Yves Béhar, IDSA

Yves Béhar, IDSA
Founder and CEO, fuseproject
2020 IDSA Special Achievement Award Recipient

A 2020 IDSA Award noting Special Achievement goes to Yves Béhar, IDSA and the industrial design and branding firm he founded in 1999, fuseproject. The continued innovation that emerges from fuseproject each year under Béhar’s leadership is inspiring, not only to the broader design community but also to the team inside fuseproject, who nominated Béhar for this award. “We would like to show him what his contributions mean to us, and what it means to be lucky enough to have a vibrant, dynamic, and endlessly creative studio to come into each day,” writes Harriet Tzou, fuseproject’s marketing and communications manager. “At more than 70 people, we still consider each other family at fuseproject.”

In serving as fuseproject’s chief designer and as the co-founder of multiple other design ventures, Béhar is known for crafting products and experiences that establish new categories: for example, the first sleep and fitness tracker on the wrist, Jawbone UP; the smart baby sleeper SNOO; and the Herman Miller Sayl task chair. Most recently, his notable product launches in the health and wellness sphere include Moxie, the smartbot companion for children developed alongside robotics company Embodied, Inc., and ElliQ, a sidekick for aging adults.

For more than 20 years, Béhar also has pioneered design as force for positive social and environmental change. His humanitarian work includes the One Laptop Per Child, which has provided 2.5 million laptops to children in developing countries; and See Better to Learn Better, which distributes 500,000 free corrective eyeglasses to schoolchildren in Mexico and California every year. For each of these causes, he was honored with the INDEX Award, making him the only designer to have received the award twice. He is currently spearheading SPRING, an accelerator supporting African and Asian entrepreneurs focused on social and economic change in East Africa and South Asia.   

In the fuseproject studio, “Yves is a constant and driving force of design energy, focused intently on the work and pushing fuseproject’s multidisciplinary designers to deliver nothing short of the best of their abilities,” Tzou writes. “In a discipline defined by curiosity and practiced by, at once, inventive, artistic, and technically-minded people, Yves brings vision to every project and encourages teams to build a relationship between an object and its owner, so that each product can serve to positively transform our everyday lives.”

Designs by fuseproject are known for their elegance and their tendency to have a socially progressive bent, from light fixtures that encourage energy conservation to Moxie, a revolutionary robot that provides play-based learning to promote social, emotional, and cognitive learning in children. Béhar’s guidance and vision are key to fuseproject’s success, and why IDSA is pleased to honor both Béhar and fuseproject with the 2020 Special Achievement Award.