Tec de Monterrey & Center for Futures
Our design department belongs to the south region of Tec de Monterrey's Architecture, Art & Design School. As such we have much in common as our sister campus in Puebla. However, we have made it a mission to have four specific areas of interest that inform our schools direction in Toluca: Tech Based Products, Speculative Design Practice, Social Inovation & Urbanism.
For that purpose, the Center for Futures was set up, as a coordinating entity for the diverse strategic projects that our school seeks to produce fostering valuable collaborations with an assortment of agents.
Projects Currently Running
This are the projects that are currently running at our design school that I am currently overseeing.
In 2017 the architecture department began a relationship with a series of midwives from the Navil region of los Altos de Chiapas. The project mainly is concerned with building houses where they can devleop their work for the community.
Last winter the design department joined the effort, where we set up a collaboration with multidisciplinary artist Amor Muņoz to create Tec's first winter course. Throughout this course, three main objectives were setup.
On one hand students were part of a highly multidisciplinary experience where they managed to combine ethnographic design research, user centered design practice, electronics, artisanal weaving techniques all in contextualized manner by living and collaborating with the Hernandez family from Navil.
Secondly, the project was a collaboration with a highly regarded artist, Amor Munoz, where she could continue her creative exploration and set up the ground for other future diverse projects.
Finally, students were part of a design research project (which is still ongoing) that is concerned with better ways to create empathy within a ethnographic design process.
This project seeks to create an intimate interaction between the design, technology and business mindsets in order to create a single tech based product by the end of a single term, in lieu of taking normal courses. That is, the students selected for this experience have 5 months of mentored, tailored education that intersect these three main pillars of viability, attraction and feasibility.
Currently there are three groups developing products by using a methodology that was originally proposed by Federico Hess and Patricia Torres, and has had some interesting revisions where I changed certain elements and introduced speculative design practice in a more promimnent manner in the early phases of the process.
San Mateo Atenco: Local Shoe Industry
The town of San Mateo Atenco is a known shoe production cluster. Although it certainly does not compare to Leon which produces over 76% or Guadalajara as a state with its nearly 11% of shoe production participation at a national level, San Mateo Atenco fosters nearly 800 small and medium producers that range from family run facilities to some more impressive industrial setups. In Toluca itself, at least three large shoe producers are present including Van Vien and Crucero, which are leaders in the manufacturing and commercialization of industrial shoes.
As a design school, through our social innovation optic, we have a mission to foster the growth of the local industry by aligining their production with present and future models in design, manufacturing and commercialization. Specially interesting to us are the opportunities to explore alternative materialities to the ones they have been traditionally associated with, including the implementation of biomaterials and diverse prototyping mechanisms that are to be explored with the school of engineering.
In parallel to my main work as Head of Department at Tec, I believe that keeping myself active creatively is a way of being a better academic.
Through a series of new and old explorations in diverse realms, I try to understand the nature of creativity. That is, how it is that we create anything, and what are the rules of what works creatively? A constant exploration is trying to understand aesthetics through a diverse range of mediums and how this different explorations inform each other practice. For the time being my main explorations concern woodworking, furniture design and painting. Previous efforts include creative coding & engineering, filmmaking and musical production.
Although I understand and accept the limitations of this extremely wide assortment of interests, I am comfortable now understanding that as a hobby, this wide range of creative endevours help me improve my practice as a design teacher by empowering students to find their way around andy sort of creative block or obstacle they encounter
Lately I have found a sense of comfort in painting. As a creative catharsis, abstact paintings for me represent a way to express a certain degree of creative frustration; that is I realize that I won't have time in this lifetime to materialize everthing I'd like having so many interest. So through abstract pieces I can make an attempt at channeling that creative energy somehow.
I think of creativity as these formless cloud that hangs beyond the material world, much to my intepretation of the same formless that the Daoism expresses. As creative agents, us humans become channels of that creative cloud, to manifest onto the material world the many diverse ways the formless can be expressed.
Through my abstract pieces I try to capture the formless in its raw form, bypassing the need to create more concrete representations.
Furniture Design, Metal and Woodwork (2017 - Present)
I had the rather stubborn idea of not buying furniture and instead creating everything I own in order to develop a bond with my possesions. This has proven to be complicated given the time constraints but ulimately satisfying.
Using an assortment of woods and metal, I have slowly made my own apartment's furniture (it's still a work in progress honestly) and built last year our store, Muchas Gracias.
Past explorations (2016)
Within my time as an undergrad engineering student, I sought to create multidiscipilinary experiences that often had a slight sense of mexicanity in them. This portfolio is a summary of those times.
Creative Engineering Portfolio, 2017
Clapeyron - Music Project
This music project was a shortlived experiment where the goal was to understand the complexity involved in producing an album without any prior music knowledge, using Ableton Live. I'm one of the two monthly Spotify listeners, and continue to think I should dedicate some time to producing a next piece, but frankly I haven't had the time to do so.
While working developing Steed, I developed futurologi as a forum where to create a tapestry of complex future scenarios based on the opinions of various experts.
In this document there is an example of the kind of experience that was created through this conversations and the organizations involved: Futurologi Portfolio
FACEBOOK PAGE - INSTAGRAM - SITE
The essential energy of the project continues to live now, temporarily through the implementation of the Center for Futures at Tec de Monterrey.
Steed is a digital product and innovation consultancy that I co-founded in 2015. Although I continue collaborating with Steed, I have taken a step back in order to fullfil my duties at Tec de Monterrey.
Although right now the main service provided is digital consultancy, our main goal is eventually moving onto innovation consultancy. This of course has proven to be rather hard given that the mexican business environment is slowly coming around to understanding the value behind these methodologies.
Steed developed some interesting online and offline projects, including nuevoingenio.mx, which served as a platform of knowledge and exposure for up and coming talent that intersected technology, design & culture and Muchas Gracias Store, an independent fashion design store in Mexico City.