Cofounded with Indhu Solayappan
Pangea is a service that aims to foster cultural awareness and appreciation in America through food.
The cultural diversity that my partner, Indhu and I share inspired us to pursue this opportunity in the market. We wanted to highlight underrepresented cultures in America by sharing their cuisines with our customers.
Over the course of the semester, we conducted extensive research and developed prototypes that led to a final business proposal.
To validate our idea, we started off with surveys and interview to gauge the interests of our potential customers. We developed a relationship with a student chef at Johnson & Wales University which helped take the idea to the next level. We also spoke to dedicated foodies and Instagram food influencers.
Confident with our research, we built a series of prototypes that helped test out the customer experience. We took the necessary steps to validate our concept, and prove that it would be a sustainable and impactful venture.
Indhu and I worked well together. While she brought product development and financing to the table, I focused on brand identity and user experience. Together, we developed the complete Pangea service experience.
Pangea was founded during our Business Entrepreneurship studio.
My goal for this project was to create a quick, simple, surface-level method for people, in communities heavily affected by oil-pollution, to test marine life caught for the purpose of detecting harmful agencies most likely caused by exposure to crude-oil.
To approach developing a solution I used Nigeria as a case study, specifically the people of the oil-rich Niger Delta (on the nation’s southern coast) who have had a tumultuous history with major oil corporations and the country’s corrupt government.
Their land, waters and therefore livelihood have been greatly affected by oil pollution over many years bringing instability to the region. The communities have relatively low income and depend highly on fishing and their environment has been stripped bare of its natural resource with no regard for pollution or even the development of the surrounding communities.
Research has shown that fish, especially fish larvae, are genetically affected when exposed to the smallest amount of crude oil. They affect fish larvae the most, changing their gene expression and defecting their growth. The presence of dangerous PCBs (hydrocarbons), which can be harmful in the long run when consumed by us, are not always seen on the outside of the affected fish.
Hydrocarbons can be tested in oil polluted water, their color turning darker when detection is positive. Also food sensors are a rising market, though highly expensive. So in an effort to not reinvent the wheel, The SafeDelta PCB Sensor is a low cost solution that employs the product design of a food sensor but with low fidelity testing and technology.
It has a solar e-ink screen panel that displays results in simplified communicative language.
It is ornamental and expressive - with a fish scale pattern on the grip below.
It is made of translucent, brightly colored plastic - which keeps it fun and its manufacturability cheap.
The replaceable sponge tip comes in contact with fresh fish and detection results are displayed on the e-ink screen.
It is also water and oil proof, lightweight and portable with keychain / lanyard accessibility.
The SafeDelta Sensor is marketed to both fishermen and the general public alike.
This project was done during an Environmental Disasters and Design Solutions studio and was practice in TSplines modelling and Keyshot rendering.
Collaborated on with Sarah Crist & Zitong Zhou
In my Junior Spring, I got the opportunity to join a design research and innovation studio sponsored by Cessna Aviation (a division of Textron). Students from Industrial Design and Interior Architecture spent a semester developing innovative future concepts for their largest jet yet, joining their fleet sometime in 2019/2020.
My group members, Sarah and Zitong, and I created a target user and grew our design concepts around catering to her specific needs. We focused on creating a heightened sensory environment and space that seamlessly transitioned between accommodating work and family life. Through scenario building, we were able to apply a level of focus to the ways in which our designed objects and spaces interacted with and within each other.
We delivered our final presentation to several employees from Cessna and faculty from RISD in a final critique.
In the Summer following, I was invited to Cessna's Headquarters in Kansas, on behalf of my team, to present our concepts and vision to the Board and the Design Team.
Overall, this was a fantastic experience, and further piqued my interest in concept development and innovation.
Bupu - meaning “to export” in my native Igbo language - is a fictitious fair trade organization that promotes the support of communities of farmers and food manufacturers in regions of Nigeria, Kenya, and Botswana and also serves as a tasty platform for global cultural exchange.
It all started with the ENPOWER Free Trade Zone currently being set up and commissioned in my home state of Enugu in Nigeria, by my father’s company and the state government. ENPOWER’s mission is to increase homegrown innovation, entrepreneurship and manufacturing; Bupu is my interpretation of the kind of organization that could theoretically work within and benefit from the Zone.
Through a subscription service, Bupu provides customers with preserved treats and snacks native to one of the three, or all, participating regions. These treats are made with the produce grown and harvested by the communities of farmers delivered every month with an accompanying recipe, ingredients and fun fact.
This project was a semester long branding effort that culminated in a brand identity process book and presentation.
We are habitually creating, collecting, and sharing information. Online storage sites, such as Evernote, Google Drive, etc. allow for the all three to occur seamlessly on the same platform.
As we continue to create, collect, and share information, the means to effectively store these growing piles in a virtual space becomes considerably harder and less controlled.
In an effort to learn HTML, CSS, and JQuery and further engage user research processes, I developed Pouch as an exploration into designing another option for this habit.
Pouch is a conceptual SaaS (Software as a Service) that provides content storage to its users. This project has its foundation in user research. I conducted surveys and wrote user personas to better understand why people loved to store and share stuff online. The Pouch homepage was eventually mocked up on Invision, coded and sent out for usability testing.
You’re in a new city for this first time with an empty belly and a whole afternoon. Exploring can’t be done on a low tank, yet there’s absolutely no time to waste looking for the best restaurants around that could potentially clean out your wallet or your everyday fast food chain, providing no novel experience. What you need is a way to not only try something unique to the city you’re in but to also get it quick in order to keep exploring.
Well, how about food trucks? They offer a relatively cheap lunch and a chance to interact one-on-one with the people inside. However, they’re a magnet for long lines during office breaks and can sometimes be hard to find considering they’re diners on wheels.
BellyTour is a conceptual iOS application that locates food trucks in your area allowing you to buy a meal in advance straight from your smartphone and easily pick it up. As you visit different cities you can track your favorite food truck finds and share with others who may be considering visiting.
This project was an exercise in mobile user interface design. My wireframes were continually revised with different elements coming under reconsideration. A final clickable prototype was put through rounds of user testing with majorly positive feedback and useful suggestions (e.g adding a timer on the confirmation screen that lets the user know when they’re food is done and in turn, when they should start walking over.)
Ngụgụ (which means ribcage in Igbo) is the name of a conceptual jewelry brand. Elements of the ribcage - enclosure, linear negative space, protection - heavily influenced the collection's form language.
This is an ongoing project and was started as an exercise in TSpline modeling and Neon rendering. See more Rhino Concepts here.
In the Summer before my Senior year, I got the opportunity to work in San Francisco as a UI/UX Design Intern at DesignMap - a User Experience design consultancy that caters to building software and improving experiences for enterprises.
During my time there, I got to experience weekly studio-wide think tanks and brainstorm sessions with fellow colleagues that helped to exercise and build my innovation skills. I sat in on client consultations and joined the Visibook team, developing visual design for their interfaces and conducting user testing.
While I was there, DesignMap opened up its studio space to kids from First Graduate and held a daylong workshop which aimed to introduce the young guests to the world of building better user experiences and design in general. My experience in conference planning allowed me to contribute effectively to the structure and flow of the day's event.
A small showcase of 5 product concepts and ideas born out of my exploration with Rhino CAD modeling.
This toddler's stool is also a working xylophone, effectively encouraging the marriage of work and play.
Professor Mickey Ackerman's Chair Project allows one to design and build a "chair", or something that can hold your weight off the ground at least. The only requirement was the material: 1" by 2" pine boards.
This stool's form language was inspired by the Nsibidi graphically symbolic language of the Igbo people of Nigeria.
Made during my Freshman Year.
This coat rack was designed around my ritual of getting ready every morning, specifically towards the habit of setting my outfit out the night before.
The open linear design and clear plexi shelves allow for the items on display to be the main focus.
Made during my Freshman Year.
What started out as a study in drawing the human head with quick gestures in ink turned into a series featuring fantastical Igbo lolos (queens). My aim was to translate a sense of elongated power and grace in all 50 drawings.
In 2014, the Series was featured in the "Kindred" Exhibition (Curated by Kelly Walters MFA 15 GD + Tia Blassingame MFA 15 PR) in the RISD Museum's Gelman Student Exhibitions Gallery. Featured artists were invited to have a conversation about their work over lunch with renowned actor and activist Danny Glover, who was that year's invited MLK Day Keynote Speaker.
Made during my Freshman Year.
Made during an Investment Casting class, this bronze Afro Pick was a nod to the complex bronze casting practices of the Igbo people of Nigeria during pre-colonial times.
The raised knotted net, which provides grip, and the slim and slender form of the pick's teeth celebrate the complexities of their casting processes and their unique design language respectively.
Keep scrolling for process sketches.
A smorgasbord of other work that showcase skills in visual design, concept photography, and identity building amongst others, including my dabbling in Cinema 4D.