Advice From a Master of Transformable Design

FIT graduation with Dr Brown and male faculty member

As he addressed the FIT’s 2018 graduates it became clear that Chuck Hoberman—an inventor, artist, and engineer—was a pioneer whose curiosity and insight had led him to bring the power of transformation to many products and structures.  

“To me, transformation represents a new way of designing,” Hoberman said. “Rather than working with color and form, I’m shaping ways to expand, retract or shape-shift. I believe transformable design is a strategy to adapt to a rapidly changing world, one that can help us achieve a more sustainable future.”

Hoberman is the founder of Hoberman Associates, a multidisciplinary practice that uses transformable principles in a wide range of applications including dynamic architecture, transformable stage sets, consumer products, deployable shelters, and structures for aerospace. Examples of his commissioned work include the transforming video screen for the U2 360° world tour (2009-2011), the Hoberman Arch in Salt Lake City (installed at Medals Plaza for the Winter Olympic Games in 2002), a retractable dome for the World’s Fair in Hanover, Germany (2000), and “Emergent Surface” (2008), a continuously reconfiguring wall that was shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Hoberman holds over twenty patents for his transformable inventions and has won numerous awards for his designs. He is the Pierce Anderson Lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and is an associate faculty member at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.

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