With Studio Tast, Mitchell Jacobs researches and develops the teaching materials for the future. This is part 3 of a series of short interviews with designers participating in Dutch Design Week.
Studio Tast wants to stimulate and motivate people to learn. Do you belong to those idealists for whom form is subservient to function?
“I’m certain we are idealists. You have to be, if you want to implement
innovation to enrich the learning experience. You have to dare to think and
dream out of the box. Form and function
are actually thoroughly interwoven here. How an object appears, or the material it is made of:
it all influences the way in which people learn and experience. So form and function
go hand in hand at Studio Tast. Both are paramount for innovation.”
You innovate through thinking differently about things. You refer to that as design thinking. What do you mean exactly?
“Design thinking is a way of researching, creative thinking and doing. A ‘design thinker’ knows himself, his surroundings and can manage work processes adequately. Professionals in various sectors employ this to achieve meaningful innovation; we deploy this specifically for education. To improve skill development and to stimulate lifelong learning.”
More about thinking and doing: the Loep project comprises a toolkit and supporting digital platform. Giving teachers everything they could need for ‘design-based’ education. Could you explain a bit about this?
“There is a need for educational materials that integrate new skills in existing lessons. To us, the answer lies in design thinking. Cooperating, researching, problem solving, reflecting and deploying creativity – it all comes together in Loep. This new method makes it possible to transform existing lessons in topic-based ones, in such a way that pupils can develop their skills better. The online platform supports the teacher and the pupil in the execution, recording and monitoring of the learning process. The toolkit makes the steps tangible.”
Your GoTo, a drawing robot for children (and for
everyone else up to 99 years of age), is one of the projects on Kickstarter. Why are you calling on the help from the public and not on that from sponsors/partners?
“This crowdfunding is a Dutch Design Foundation initiative, the organization behind Dutch Design Week. They selected ten design projects with Kickstarter and Douw&Koren that are now being pitched online. We hope first of all to raise enough money to cover the start-up costs. But it’s also just a great platform for informing more people about our work. At the same time we are of course also looking for partners and investors who can assist us with the continued development of our products. For Loep, for example, more research would be a great help to ensure that the product is even more effective in practice.
Finally: next week Dutch Design Week will be over. Any idea what Studio Tast will be thinking up, doing and making in the coming period?
“Of course, we really hope that we’ll be starting the manufacturing of GoTo very soon. At the end of this year the marketing launch of Loep for further education will take place. Apart from that, new ideas are always bubbling in our studio. And we like to work on commissions. We help schools, institutions and companies transform good ideas into innovative products, systems or workshops. That’s what we’re here for, and that’s very gratifying work.”
The making of’ is the theme for the 15th Dutch Design Week. The anniversary year is an ode to the making process and the makers. Guests of honour are 2500 designers who made the event bigger, and the world just that little bit better, smarter, handier or more beautiful. For 9 whole days in Eindhoven they show their latest work and the best of what design has to offer.