2008 Western District Student Merit Winner
After being born in Durango, CO, Gabriel Lamb embarked on an odyssey that has taken him to Australia, Brazil, Italy and South Africa. While traveling in Brazil at age 15, he had an “A-Ha” moment that presaged a career in ID.
“Flying over Oscar Niemeyer's city plan for Brasilia and walking around these massive concrete inversions of structure and space gives you this surreal feeling of ‘Wow, people really just moved here and built a city,’” Lamb recalled. “They designed their lives around some ideal vision of their future. My interest in design came from wondering, ‘Who comes up with the future?’”
It should come as no surprise that Lamb’s portfolio would include what he calls Livable Luggage. “Most luggage is designed for the journey, but not the destination—there’s a lot more luggage could be doing inside the hotel or guest room,” he observed.
Lamb asked travelers to document their experience with luggage—focusing on usage before and after travel. “Once they get into their room and open the bag and have to live out of it for a couple of days, suitcases begin to take on functions they aren't designed for,” he reported. “All of a sudden a $500 ballistic nylon and carbon fiber exterior doesn't matter so much if the inside is identical to a $50 carry-on from Target.”
Lamb proposed a solution combining elements of luggage and furniture—a suitcase that stands up like a dresser with a modular bin system to file clothes vertically which can be folded in half and latched during transport.
Prior to ID, Lamb worked in politics. “I spent a couple of years as a Capitol Hill staffer in the Senate offices of Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Chris Dodd (D-CT),” he said. “I think the same perspective that got me into politics got me into design—which is this desire to affect some change.”
That desire informed his work on the Miranda Arrest Documentation Device—a wearable recording device for protesters that protects the wearer’s civil rights during an arrest or confrontation with police. It employs video and audio to document force of impact and sudden movement, streaming the information over data networks to civil rights watchdog groups.
Lamb’s design aims to protect the rights of both protester and police officer. He envisions the Miranda Law being modified to offer suspects the right to use a device like his. Police could apply the devices to protesters who lack them to guard against false claims of brutality and violence. “The idea really came down to two challenges,” according to Lamb. “Designing a tangible object capable of protecting something intangible—a person’s civil rights—and designing an object for two user groups who are in constant conflict with each other.”
With an undergraduate degree in anthropology and previous professional experience working in interface design, Lamb hopes to pursue a path that explores how ID and interaction design bleed into each other. “I'm very interested in how we behave with our objects, and how objects affect our behavior with each other,” he offered.
Gabriel Lamb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.