Sustainable Design

Alex Lobos standing in a halway.

Good sustainable design benefits individuals and society without compromising the environment. The key is to think of solutions as much as the consequences.”

Alex Lobos

Graduate Program Director
Industrial Design

Faculty Spotlight

A stool design set against a yellow background.

Alex Lobos, professor and graduate program director of the MFA in Industrial Design, focuses on sustainability, emotional attachment and user-centered design as means to elevate quality of life. His research in computer-aided design, interdisciplinary education, sustainability and emotional design has been sponsored by companies such as Autodesk, AT&T, Colgate-Palmolive, General Electric, Kraft, MakerBot, Staples, Stryker, Sun Products, Unilever and Wegmans.

A flourishing research and design partnership between RIT and Autodesk was initially spearheaded by Lobos, who also explored the future of learning as a visiting fellow for the software company and is an advisory council member for Autodesk University. RIT and Autodesk’s agreement has opened professional doors for RIT students and resulted in them being provided exclusive access to alpha and beta versions of the company’s software, breakthrough effective access technology solutions and job hires.

In the making of the pictured stool, Lobos used generative design and Voronoi patterns to reduce the amount of material while also increasing strength. The result was an efficient design with an intricate appearance similar to those found in nature.

Course Spotlight

Two students show their concept to a Milwaukee Tool rep.

RIT’s Packaging Systems course is a collaborative experience involving students from the Graphic Design, Industrial Design and Packaging Science programs. Interdisciplinary teams partner with an industry partner to design new packaging that addresses user issues with one of the company's products. Sustainable elements are incorporated into all of the designs. Past course collaborators include Milwaukee Tool, Kraft Foods, Unilever, Wegmans and more. 

“The students recognize that each discipline brings a different skill set to this kind of project," said Dan Harel, adjunct faculty in Industrial Design who leads the course with Professor Lorrie Frear (Graphic Design) and Professor Karen Proctor (Packaging Science). "One student commented this was like getting three classes in one. This collaborative style, this experience, this is exactly what industry wants."

Key Faculty and Staff