Prescient Design for What a Pandemic Evokes

“Washing hands and disinfecting groceries are vital right now,” says Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design student Alvina Alex, ’20. “Wiping doorknobs and surfaces has become an important task. But what happens when all the disinfecting products are missing from the shelves? Dr. Bronner’s to the rescue.”

Alex is reflecting back on the Dr. Bronner’s Citrus Liquid Soap 3D window display that she created for her Product Presentation class.

Alvina Alex’s Dr. Bronner’s 3D display

Soap has renewed importance right now. There’s no reason not to pay some homage to it, especially when good design is at work!

Alex’s homespun graphics on the product label served as an eye-catching proscenium and naturally dried slices of citrus emphasized the organic ingredients.

“I shaped the bathtub by heating a small sheet of Sintra, and purchased two mini tile squares for the floor. The foaming bubbles are miniature opalescent ornaments and a touch of hot glue!” she says.

Alvina Alex’s Dr. Bronner’s 3D display

“Three-dimensional skills are the heart of what we do as designers,” says VPED professor Anne Kong.

“Physical prototyping unveils every phase of the design process for our students. Connecting branding to materiality, while fabricating and sourcing provides students with a 360 degree design experience. They see their ideas transform from sketches into 3D displays. Great work, Alvina!”

The project was on exhibt last year, as part of a series, in the display cases located on the third-floor hallway between the Pomerantz and Feldmen buidings.

Because of the pandemic, Alex has since had to make some abrupt changes in order to work on projects from home.

“I had to create my own work space. That’s hard when your family has a tendency to interrupt when you’re in class, and expects you to do chores when homework needs to be done!” Alex was able to maneuver through these obstacles and now says “I appreciate how much more time I have for perfecting my work and assignments.”

For her senior capstone project, she is currently working on a virtual exhibit “Life in their shoes: The Migrant Experience.” She aims to bring awareness of the living conditions in immigration detention centers in Texas.  “We all want the same thing, a safe life for our families,” she says.

Segment of Alvina Alex’s VPED capstone project

Shown on display are the items migrants carry on their journey, such as medicine, clothing and a second pair of shoes. There are descriptions of the locations they came from and what they left behind. In a display case are a pair of upside-down shoes with worn soles that indicate the traveler’s exhausting journey. Above each image is a projection of each migrant’s course that include the varied terrain of hills, rivers and deserts.

Upon graduation, Alex hopes to work for a firm designing museums and exhibitions. “Designing for a cause is a passion for me” she says.

Images used with permission.

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