FOCUS is the senior design exhibition of Carnegie Mellon's Design Class of 2017

Curated by myself and communication designer, Rae Headrick, this exhibition showcases CMU Design student works under five themes: Stories, Relationships, Thoughts, Action, and Beauty. The show was planned and installed in the Miller Gallery in 50 days, in conjunction with a branding and build team. The exhibition was displayed for the week of December 03, 2016

FOCUS: Senior Design Showcase



“Friends Only Cause Ugly Sketches,” or F.O.C.U.S., is a tongue-in-cheek motto from freshman year that reminded us to concentrate on our work. While our practice has been closely guided by our professors, the feedback and support from our peers has been just as important in our growth and development. 

Though each of us carries a unique definition of what design is, we have chosen to represent our work through five themes: Stories, Relationships, Beauty, Thoughts and Actions.

STORIES celebrates memories, narratives, and significant history. 

"Our lives are comprised of a collection of moments, people and places. Narrative is the string that ties each of these into a sequence, creating the remarkable way that we make sense of the world. Our perception hinges on the meaning behind stories, which act as filters and frames for our memories.  Encountering moments of significance throughout each day, we distill these experiences into stories to better understand ourselves.

Design frames experiences into stories so that we can all relate to and understand them by uncovering meaning."

RELATIONSHIPS showcases projects that focus on initiating, facilitating, or celebrating relationships between people.

"Genuine relationships among people are irreplaceable. Understanding and commitment between individuals fosters a collective sense of belonging while simultaneously strengthening our individual identities. Through relationships, we learn to express affection and feel empathy.

By creating room for relationships to form, design cultivates and elevates human to human connection."

BEAUTY explores aesthetics through furniture, objects, and graphics. 

"Beauty transforms ordinary moments into treasured memories. It is a channel that heightens our senses and enlightens our understanding of the world. Beauty grabs us and our attention, sometimes inexplicably. Beauty has a way of transcending logical boundaries, stirring the emotional responses that make us human.

Design showcases beauty and extends its ability to inspire, revealing worth in all that we find beautiful."

THOUGHTS encourages discussion and reflection. These projects provoke us to question and speculate on our reality and values. 

"Our values are composed by a lifetime of thoughts that we reference at every new encounter. Thoughts are responses to changing surroundings as well as guides we use to establish our place in the world. We internalize and interpret our experiences through thoughts, and our identities evolve accordingly. Uncertainty challenges and expands our thoughts and world views.

Design provokes reflection to create intention. Constantly re-shaping our perspectives, it moves us to question and speculate on our reality."

ACTIONS fosters certain behaviors by intuitively promoting play, curiosity, or care. 

"At its core, an action is a spark, a change, a start. Sometimes, actions are instinctual and reflexive. Other times they are measured decisions. Through actions, we discover the world in unanticipated, and often illuminating ways.  Need and curiosity catalyze action and are cues for us to make a change. Satisfying curiosity with understanding, our actions fuel a desire for continued enlightenment.

Design trains us to intuitively respond to our surroundings in the form of actions, shaping us through our behaviors and enabling us to navigate and experience the world."



This is a timeline illustrating the different developments that took place throughout the 50 day process of planning the exhibition.