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Global Ecology, Sustainability, and Next-Generation Toy Design in the Bamboo Forests of China

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Please contact John Axtell for inquiries and photos:
310-665-6857 / jaxtell@otis.edu

 

Otis College of Art and Design teams up with eco-forward Hape International in Ningbo, China to produce new sustainable toy designs.
Bamboo

LOS ANGELES, CA, June 28, 2012 - Furthering its commitment to eco-conscious education, Otis College of Art and Design partnered with German toymaker Hape to create an international think tank and integrated learning experience.

Otis faculty members and students joined Hape employees and members of the China Academy of the Arts to study the complexities of sustainable business practice and associated manufacturing challenges while developing new product designs that will move into formal production at Hape in the coming year.

The group traveled to China for a 29-day journey through the bamboo forests of Zhejiang Province, to the city of Hangzhou and the Ningbo-Zhoushan Harbor, one of the largest ports in the world. There they observed and exchanged ideas with local craftspeople, manufacturers, educators and students from distinguished design schools such as Bauhaus University, Weimar, Shenkar College of Art and Design, Israel, and KaosPilot, Denmark.

The international team participated with Hape step-by-step in research, development, idea generation, production, and testing of new products. Students learned firsthand what it takes to bring sustainable products to market.

"This kind of collaboration is invaluable for industry and academia," said Otis Toy Design Professor Drew Plakos. " It's real-world learning for next-generation designers and smart R&D for industry leaders."

Experimenting with sustainable materials and renewable resources such as bamboo and soy-based pigment, the student designers produced a number of projects from role-play toddler games and construction sets, to nested drums for a new Hape instrument line. Several of their final designs were chosen for formal development.

Designing For Sustainability is Designing for the Future
Both Otis and Hape work to develop strategies and systems that meet the needs of current generations without compromising those of future generations. The theme of sustainable design is woven into the curricula of all academic disciplines at Otis. A Minor in Sustainability is available to all undergraduate majors, providing students with a broad understanding of social, political, economic, and environmental issues, and teaching them how their work impacts society and the environment. As a leading multinational manufacturer, Hape strategically considers surface treatment, energy consumption, and packaging options to minimize environmental impact and maximize efficiency; materials, production, by-products, waste, shipping, and transport are all factors.

ABOUT OTIS COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN

Established in 1918, Otis College of Art and Design offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in a wide variety of visual and applied arts, media, and design. Core programs in liberal arts, business practices, and community-driven projects support the College’s mission to prepare diverse students to enrich our world through their creativity, skill, and vision. As Los Angeles’ first professional art school, visionary alumni and faculty include MacArthur and Guggenheim grant recipients, Oscar awardees, and design stars at Apple, Anthropologie, Pixar, Mattel, and more. The renowned Creative Action program has been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for Community Engagement, and the Otis Report on the Creative Economy is a powerful advocacy tool for creative industries. The College serves the Greater Los Angeles Area through compelling public programming, as well as year-round Continuing Education courses for all ages. More information is available at www.otis.edu.