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'Designboom' Q&A with SVA's Allan Chochinov

From Designboom: “At the intersection of design thinking and design making lies the prestigious MFA in Products of Design at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York City. Here, students encounter one of the most multi-disciplinary programs in design, covering industrial, interaction, graphic, service, and social design. This two year, intense and immersive masters course prepares future practitioners for the ever shifting terrain of modern design—concentrating on three crucial areas: making, structures, and narratives.

Significantly, the products of design masters at the school of visual arts implements a ‘no grades’ policy that encourages maximum risk for projects, whilst optimizing the use of time, attention and resources. Ranging from artists to researchers and financial managers to philosophers, the course welcomes students of all backgrounds, disciplines, nationalities, and cultures. This leads to projects that are as diverse as the individuals who create them. The MFA program is taught by a faculty of working professionals, many of whom are leaders within their discipline of design. In addition, students take classes at Frog Design, Material ConneXion, and Johnson & Johnson. At just five years old, the graduates of the masters course have gone on to work at many renowned consultancies around the globe, such as IDEO, Fuseproject, SYPartners, Pentagram, and Microsoft.

With the next academic year fast approaching, we talk to Allan Chochinov, chair of the MFA in Products of Design graduate program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He discusses the course’s mission, how it best prepares practitioners in the design field, and what truly makes their masters program unique.

Designboom (DB): What was the original mission of the products of design program at the School of Visual Arts?

Allan Chochinov (AC): The mission of the program is to recognize the changes going on in the design profession, and to put together a new kind of design education that would meaningfully align with those changes. In particular, we’ve seen the shift from the strict design of artifacts, to the more experiential design of services and platforms. We’ve seen the maker movement and the rise of the sharing economy. And we argue that the true value of design is expressed in the shift from ‘design as a noun’ (something that’s essentially fixed and aesthetic), to ‘design as a verb’ (something is dynamic and fundamentally strategic)…” (continue reading)

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