Local Roundarch Isobar UX Team Experiences Design Museum Boston ?Street Seats? Firsthand

At the most recent monthly user experience (UX) practice meeting in our Boston location, our team decided that the beautiful spring weather merited a field trip. And what better activity for a 20+ collection of UX designers than experiencing first hand product design and ergonomics in an urban context ? a terrific guided walking tour of the Design Museum Boston ?Street Seats? exhibit.

Street Seats: Reimagining the Public Bench is a well curated public display of 17 highly unique park benches, selected from over 170 design proposals submitted from around the world. Derek Cascio, Co-founder and Director of Design Museum Boston was our guide, providing ?an in-depth tour of each of the submissions, the stories behind them, and key insights into the overall mission of the design competition.


Caption: Derek Cascio (standing) of Design Museum Boston explaining the finer design details of this beautiful design concept (the Ola Bench) submitted by Dise?o Neko, a Mexico City based design agency.

Each of the entries was striking and well-conceived, but there was a lot of variety even within the confines of the design assignment ? a demonstration of sustainable design and/or manufacturing, and the ability to accommodate at least two full size adults. Some were much more exploratory in nature, many attempted a more grounded and practical approach ? but each of the submissions is clearly the result of a lot of thought, imaginative design, craftsmanship and detail.

As experience designers who grapple each day with solving complex issues related to digital experiences, it was interesting to see how a closely related field (industrial design) approached process, user-centricity, and contextual environmental concerns when solving design problems. Both the exhibits themselves ? with accompanying kiosks providing detailed insights about the specific bench ? and the companion website (which details the various stages of the design and build process) ? were terrific at capturing the stories behind the respective design.


Caption: Lars and Marina, two of our talented UX designers, giving a field test to the Knot Bench from Pillow Culture Design, a New York City based firm.

At the conclusion of our forty minute guided tour through and around the Fort Point Channel area of Boston (located very closely to our Roundarch Isobar Boston office location at South Station), we all agreed that it was a great event, and a useful use of our time to recharge and refresh our ?design batteries.? As designers within a broader design community, it is important that we make the time to discuss, socialize and share our collective thoughts ? design and design thinking, in all its forms, is inherently based on sharing knowledge, insights, cultures and touchstones. Exposing ourselves to new environments and contexts as this event did ? forcing us to remove ourselves from the digital space and interact with analog design experiences ? was a terrific coda to a busy April.

If you find yourself in the Boston area between now and the end of 2013, we strongly recommend you carve out time to take in this wonderful exhibit, as well as learning more about the vision and mission for Design Museum Boston.


Caption: Derek and several members of our team trying out the design that invited one of the strongest ?Oooh, I need to sit on that!? reactions ? the Wa Chair from designer Katsuya Arai, New York City.