Mike Lovas and Rami Alhamad of PUSH Design Solutions. Image by JOLT.

Mike Lovas, an entrepreneurial fourth-year Industrial Design student at OCAD U is now the Chief Design Officer at PUSH Design Solutions, a startup that he co-founded thanks to seed capital and support from both the JOLT technology accelerator and OCAD U’s Imagination Catalyst.

Lovas (whom you may also recognize as a research assistant in the Mobile Experience Lab and a research coordinator in the Sustainability Office), teamed up with two University of Waterloo mechatronics engineer graduates, Rami Alhamad and Suresh Joshi, last year to work on an idea.

They made rapid progress, and now PUSH, in its current iteration, is an app-enabled fitness device for analyzing, managing and tracking weight training and workout performance. It can attach to an athlete’s wrist or common weight training equipment, and it incorporates smart monitoring and intelligent design so anyone, from a pro athlete to a casual fitness lover can use it.

JOLT, a technology accelerator dedicated to high-growth web and mobile companies, invested $30,000 in seed capital for Lovas’s company, in exchange for six per cent equity. The JOLT program also provides product development support, workshops, business mentorship and workspace in Toronto’s bustling MaRS Commons, home to many other digital entrepreneurs and research initiatives.

OCAD U’s Imagination Catalyst, which helps students take ideas out of the classroom and into the market, provided another infusion of seed capital, along with outreach support, and has also offered workspace.

Lovas and the PUSH team took their app to Launch Festival in San Francisco in March where they met with Silicon Valley-based venture capital firms. They’re now working on a beta version for user testing with weight trainers and varsity teams at the University of Toronto.

“This is an exciting, fast moving thing,” says Lovas. “It’s ambitious because we’re combining product design with hardware, mobile technology, iOS development and a web portal with deep analytics, so there are a lot of moving parts. We’re just going to keep moving ahead.”



Jenn Seoyoung Kim at Grad Ex 2013. Photo by Christina Gapic.
Part of Jenn Seoyong Kim's project, Plant Haiti Campaign. Image by Jenn Seoyoung Kim.

Jenn Seoyoung Kim’s medal award-winning project, Plant Haiti Campaign, is designed to bring much-needed trees to communities in Haiti. Here’s how she describes it:

Haiti, which was once covered in lush green forests, has now decayed into a barren wasteland. An enormous amount of trees were cut down constantly in a matter of decades to produce lumber for mainly industrial use, including charcoal as a domestic cooking fuel. The value of greenery seemed to be forgotten as Haiti was undergoing a vicious cycle, where trees were being planted only to be cut down. Plant Haiti Campaign recalls the potential beauty of Haiti by supporting Haitian communities to grow and maintain Moringa Trees. The miraculous nutritional values of this tree can easily overturn the course of Haiti’s future. When products within the Miracle Moringa Collection, inspired by the artisans of Haiti, are purchased, part of the revenue goes to NGOs in Haiti to help reforest the nation as well as educate Haitians about the importance of trees.

What inspired you and motivated you to do this project?

Last summer, I went to Haiti for two weeks on a mission trip from church and realized how critical living conditions are there. The earthquake in 2010 brought too much sorrow and despair that still lingers in Haitians’ minds and lifestyles. I wanted to provide a long-term solution that could help Haiti to get out of this environmental crisis and eventually stand up on its own.

What part of the process of creating this project did you learn the most from?

I learned the most from researching through various methods and applying those techniques to better enhance my ideas. Especially, our class schedule included weekly presentations that helped me to keep track of my directions. 

What part of the process of creating this project are you the most proud of?

I’m proud of the fact that my project is based on long-term considerations and a result of my own experience. By addressing a real problem for the most needed,Plant Haiti Campaign connects many aspects all together to harmonize and recreate the value of greenery.

How did you react to the news that you won a medal for your work? 

I wasn’t expecting a call from OCAD U, so my heart stopped for a second when I heard the word “congratulations.” I cried for three hours. Every time I told my family and friends about the result, I couldn’t stop crying (happy tears).

What’s your fondest memory from your studies at OCAD U, and what will you miss the most?

I miss the days I spent in woodshop making furniture and other projects with fellow students. Technicians and monitors were friendly to help out and overall I loved its warm atmosphere.

What are you planning to do next? 

My next step is to further enhance my skills and build more experience as a designer. 

Find out more about Jenn Seoyoung Kim:

LinkedIn Profile

OCAD U Industrial Design students wow judges at the Rocket Show

Sarah Eldershaw's project on display at GradEx. Photo by Christina Gapic.

Imagine if you could easily make your own shoes from a bespoke mail-order kit. That’s what Sarah Eldershaw (Industrial Design, 2014) is making possible with her start-up company Shoe String Assemblies, which she began as her thesis project earlier this year. Her project won six prizes at the 2014 Rocket Showhosted by the Association of Chartered Industrial Designers of Ontario (ACIDO) and held at the Design Exchange May 10 and 11.

Eldershaw wore a pair of her “moxfords” (i.e. a cross between oxfords and moccasins) throughout the event, which impressed the judges — and  a reporter from The Globe and Mail.  She plans to sell her customizable shoe kits online (likely through Etsy) and laser cut them to her customers’ unique design specifications. The kits are designed to make it relaxing and enjoyable to craft one’s own shoes. Creator-wearers stitch them together with the included needle and thread (and detailed instructions) and can even custom embroider them.

Eldershaw was one of six OCAD U students who picked up awards at the Rocket Show this year. Together, OCAD U students won more than half the prizes and awards, against competitors from Carleton University and Humber College. Other projects included consumer products, transportation concepts, healthcare innovations, furniture and sporting goods. 

OCAD U students who won or tied for prizes and awards this year include:
•    Sarah Eldershaw (six categories) 
•    Dayna Griffiths 
•    Magdalene Kan 
•    Jackie Kemp (two categories)
•    Valeria Stroukova (three categories)
•    Maximillian Wessman 

The Rocket show was founded in 2001 as an opportunity for ACIDO’s members to meet graduating designers in Ontario and celebrate their completion of undergraduate studies in Industrial Design.

Find out more

Association of Chartered Industrial Designers of Ontario (ACIDO

Complete list of winners 


Ocean Fukuda at GradEx 2014. Photo by Christina Gapic.
Wolf Door Light from Symbolic by Ocean Fukuda.

Ocean Fukuda’s medal award-winning project, Symbolic, is a result of a collaboration with an industrial woodworker/spiritual leader from Six Nations. Featuring clan symbols on wooden doors, the work aims to strengthen pride and promote awareness of the Six Nations community. Here’s how he describes it:

Symbolic is a project for the Six Nations of the Grand River. Six Nations is the largest First Nations Community in Canada and is located just outside of Hamilton. I collaborated with an Industrial Woodworker/Spiritual Leader from Six Nations to gain insight to the community and its unique needs. Together, we arrived at the primary project goals: to strengthen the visual identity of Six Nations, to encourage pride within the community and to promote awareness outside of the region. Symbolic, therefore, aims to create culturally representative objects with the Six Nations community.

What inspired you and motivated you to do this project?

Feeling moved and overwhelmed by the many complex issues facing First Nations communities, I asked myself if design could make a difference, even on a small scale or to a single community.

What part of the process of creating this project did you learn the most from?

The collaborative problem refinement process of this project was the most enlightening. I learned a critical lesson as a designer that I needed to listen and uncover the real needs and problems versus my initial ideas and proposals.

What aspect of this project are you the most proud of?

I’m proud of the unique visual integration of culture into a seemingly ordinary everyday object but more importantly the potential of the project.

How did you react to the news that you won a medal for your work?

With a lot of surprise, and then an excited phone call to my better half.

What’s your fondest memory from your studies at OCAD U, and what will you miss the most?

My fondest memories are being able to work with and be inspired by some truly talented faculty. I’ll miss the ability to experiment in all of the labs.

What are you planning to do next?

Up next is work on a few web-based startups and laying the groundwork for my own agency.

Find out more about Ocean Fukuda



digital rendering in a storefront window
Saturday, October 4, 2014 - 10:45pm to Sunday, October 5, 2014 - 11:00am

A Nuit Blanche Special Project sponsored by H&M by 3rd year Industrial Design student, Lizz Aston.

A free all-night contemporary art event.

Coalesce is a site-specific installation that explores themes of sustainability and the global exchange that is embedded within the garments we wear and the textiles we consume. Looking at lace as a metaphor for interconnectivity, this large-scale installation will transform recycled materials sourced from H&M’s Garment Collecting Initiative and turn them into a monumental cascade of lace.

In her work, Aston is inspired by the rich histories of textile production, lace-making and the decorative arts. Drawing from these themes, her work navigates the relationships and residual connections we feel to domestic textile practices and objects. Guided by a relationship to materials, processes and knowledge steeped in tradition, Aston’s work subverts familiar objects and takes them out of context in order to create new experiences and associations for the viewer. 

Through this installation, the artist re-imagines the value potential of common discarded materials by incorporating recycled garments from H&M's Garment Collecting Initiative. As a form,Coalesce challenges the viewer to explore the complex narratives of modern textile production, including sustainable and green initiatives for the future. 

Lizz Aston is a fibre artist living in Toronto. She is interested in bridging gaps between traditional textile practice, contemporary art and design. Aston holds a Diploma in Crafts & Design from Sheridan College (2009) and is the recipient of numerous grants and awards. She has exhibited across Canada, the USA, Australia and South Korea.

Venue & Address: 
H&M 427 Queen Street West (H&M Store Front Windows, East of Spadina Avenue)

Matthew Del Degan collaborates with youth artists on Virgin Mobile mural

Matthew Del Degan poses with young artists from SKETCH in front of mural created for Virgin Mobile's Queen St West store
Wednesday, September 3, 2014 - 3:15pm

Known for his concrete Lovebots that dot Toronto’s urban landscape, recent OCAD U Industrial Design grad Matthew Del Degan has teamed up with young artists to create a 10’ x 12’ mural at Virgin Mobile’s new store at 680 Queen St. W. His collaborators were recruited through SKETCH, a community arts group that creates opportunities for at-risk youth.

The commissioned artwork is part of Virgin Mobile’s RE*Generation initiative which is committed to creating new experiences for at-risk and homeless youth across the country to help them emerge from the cycle of homelessness. In addition to the mural collaboration, Del Degan has created two custom Lovebots for Virgin Mobile's newest retail locations at 680 Queen St. W. and 2493 Yonge St. to remind us to do good in our daily lives.

Del Degan’s knee-high cast concrete Lovebots began appearing around Toronto 2010 at locations where acts of love, kindness and compassion had taken place. More than 100 sculptures were installed. The Love Invasion has spawned a worldwide sticker campaign that calls attention to small good deeds that may otherwise go unnoticed.

OCAD student design to memorialize fallen Constable Michael Sweet

OCAD student design to memorialize fallen Constable Michael Sweet
Monday, April 5, 2010 - 4:00am

(Toronto—April 5, 2010) An artwork dedicated to the memory of Police Constable Michael Sweet, who lost his life in the line of duty 30 years ago in March, will be installed this summer on Michael Sweet Avenue, in downtown Toronto. The design, by Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) fourth-year Industrial Design student Joshua Sin, was chosen from more than a dozen submissions by OCAD students in a competition held this spring. The selection of a winning concept is part one of a multi-stage process.

The competition asked students to design a memorial for the brick wall that runs along the north side of Michael Sweet Avenue, which runs east/west between St. Patrick Street and Simcoe Street, south of Dundas Street. Property owners First Urban, Toronto Police Service 52 Division and OCAD collaborated on the project.

The concept features the words “I remember” laser cut into rectangular sheet of Corten steel, a weathering metal alloy that will change colour as it ages, representing the adaptability and change present in all life. The panel, to be mounted offset from the brick wall to allow sunlight to penetrate the letters and create a solemn shadow beneath, is designed to be easily installed and easily moved, a requirement set out in the competition, to accommodate development plans for the site in future years. Engraved into the steel is the message, “This memorial is dedicated to Constable Michael Sweet, a fallen officer who lost his life in the line of duty. To serve and protect, always.”

“We began discussions with 52 Division about three years ago to see how we could improve the streetscape. We then approached OCAD for their participation which led to the competition," said Ron Thomson, President of First Urban. “We’re very pleased with the results of the competition and look forward to further development and installation of the winning design.”

Sin’s concept earned him a $5,000 prize, a small part of which is to be used towards further development and refinement of his design. Working with representatives of Toronto Police Service 52 Division, First Urban and OCAD faculty advisors, Sin’s final design will be installed over the course of the summer. An unveiling ceremony will be held at a date yet to be determined.

“My design is a reflection on the fragility of life,” explained Sin. “It sends a message evoking memories, feelings and past experiences. By allowing pedestrians to reflect and recollect about their own histories, the installation encourages them to ponder life. Not only is this piece about Constable Michael Sweet’s life, it is a reflection of your own. More importantly, it is about change and hope for the future — to remember and learn from the past, and to live in the “now.” It is a universal message for everyone, something that everyone can relate to. It is a story waiting to be shared.”

“Our students, faculty and staff are engaged members of the neighbourhood in which Constable Sweet lost his life,” said Associate Dean Cheryl Giraudy, of OCAD’s Faculty of Design, who coordinated the competition. “We are honoured to have been approached by Toronto Police Service and First Urban to collaborate with our students in memorializing his sacrifice. Not only is it a solemn moment of our collective past that should not be forgotten, it is an opportunity for our students to create public works in tribute of important historical events, a long-standing tradition for professional artists and designers.”

“The Toronto Police Service is grateful for the partnership we share with OCAD, First Urban and other community members with respect to the Michael Sweet Memorial project,” said Detective Sergeant John Whitworth. “Constable Michael Sweet gave his life in the line of duty, a short distance away from where the university stands, while serving the citizens of Toronto. After thirty years, this undertaking by students, the faculty, local businesses, citizens and police officers is truly a testament to the sacrifice Michael Sweet made for this community. It was an absolute honour to represent the Toronto Police Service on the jury panel and to see just how much consideration, effort and skill the students put into their research and designs.”


Winning Concepts for the Michael Sweet Memorial Competition:

First Place: $5,000:
“I remember” by fourth-year Industrial Design student Joshua Sin
In Joshua Sin’s design, the words “I remember” is laser cut into a half-inch thick rectangle of Corten steel, a weathering metal alloy. A short message is engraved, dedicating the memorial to Constable Michael Sweet. The installation will obtain a rust-like appearance when exposed to weather for several years, changing colour as it ages, representing adaptability and change in life. The work is mounted off-set from the existing brick wall by a foot, allowing sunlight to create a solemn shadow beneath the steel. After its wall life, the piece can be used as a freestanding installation.

Second Place: $500:
“Trapezius” by fourth-year Environmental Design student Jimmy Hyunjin Cho
Jimmy Hyunjin Cho’s design is premised on human anatomy, specifically the back and shoulder, as a jumping off point. Referencing the trapezius muscle, the large shoulder muscle that extends longitudinally from the occipital bone to the lower thoracic vertebrae and laterally to the spine of the shoulder blades, Cho’s design connotes the burden of hard work, with the shoulder representing protection and strength. The design features an architectural framework mounted over the wall, providing a sense of motion and imbuing the physicality of the body. Constable Sweet’s name appears on the wall behind the structure, inviting viewers in to read and know his name.

Third Place: $500:
“Missing Piece” by fourth-year Environmental Design student Marek Rudzinski
Rudzinski’s design is an expression of loss and memory of an individual from a family, from a police force and from a community. The memorial is made up of interlocking, unique pieces that remains impossible to complete: one piece is missing. The surface of the memorial is mirrored, a powerful reminder for viewers of their own relationship to the puzzle, and the missing piece.

Honourable Mention: $75:
“Northern Lights” by fourth-year Environmental Design student Amy Doerner
Doerner’s design is inspired by the Northern Lights, and aims to create a place of reflection and remembrance, honour, change, and to reflect communal richness. The installation features vertically mounted wooden elements, coloured in tones of blue and green, reminiscent of a cityscape.

Honourable Mention: $75:
“Day Shift” by fourth-year Industrial Design student Adam Kereliuk
Kereliuk’s concept calls for mounting steel structures high on the wall that are laser cut with words and images. Sunlight casts ‘text shadows’ on the wall, revealing the message of the memorial.

Michael Sweet Memorial Competition Jury:
Councillor Adam Vaughan (Ward 20 — Trinity–Spadina)
Detective Sergeant John Whitworth, Toronto Police Service
Ron Thomson, First Urban
Peter Caldwell, Vice-President, Finance & Administration, OCAD
Professor Eldon Garnet, Faculty of Art, OCAD
Thomas Payne, Founding Partner, KPMB Architects

About First Urban
First Urban is a land development company with vast experience in Canada and abroad. First Urban team members have extensive backgrounds in property development that include community planning, engineering, marketing, financing, project management, and construction. To learn more, visit

About the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD)
The Ontario College of Art & Design ( is Canada’s “university of the imagination.” OCAD is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. The university is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinarity, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

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For more information and images please contact:

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer, OCAD
416.977.6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327)

OCAD University presents the first annual TOOLBOX event

Monday, October 18, 2010 - 4:00am

(Toronto — October 18, 2010) This October, the Studio Management Department at OCAD University (OCADU) presents its first annual TOOLBOX event, designed to promote and celebrate studio-based education, and highlight OCADU’s shops and studios. This year, TOOLBOX includes a lecture panel featuring prominent Canadian artists and designers: Marla Hlady, Andrew Jones, Reinhard Reitzenstein and Tim Whiten; and a tradeshow of vendors, suppliers and friends of the shops and studios promoting their products and services.

TOOLBOX: Materials, Methods, Making
October 27, 7 to 9 p.m.
TOOLBOX: Materials, Methods, Making, moderated by Julian Goss, Chair, Industrial Design, and Simone Jones, Chair, Integrated Media, initiates a dialogue on the intellectual aspect of making with Canadian artists and designers Marla Hlady, Andrew Jones, Reinhard Reitzenstein and Tim Whiten. The discussion emphasizes fabrication and engagement with materials as primary to art and design practice.

All are welcome. Admission is free.
Generously sponsored by Henry's Photo Video Digital.

OCAD University
Auditorium, 100 McCaul St., Toronto


TOOLBOX: Tradeshow
October 28, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

TOOLBOX: Tradeshow is a day-long event organized in the style of an industry tradeshow. It will take place in the Lobby and Great Hall at OCAD University, and admission is free! The Studio Management Department at OCADU has invited vendors, suppliers, and friends of the shops and studios to participate by setting up booths to promote their products and services. In addition to the booths, there will be on-going demonstrations throughout the day in the Auditorium by software companies such as Adobe, Rhino, Apple, and Autodesk. This is a valuable opportunity to check out new products and technologies, exchange information and pick-up some free stuff!

All are welcome to attend all events, and admission is free.

OCAD University
Great Hall and Lobby, 100 McCaul St., Toronto

For more information about TOOLBOX, visit

TOOLBOX: Materials, Methods, Making: About the Speakers:

Marla Hlady draws, makes sculpture, works with sites and sounds and sometimes makes video. Hlady's kinetic sculptures and sound pieces often consist of common objects (such as teapots, cocktail mixers, jars) that are expanded and animated to reveal unexpected sonic and poetic properties often using a system-based approach to composition. She has shown widely in solo and group shows. Hlady is represented by Jessica Bradley ART + PROJECTS.

Andrew Jones designs furniture and lighting products and residential and commercial interiors. His clients include manufacturers, architects, and government agencies in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Jones received a Bachelor of Architecture degree at the University of Toronto in 1991, and a Master of Arts (Furniture) degree at the Royal College of Art, London, in 1997. He teaches at the University of Toronto John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, and has previously taught at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, OCAD University, and Sheridan Institute College of Crafts and Design. His company, Andrew Jones Design, engages in a wide variety of design for production and architectural design projects, for which he has won numerous national and international awards and inclusion in major exhibitions and public collections. Jones sees his work as part of a design tradition, beginning every project by studying precedents to see where improvements can be made and how a design can be more pleasurable for the user. He looks for direct solutions that achieve more with an economy of material and process, while fulfilling the expressive potential of design. Scale, position, lighting, ease of movement, and elegance of fabrication are fundamental to his approach.

Reinhard Reitzenstein studied at OCAD University, Toronto, 1968-71. From 1971 to 1991, he was represented by the Carmen Lamanna Gallery, Toronto. Since 1993, he has been represented by the Olga Korper Gallery, Toronto, and since 2000 also by Lutz Teutloff Media Projects in Germany. Reitzenstein’s work has consistently taken him into processes exploring ways to interconnect nature, culture, science and technology. His work crosses several disciplines: indoor installation and sculpture using cast, spun and welded metals, wood, glass, photography, digitally processed images; large scale drawings; outdoor tree-based installations and sound art. Reitzenstein has held over one hundred solo exhibitions and participated in some 300 group exhibitions in North America and abroad. He has completed more than a dozen public art commissions along with numerous private commissions. His work is represented in over 40 public and corporate collections internationally, among those are, the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, University of Toronto, Teutloff Collection, Bielefeldt, Germany, CONAC, Caracas, Venezuela, City of Pirkkala, Finland, Fidelity investments, Boston, Mass., Trilogy, Austin, Texas, Tridel Corp.Toronto. Reitzenstein has been an instructor in sculpture and interdisciplinary studies at the University of Guelph, from 1980-1998, Brock University 1991-94, Queens University 1997, Toronto School of Art 1998-2000 and Sheridan College 2000. Since fall of 2000, the Director of the Sculpture Program, SUNY Buffalo.

Tim Whiten is a highly prolific senior-career Canadian artist who has been active in the visual arts community for over 40 years. At present, he divides his time between his home base in Toronto, Canada and his new source of inspiration, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Tim is highly respected by his peers and he has been instrumental in influencing generations of aspiring artists, as Professor of Fine Art at York University since 1968. In addition, Tim actively participates in solo, group and/or ritual-based exhibitions on an annual basis, and his work has been featured in numerous International venues of merit, including exhibitions in Mexico, Brazil, Germany, United States of America, and the Republic of China. His artistic pursuits have long been rooted in the exploration of the transcendental- spiritually, physically and mentally, often incorporating a variety of non-traditional materials from his daily experience, including glass, gum, hair, mud, blood, coffee grinds, juice containers, mirror, etc., in his quest to ‘conceal’ and/or ‘reveal’ our place in the physical world.

About OCAD University (OCADU)
OCAD University ( is Canada’s “University of the Imagination.” The University, founded in 1876, is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD University is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD University community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

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For more information, contact:

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer
416.977.6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327)

smart & OCAD University announce a new design competition to showcase student talent

Thursday, October 6, 2011 - 4:00am

(Toronto—October 6, 2011) This fall, smart Canada, a division of Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc. and OCAD University challenge art and design students in a competition celebrating style, innovation, sustainability and playfulness, by asking students to design a thought-provoking wrap for the smart fortwo.

Organized by OCAD U's Faculty of Art, the competition is open to fourth-year students-individuals and teams-in both the Faculties of Art and Design. The winning concept will be awarded a $5000 prize and a full production of the concept that will be revealed at OCAD U's Project 31 fundraising auction in March, and showcased as part of the university's 98th annual Graduate Exhibition in May. The competition is part of the university's 135th anniversary celebration, and smart Canada is pleased to support the Faculty of Art Innovation Fund, established to leverage innovation of faculty and students through projects and initiatives that support the realization of the Faculty of Art's Academic Plan.

"We are delighted to broaden our existing partnership with smart Canada and Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc. through this unique opportunity, and to have our students conceive a wrap design for one of the most technologically advanced vehicles today," said Dr. Vladimir Spicanovic, Dean of OCAD U's Faculty of Art. "Merging sustainability with artistic imagination and aesthetic innovation is at the core of this exciting project."

"The revolutionary smart fortwo began as an innovative idea from forward-thinking engineers who challenged the status quo. This ground-breaking concept ultimately went on to pioneer an entirely new segment that redefined intelligent transportation here in Canada and around the world," said Richard Trevisan, Director, smart Canada. "Considering our remarkable heritage, there is a natural connection between the smart brand and expressive design. In fact, the smart fortwo's iconic status was reinforced when it became the only automobile still in production to be displayed at the New York Museum of Modern Art. The smart fortwo provides an ideal canvas for students to demonstrate their creativity, and we are extremely proud to sponsor a competition that will provide an outlet to recognize and help cultivate the extraordinary talent that exists in this country."

The competition kicks off in mid-October with an information session for students and the launch of a display of a smart fortwo at the campus for students to contemplate as they prepare their submissions.

About smart Canada
smart Canada is responsible for the sales, marketing and service for the smart brand in Canada. Produced in one of the most modern and environmentally friendly plants in the world in Hambach, France, the smart fortwo is a safe, comfortable and extremely versatile vehicle that offers exceptional fuel consumption and segment-leading low vehicle emissions. Since its launch in Canada in the fall of 2004, smart Canada's nationwide network of 52 dealers across the country have sold over 20,000 smart fortwos. Further information about the smart can be found online at, and

OCAD University (OCAD U): 135 Years of Imagination
OCAD University ( is Canada’s “University of the Imagination.” The University, founded in 1876, is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD University is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD University community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

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Download this release as a PDF file.

Students: Download the competition brief and application form (PDF). Visit the events calendar for the competition schedule. Questions? Contact John Deal in the Faculty of Art at or 416-977-6000 Ext 373.

Media, please contact:

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer, OCAD U
416-977-6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327) 

JoAnne Caza, Director, Communications-Public Relations, Mercedes-Benz Canada

Michael Minielly, Supervisor, Public Relations, Mercedes-Benz Canada

OCAD University appoints Tom Barker as Digital Futures Initiative Program Chair

Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - 5:00am

(Toronto—November 9, 2011) OCAD University announced today it has appointed British designer, technologist and entrepreneur Tom Barker as Chair of its Digital Futures Initiative (DFI) beginning in January 2012.

Barker has worked for 20 years in the built environment, in digital art, architecture and industrial design. Barker's philosophy is based on collaborative continuous learning and embraces innovation, digital space, technology and sustainability. He also has a focus on fusing methods and skills from different disciplines in academia, industry and art.

"Barker's professional practice in architecture, innovation, technology development and design, combined with his demonstrated academic leadership, research excellence and business savvy will guide the continued advancement of our Digital Futures Initiative," said Dr. Sara Diamond, OCAD University President. "We look forward to his joining our excellent team of DFI teaching staff and the contributions he'll bring to our new Digital Futures undergraduate and graduate programs and research initiatives."

Barker will be joined by his partner Marie O'Mahony, who has been appointed as a Professor in OCAD U's Faculty of Design. O'Mahony specializes in the impact of technology on textiles and its application in fashion, design and architecture, including explorations of tradition, the machine and the handmade to achieve performance with material aesthetic qualities. Sustainability, smart materials and systems, cyborgs, biomimicry and hybrid materials are areas of particular research that O'Mahony is developing through her books and a TechnoTextile Library. Industry collaboration is vitally important in all of her work.

Tom Barker
Mdes(Eng) RCA MSt(Cantab) BSc(Hons) DIC FRSA FRCA
Design Fellow Royal Commission of 1851

Prior to joining OCAD University, Tom Barker was appointed as the pan-faculty professor of Architecture, Innovation and Design in the faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). Barker is currently the director of the research Centre for Contemporary Design Practices, the head of the UrbanAid research group, and runs a masters program in Sustainability, Design and Creative Enterprise. His work in academia has run in parallel to that of his practice, formalizing in 2002 with a Course Master appointment to the Architectural Association, followed by a professorship at the Royal College of Art (RCA) in 2005, and a visiting Fellowship at Melbourne's RMIT University in 2007.

Barker has extensive applied experience of business and intellectual property creation, fund raising, innovation development and commercialisation. His current academic research breaks down into three core themes: Design Enterprise - urban creative industries; Urban Digital Media - digital-physical space hybrids; NextGen - next generation affordable housing.

Along with his peers at the RCA, Barker's work contributed to the top UK university ranking for art and design for the 2008 government Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). His submissions included: the SmartSlab digital interactive display system for architectural use with over 15 patents; a hydraulic, composite Graz Austria Opera stage set with Zaha Hadid; Masterplanning software toolbox for JTC Government client in Singapore to help create a new creative industries masterplan; and intelligent low energy lighting with Richard Rogers Architects using advanced sensors and materials, and inspired by deep sea creatures.

As a designer / technologist / entrepreneur, Barker is well known for his organisational and leadership skills in building up academic design and commercial consortia to undertake challenging initiatives, his fund raising ability, and also his extensive commercial links - including Sony Playstation, Bank of America, Proctor & Gamble, Unilever, 3 Mobile, O2 Mobile, B&Q, BenQ, Targetti Lighting, Dyson, McLaren, Sharp Solar, Lend Lease, Arup, and Siemens.

Barker's public profile includes appearances on CNN (USA), Channel 4 (UK), ABC TV and radio (Australia), along with over 100 newspaper and magazine articles.

Marie O'Mahony
BA, PostGradDip (Edinburgh)
Prior to joining OCAD University's faculty, Marie O'Mahony was appointed as Professor of Advanced Textiles at University Technology Sydney (UTS) and Visiting Professor at University of the Arts, London. Her role at UTS is divided between research and teaching in the fashion and textile department and across the design school. Her activities included setting up a new Masters course, creating a TechnoTextiles Library, supervision of PhD and Research Masters students, writing books, book chapters, papers and academic journals. A core priority is building links with industry, such as a fashion project on recycling with Rip Curl sportswear, and new uniforms with integrated technology for Telstra, Australia's main telco provider. She also is a member of the Australian Government's Textile, Clothing and Footwear Innovation Council (TCFIIC).

Prior to taking up the position at UTS O'Mahony was based in London and worked worldwide as a textile and technology consultant for fifteen years. She has worked as an advisor to a wide range of clients on new materials: providing reports on emerging technologies for specific market sectors; problem solving and finding the right materials, manufacturers or technologies for products or applications; organising brainstorming events and symposiums. She is also an author and curator. Books include Cyborg: The Man-Machine (2002) and SportsTech: Revolutionary Fabrics, Fashion and Design (2002) and Techno Textiles 2: Revolutionary Fabrics for Fashion and Design (2007), all published by Thames and Hudson with the forthcoming Advanced Textiles: Design for Wellness and Health scheduled for publication in 2011. Exhibitions curated include Cyborg for the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, The Fabric of Fashion, an international touring exhibition for the British Council and TechnoThreads for Science Gallery, Trinity College, Dublin. Clients include Zaha M. Hadid, Seymour Powell, Ove Arup and Partners, NIKE and Hussein Chalayan.


The Digital Futures Initiative at OCAD University
The launch of OCAD University's Digital Futures Initiative in May of 2007 was made possible through a transformative $2 million annual investment by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities that OCAD University leveraged with support from industrial partners and other provincial and federal ministries.

The Digital Futures Initiative supports student learners to become entrepreneurial and research leaders in a future world of ubiquitous digital technology and communication, as well as enabling them to master contemporary digital skills. Drawing on faculty from across the university and working in collaboration with a broad range of Canadian and international private and public sector partners, the Digital Futures Initiative (DFI) is a set of new cross-disciplinary programs, research, and innovation activities. Minors, a major, a suite of graduate programs and continuing education offerings are providing learning opportunities in digital art, media and design, and ICT, linking this knowledge to emerging technologies with applications in fields such as art/design and science, sustainability, health and wellness, accessibility, diversity, and global innovation and business development.

Key milestones have included:

  • Enhancement and modernization of OCAD University's curriculum: minors, a major and a suite of graduate programs are now offered:
    Digital Futures: Technology/Innovation/Design/Art (DF:TIDA) - BFA, BDes;
    Master's in Inclusive Design (MDes); and
    Digital Futures Graduate program (MA, MDes, MFA, Graduate Diploma);
  • Hiring of six new faculty who are digital leaders and additional hiring of digital experts in other program areas;
  • OCAD University has established has launched successful research and commercialization partnerships, leveraging funding from MTCU (including an additional 7.5 in capital funding) and MRI (9 million) to create the Institute for Digital Media Research and Innovation;
  • Roll-out of Digital Infrastructure across the campus and integration of Digital Tools and teaching methods into all aspects of curriculum;
  • Launch of the Centre for Innovation in Arts & Design Education (CIADE);
  • The multi-institutional/multi-industry Inclusive Design Institute led by OCAD U's Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) of 25 researchers;
  • Launch of the Mobile Experience Innovation Centre (MEIC), a public-private not-for-profit consortium that brings together students and faculty from OCAD U and other universities and colleges with industry leaders in the quest for groundbreaking digital mobile applications.
  • Acquisition of digital resources for teaching and learning
  • Acceleration of online and blended learning.


Digital Futures: Technology/Innovation/Design/Art (DF:TIDA)
New Undergraduate Major at OCAD U
On October 25, 2011, OCAD University announced the newest additon to its undergraduate programs, Digital Futures: Technology/Innovation/Design/Art (DF:TIDA), for which students can now register to begin in September 2012.

DF:TIDA links digital technology and innovation with Design and Art studio practice. Students will graduate with either a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) or a Bachelor of Design (BDes), with a specialization in digital media and related technologies. Prospective students can apply for the program now through the Ontario Universities Application Centre for the 2012/13 academic year.

DF:TIDA students are able to specialize in one of five areas:

  • Physical Computing
  • Games
  • Data Visualisation
  • Inclusive Design
  • Business

Students in the DF:TIDA program will acquire skills in computation, physical computing, data visualization, screen-based media, gaming, and business, and will be well-positioned to work across the digital media sector from either art, design or critical perspectives.

A compete program overview and course guide is available on the OCAD University website.

Graduate Program in Digital Futures
(Graduate Diploma and MA, MDes, MFA)

OCAD University's graduate program in Digital Futures is a unique, practice-based program for future innovators, leaders, and creators of digital media and new technologies. The program is situated within the Digital Futures Initiative (DFI) at OCAD University. Graduates of the program will contribute to the development and application of new knowledge in creative digital technology practices, content, and experiences, providing insights into human needs and desires in a technologically dependent world. Created in partnership with the Canadian Film Centre and University Waterloo at Stratford, the program provides unprecedented opportunities for networking and project development.

The Graduate Program in Digital Futures offers both a Graduate Diploma and Master's (MA, MFA or MDes). The Master's is a full-time practice-based program offered over five semesters. The Graduate Diploma is a course-based six-semester program offered on a part-time basis (with evening courses) in order to provide flexible study options for working professionals and practitioners.

A compete program overview is available on the OCAD University website.

OCAD University (OCAD U): 135 Years of Imagination
OCAD University ( is Canada’s “University of the Imagination.” The University, founded in 1876, is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD University is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD University community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

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For more information contact:

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer
416-977-6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327)