Environmental Design student, Alvin Oei gives a quick recap of the 2017 Global Grad Show held in Dubai, where he, along with faculty member Stella Hernandez presented the Safe Niños: Healing Tree project.
It was an exciting opportunity to represent the Safe Niños: Healing Tree team with Stella Hernandez at this international gathering of emerging designers. It’s humbling to see this project we participated in still get the recognition it has been getting. I suppose the root of its success shows that people want projects that impact lives and (no pun intended) show that design matters. When I first came to ArtCenter 3 years ago, I had never heard of the concept ‘Social Innovation’ and these days, I find myself conversing about it as much I get coffee. I used to want to just design fun places to make people happy, but it’s more difficult these days to do so without a deeper social context because of all that is happening in the world. It’s a great time for design students to be identifying these issues and imagining solutions to them.
Dubai was amazing, but being a part of such a large community of young designers focused on social innovation was more meaningful. We have an amazing group of design leaders at ArtCenter, but it was great to also hear perspectives from people coming from other parts of the world. I’ve grown to realize in the last year, particularly as a result of participating in the Healing Tree, that design’s role in society is one of great leadership because of its deep integration into how we live. It’s a voice for the unspoken, a mine of untapped opportunities and a vision to improve society. Patricia Moore, one of the most inspirational people I have had the pleasure of listening to, always points out that everything in the world, both its success and failures are a result of design so we must pay close attention to how we can impact it in positive ways. Engaging with the creatives at the exhibition was re-affirming because it shows that we are doing just that and it gives me hope for tomorrow.
Alvin Oei’s work focuses on human centered design through the lens of storytelling, environments, and scenography. His goal is to create experiences that have an emotional punch, which people can walk away with and remember.
Learn more about Alvin and his work here —> www.alvinoei.com