Pratt Institute, Industrial Design graduate Asli Ozcivelek continues to apply her smart and environmentally conscious design thinking into her life after Pratt.

As a professional designer, she thinks that the definition of sustainable design is changing and evolving. Sustainability is no longer about just applying biodegradable or recyclable materials onto the products that we design, that was always an inherently limiting approach. It is about designing products that are so smart, so sensical and so well-fitted to their circumstances and environments that this will ensure the longevity of the product by making the users never want to throw it away or replace it. Ultimately, waste prevention is a big part of providing solutions to some of our problems. Instead of trying to put a band-aid on some of the environmental problems that designers are also responsible for, they should try to eliminate the cause. This kind of thinking was behind all of Asli’s thesis work, that she is now taking with her into her professional life.

Prototyping for the Fruitboat in Malinalco.
Prototyping for the Fruitboat in Malinalco. Photo by Carolina Pabon-Escobar.

Within her work outside of school, she was involved in a project where she spent two weeks in a small town in Mexico called Malinalco to collaborate with local artisans and come up with designs that they can hand-make and reproduce. She worked with Sergio to develop a fruit bowl called “Fruit Boat” which is inspired by Mexican art and culture. They used wood from avocado tree to make it, where the texture adds so much richness and a myriad of beautiful colors to the product. Utilizing natural materials like wood is something she tries to do a lot in her work.

Working with Sergio on the prototype.
Working with Sergio on the prototype. Photo by Carolina Pabon-Escobar.
Fruitboat, the final product
Fruitboat, the final product. Photo by Can Ozcivelek.

The fruit bowl is also designed with a consideration of the circumstance that it is going to be used in. It incorporates features like a cutting plane and a wedge for the knife in order to achieve this. By the end of the two weeks, the fruit bowl was finished and ready for Sergio to make reproductions based on the technical drawings Asli designed for him to use and help generate additional income for him. She has also been talking to Turkish distributors in order to introduce this project in Turkey.

Antiflage t-shirt design.
Antiflage t-shirt design. Photo by Fulya Guney.

Asli has been developing a new project for Tomorrow-Lab where she wanted to design a product in order to help bikers and skateboarders become more visible especially at night.
She came up with a method that will allow you to generate custom patterns that apply complementary color theory in order to come up with the pattern that will make you stand out the most against a specific background.
She is designing an app that will allow you to enter your route and come up with your own pattern that you can get printed as a t-shirt.

She has also collaborated with Designhype, designer of the Metro Cuff series. The cuffs are designed to provide women with essentially a wearable map that allows them to look stylish while they find their way around a new city. Designhype launched the Metro Cuffs with Subway maps depicted so that women could find their way around town and keep their smartphone in their pocket. Ms. Ozcivelek helped to expand the line of cuffs to feature city maps which feature roads and major attractions. They are currently working on cuffs for new cities.

The extension of the metro cuff series with Sea Isle, LA and Long Beach Island. Photography by Tiffany Brunette.


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