Perspectives. Before the panel even began I knew it was going to be an interesting mix. The event itself was a cooperation of ArtCenter College of Design who have a campus nearby, Pasadena Women in Tech, and NELAUX. (Northeast Los Angeles User Experience.) And the panelists themselves were drawn from a wide spectrum of experiences.

The intersection of all these different interests and experiences, though, did not result in a jumbled mix of concepts like it could have easily become. The panelists focused on the recurring themes that repeat themselves under different contexts, and the challenges designers would have to overcome to address them. Several times a panelist would give an answer that’s a brief summary followed by “… and we can easily have an hour-long panel on that topic alone.” Which, given the size of the interested crowd present at this event, may very well happen.

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