Victor Shapira

Victor Shapira, IDSA | 2010 IDSA Northeast District Student Merit Winner | Massachusetts College of Art

This design story begins in Israel. And it begins with a car. Victor Shapira, IDSA, a Bulgarian-born graduate of the Massachusetts College of Art, grew up Israel where he became enchanted with cars and simultaneously took up drawing. “Cars are like sculptures,” Shapira said. “I liked to ride in them, play racing video games and collect toy cars. In high school, I began to blend my interest in cars and my sketching hobby. I drew cars all the time. My friends thought it was cool. So by the time I got to pick a major in college I kind of already decided on industrial design school.”

After Shapira’s father was transferred to the U.S., the younger Shapira became a permanent U.S. resident and enrolled at Mass Art, where he built on his love of form and developed a passion for medical products. “I love the complexity of them,” he said. “There are a lot of restrictions and rules you have to follow and you feel good about your work helping a person heal.”

“We had a project for Electrolux were we had to find a new market opportunity for the brand and design a product for that market,” he said. “During a routine dentist appointment, I noticed a cool looking old-school device that looked like a Raymond Loewy refrigerator. The dentist explained that it was a sterilizer and that it was acting as kind of a dishwasher for dental instruments. That was my aha moment.”

Shapira Electrolux Shapira’s aha quickly translated into research that determined that Electrolux appliances and the sterilizers (known as autoclaves) use the same technology. That discovery led him to design the Electrolux Dental Autoclave, which provided an opportunity for Electrolux to enter the medical device market.

After completing a five-month internship with Continuum, the firm asked Shapira to stay on as a contractor. “The appeal of a consultancy is the fast pace and the diversity of projects. I also enjoy the ability to be flexible. One day, you’re making a model and the next you’re in the field conducting interviews with users.” He has also signed on to help the Design Museum Boston launch a series of design workshops aimed at providing unique design solutions for nonprofits.

“I’m hungry for design work,” he said. “My dream is to design products that help shape the world, however ambitious it might sound. I began my student career narrow-minded, obsessed with car design. With time I realized that design is an amazing tool that can shape societies, cultures and lives, and I plan to use this tool to create new and better emotional and physical experiences.”

Victor Shapira can be reached at victor.shapira@gmail.com.