Michael Bambino

mb [at] michaelbambinodesign.com

Engaging Design

A personal search into why design stimulates our senses and emotions, shifts and challenges our perception and inspires us. This thesis investigates the outcomes of my own engagement with design and design education.

Michael Bambino began his career in engineering, earning a degree from The Cooper Union Albert Nerken School of Engineering in New York City. After years working in engineering, seeing his work published and participating in several large-scale projects, Michael discovered industrial design and a world of expression and engagement. His design work strives to combine his technical background and creativity towards goals of innovation and beauty. Born and raised in New York, Michael is proud to have his current work published internationally.

Advisor: Fred Blumlein & Bruce Hannah

Hawley Braswell

hawleybraswell [at] gmail.com

Rural Collective: Harnessing Design in the Rural South

Rural Alabama has a deep history of struggle that takes its toll today. The poverty rate is high, education is scarce and community relationships are strained. Rural Collective is a design initiative, which builds on existing community programs and pursues three objectives. First, teach residents basic furniture design skills. Second, use these skills to produce a variety of well-designed, affordable tables and chairs for use by individuals in the community. Third, sell this furniture at multiple price points through local and catalogue channels. Then reinvest the proceeds within the community. Rural Collective capitalizes on the ample local resources of the area, the ingenuity of the community and the individual’s desire to improve their living standards, thus empowering this region.

Hawley Braswell grew up in Atlanta, and received a BFA in sculpture from Washington University in St. Louis. Interested in interactive sculpture and environmental studies, she continued her post-baccalaureate work at Auburn University, where she received a BS in environmental design. Today, her focus lies at the intersection of responsible design and valued objects. Whether designing a disaster relief backpack for Geigerrig Hydration Packs, or a dining space for the DIFFA benefit dinner, Hawley consistently aims for honest and positive social impact.

Advisor: Bruce Hannah

Chia-Chi Chang

Furniture & Taiwan

A piece of furniture reflects a society. That is why designing a piece of furniture is a commitment that goes beyond the simple idea of making an object.

Chia-Chi Chang likes Bruce Lee.

With his law study background, Chia-Chi Chang is capable of thinking logically. He combines his rationality with his innate sympathy to the society, paving the road by which he travels to become a human-centered designer.

He takes his life as a series of explorations, and focuses profoundly on the design process.

To quote a line from Bruce Lee:
“It’s like a finger pointing to the moon. Don’t concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory.”

Advisor: Henry Yoo

Ben Cheng

ben [at] bencheng.info

Aging Well

"Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength." --Betty Friedan (an American writer, activist, and feminist) The objective of this thesis is to explore different aspects of aging in a broader perspective, and how does the aging well process inspire better design in furniture and product.

Ben received his Honours B.F.A. in Visual Arts from York University, Toronto and a New Media Diploma in Interface Design from Vancouver Film School. After years of working in the communication design and information technology industries, his unpredicted route from fine arts to communication design has now led him to industrial design as the ultimate expression of the creative contribution he wishes to make.

Advisor: Henry Yoo

David Hsu

dh [at] davidhsudesign.com

Materials Sensibility

Materials in product design are tangibly chosen with economic, service and fabrication requirements. As designers we also consider intangible requirements of materials that encompass aesthetics, intentions and perceptions. These attribute meaning and evoke emotions for people who come in contact with these objects. By researching material selection in different industries we can learn how to leverage these intangible factors to create and improve products.

After receiving a Bachelor's degree in Materials Science and Engineering from Columbia University, David went on to specialize in information technology for individuals and small businesses. Longing to make a more meaningful impact on the world, he returned to school to pursuing a master’s degree in Industrial Design from the Pratt Institute. David looks forward to seeing where life and design may take him.

Advisor: Bruce Hannah

Pete KL

petekldesign [at] gmail.com


This thesis investigates the connection between memory, emotion and decorative objects.

Pete KL is a designer who is dually known for his jewel-box-like modernist residences and his conceptual sculptures from industrial wreckage. Pete KL received his Bachelors of Architecture from Cornell University in 2006. He has worked on architecture and design projects in New York City, East Hampton, Vermont, Alaska, India and Vietnam. He shares Massimo Vignelli's belief that a good designer should be able to design anything "from a spoon to a city." He has worked on a diverse array of creative projects including furniture, lighting, home accessories, innovative sporting equipment design, set design, and haute couture fashion. He recently created the RB logo for the up and coming musical group Rubblebucket.

Advisor: Bruce Hannah

I-Chao Wang

wangichao [at] gmail.com

Character Abstraction

Do you remember your favorite childhood cartoon characters? Have you ever wished to travel in the wonderlands with them? From the fantasy world to the real world, how far is the distance between our imaginations and us, while we are becoming sophisticated grown-ups? In my works, I am looking for a balance between imagination and reality. I aim to bring objects to life through abstract characters. Seeing things with our creative minds, and feeling things through our keen senses, imaginary characters can be anywhere around us.

Originally from Taiwan, I Chao Wang is an Industrial Designer /Illustrator/ Painter based in New York City. By learning and working across disciplines, I Chao is able to apply his imagination and story telling abilities in generating design ideas and express his artistic side in making sculptural objects. Playfulness and sculptural qualities are essential to his works.

In 2003, I Chao received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at National Kaohsiung Normal University in Taiwan. In 2007, he came to New York to study Illustration and received his Master of Illustration degree at Fashion Institute of Technology. Driven by the desire to make things, he further studies Industrial Design at Pratt Institute. He is currently a candidate for a master degree in Industrial Design.

Advisor: Henry Yoo & Katrin Mueller-Russo