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My name is Simoné Schwartz. 


I'm an Industrial Designer passionate about eco-awareness in product development, fabrication, manufacturing, engineering, and systems design, with aspirations to be a liaison between these fields.  

As we align ourselves with societal and sustainability issues, I would specifically leverage my experience, spanning more than a decade, in dance, movement sciences, and linguistics in the pursuit of designing for the user and their environment. 

Looking to join a company that is making a positive sociocultural and sustainability impact on our world through the power of product design and manufacturing. 



There are a few guiding principles that have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember: 

  1. “Choose a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life” - I have no idea who actually said this (it’s often credited to Confucius), but I had the privilege of growing up in a space that made this feel like a possibility. Now, it is a requirement, as I am not able to work in a job that does not captivate my attention and interest. 


  1. Il dolce far niente.” - translates to “the sweetness of doing nothing”. It’s an Italian idiom that refers to the enjoyment of the mundane or the routine, also conceptualized as romanticizing one’s life. For me, this is a crucial practice to encourage happiness and joy, something with which I’ve always struggled. 


As the daughter of an immigrant and someone on the neurodivergent spectrum, being curious about and understanding others, people who are different from me, has always been a theme and motivating factor in my life. It was these adages & perspectives that led me to declaring Cognitive & Linguistic Sciences as my major in undergrad. Linguistics, the study of language as a scientific entity, and cognitive science, or the study of human brain and cognition, are both studies that enlightened my understanding of the human experience. 


When I got my first degree, I felt that I had made a huge realization about the world – language, the way we do it, is what makes humans, human. No other species have it, and language usage and development are directly correlated, and may be the causation of, the growth and development of the enlarged brain and advanced cognition of Homo Sapiens


When I started studying and working in design, I realized that my discovery of the essence of humanity in linguistics was but an entry point into the world of design – that the true essence of what it means to be human, including language, was encapsulated in bringing designs to “life”, also known as manufacturing. In particular, I developed a more precise definition of manufacturing that pertains to this very exploration: “an innate human behavior of occupying oneself by interacting with the resources in one’s environment to solve a problem.” As such, language is one of these manufactured things – as is product design. Cue that week’s perspective shift. 


I began my design work from this very perspective. One of the first offshoots of the idea that design and manufacturing are natural outputs of the human experience is the confrontation that results between manufacturing, design, and technological development and that of biophilic design. In our modern world, a fact that gets continuously forgotten or omitted is that all we are, and all we do, exists in and as part of the natural world of this planet. In response, the following questions presented themselves to me: 


“If manufacturing is natural to humans, and humans exist as part of nature, then is manufacturing organic by definition? 

If manufacturing is organic, then how is it possible for us to design and manufacture objects that are toxic to the environment, and do not decompose naturally? 

Is the existence of these inorganic designs an indication that there has been a departure from the natural order of our world? If so, precisely when did this happen? And, more importantly, how do we fix it? 

If manufacturing is the process of human experience, then what was the thesis?”


It was investigating this last question that provided me with a jumping off point for the others. It is so easy to blame the misorganization of the manufacturing process, in specific, and human existence in general, on humans being or acting unnatural, being bastardized or things otherwise being our fault. But, if I allowed myself to follow the concept of manufacturing as organic, and that, perhaps, human proliferation is indeed a natural output, I slowly came to another possible explanation for the thesis of the human experience:


What if humans are nature’s course correctors? And that course correction is done via design and manufacturing?  


If we continue with the definition of design as the solving of problems using resources in our environment, then it’s liable to be a process of iteration. Think of it a bit like this: there’s a problem, and someone with the motivation and skills to solve it; even with all the possible proficiency, they’re not going to get it 100% perfect the first time around! There will be multiple attempts to create a solution, and which will be found eventually. And some of those attempts, some of those prototypes will be absolute FAILURES! 


If humans’ role is one of course correction, then that course correction could take time. With hundreds or thousands of problems in play at one time, it’s no wonder that it may seem, at times, that the world is going to end. It may simply be that the more severe the problem, and the longer it takes to find the solution, and the more dramatic (in terms of novelty, effort, etc) that solution must be. 


So when do we determine that a problem is solved?

Are we aware when we successfully pull ourselves away from chaos, and towards order?

What elements do these successful solutions share?


Each design is created in response to the opportunities and limitations of a given environment.


A natural development from this line of questioning is the focus on the importance of the term and concept “environment” – manufactured, designed, and organic. If the theory above is something I can agree with, I’m postulating that all the solutions that have been successful at restoring order must be created and exist in integrity, in unity, in wholeness, in balance – balance with nature, balance with existing systems, balance within and between communities, and so on. 


Here the train of thought splits into a few branches:


  1. What gives this balance? How do you measure it? Which solutions have achieved this balance? What do they share? 

2. What if we have never achieved this balance? What if this is nature’s ideal role for humans, but we never fulfilled it? What would it take to achieve that balance?

3. Maybe achieving balance is a moving goalpost? Do instances where that balance was achieved by a solution are totally different on one level, but share characteristics on a deeper level? 

4. What is the balance we are working towards today? 


I’m still in the process of answering these questions (at least, for myself). 


However, here is where I often return to the question of the distinguishing feature between Art and Design. I feel that venue, as an abstract concept, is the best fit. (However, I am not saying it is a binary – anything that relates to humans must always exist in a continuum.)


I believe that Art and Design, as categorical terms, describe the social/intellectual function of a piece (“the space it occupies”), rather than its inherent value or the intent of its creator(s). That is to say, if someone gives form to an idea in a corporate setting, or that object is used routinely to solve a problem, then it’s a design. If the form created to show that idea is in a space where it’s simply on display, then it’s a piece of art. I don’t know that I feel this to be a definition that pertains specifically and exclusively to designers – an artist could also be this someone; giving form to something is simply a symptom of the context, not its motivator.


Conversely, there is the oft-unaddressed matter – just because someone is around with both urge and competence to give form to an idea, does that mean that they should? 


I do believe that part of the design process is, and should be, the consideration of solutions outside of an artifact, or that the form be prescriptive. I often mention this to my students as well – it’s just as important to survey the context when solving a problem to see if the solution could be an addendum to an already-extant product, or even designing the manner in which an already existing solution reaches those who need it most, rather than creating a brand new form for that idea, in order to avoid creating something that will fall short in performance, experience, or uniqueness. 


It is for this same reason that I believe, rather than function is more important than form, but that a form is meaningless without function. The catch 22 of the situation is that aesthetic motivations can just as justifiably be a function as they are a form. Rather than ask a question, “form and/or/over/under function,” I prefer to ask, “what’s not function?” 


“Good design… 

Is a manifestation of the capacity of the human spirit to transcend its limitations.”

It cannot transform a dark brown life into a large, brightly coloured one – only the person living the life can do that.” 

It reaches its full potential when it is experienced by a person fully equipped to understand and enjoy what it has to communicate.” (Good Design, George Nelson)


While these are excellent examples of specific answers, what I felt like took the cake was the following: 


“The purpose of good design is to ornament existence, not to substitute for it.” (Nelson)


Why? In the present day, we spend an inordinate amount of time trying to change existence: better it, perfect it, repair it… most references to existence come in the form of changes of state. However, existence does not require a change of state – it simply requires a shift in perspective, a sprucing up – an ornamentation, decoration of what it already is, to highlight its best qualities. 


The key to doing so successfully comes in how we develop our perspective. 

- SIMONÉ            

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