By Haley Kmetz
Imagine shopping for camping equipment using holographic technology to visualize the terrain of your destination, watching videos stream on a floor-to-ceiling social media wall as you check out GoPros, or visiting pop-up stores to test and purchase the latest technology gadgets. Those are just a few of the innovations PhilaU ID students came up with during a recent one-week sprint challenge by industry sponsor Fleetwood Fixtures to envision a futuristic retail shopping experience in brick and mortar stores.
“I’m extremely impressed with each and every one of your projects,” Alan Adilman, director of design services at Fleetwood Fixtures, told students at the sprint’s final presentations in the Kanbar Campus Center Performance Space. Some 150 industrial design majors, from freshmen to graduate students, worked in 30 teams to conceptualize, design and prototype their design solutions as part of the fast-paced project.
Representatives from Fleetwood Fixtures, a custom fixtures and furnishings provider based in Leesport, Pa., kicked off the sprint Feb. 3 by revealing the design challenge and introducing students to their firm’s corporate culture and emerging industry trends. The Fleetwood Fixtures team provided feedback and advice midway through the sprint.
At the final presentations at the end of the week, students came prepared with research, sketches, renderings, videos, app designs, and prototypes for retail stores. Three teams were selected as winners by Fleetwood and the assembled team of PhilaU ID faculty.
Judges awarded one team’s design of a customizable tablet for Google that could be robotically assembled in just minutes in stores. Team member Nick Friez, a junior, said, “instead of receiving your tablet in the mail, you now get the experience of building it in stores.”
Another winning design was a terrain simulation lab for La Sportiva. “The challenge really gave us the opportunity to be creative,” team member, sophomore Evan Gasparini, said. Judges also awarded a plan to capitalize on a target market’s appreciation for design by selling The Sugar Lab’s customized 3-D candies as souvenirs at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
Götz Unger, director of the undergraduate industrial design program, said this challenge called on a more diverse set of design skills than did past sprints. “We had everything from the design of apps, interior design and user-experience design,” Unger said. “They really did immerse themselves in this project like never before.” Scott Smith, vice president of human resources at Fleetwood Fixtures, said the project prepared students well for real-world industrial design challenges. “The interdisciplinary nature of this project parallels how we have to operate every day,” he said.