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Designing the future with Yves Béhar

Proteus Underwater Station, created by Fabien Cousteau and Yves Béhar

Proteus Underwater Station, created by Fabien Cousteau and Yves Béhar

For episode 23 of Our Create Tomorrow podcast we caught up with Swiss-born San-Francisco-based designer Yves Béhar, CEO and founder of fuseproject. His practice explores the nexus between design and technology, with a strong focus on sustainability and a dash of optimistic punk-meets-freewheeling-West-Coast attitude thrown in. 

One of Béhar’s best known creations is the distinctive Jambox bluetooth speaker for Jawbone, but his diverse portfolio includes sustainable shoe packaging Clever Little Bag for Puma, Samsung’s slick The Frame TV, the Vue watch for Issey Miyake and the Hive Connected Home for British Gas.

Yves Béhar, photography Justin Buell

Yves Béhar, photography Justin Buell

Recently he completed two very en pointe designs, ideal for a time when self-care and wellbeing are top of mind for many consumers. FORME Life is an at-home smart workout station which resembles a mirror and the Opus SoundBed is an emotional fitness platform designed to aid meditation.

The DNA of an Yves Béhar project is pushing design and technology boundaries to forge new territories, often light years ahead of the mainstream. Here are some of the highlights from our conversation.

FORMELife fitness station by Yves Béhar

FORMELife fitness station by Yves Béhar

Venture design equals better design

“Venture design was both a way to find a different business model for design, which I think is important, as well as simply doing better work. Better design work isn’t something that’s done over three months or a year, it’s when you’re supporting a new business or an existing business – from conception, branding, features, technology and design to go to market and marketing. All of these critical areas for new business really benefit from the point of view of design. So venture design is a way to change the business of design, but it’s also a way to do better design work.”

On sustainability

“One very interesting statistic for me is that 80% of sustainability decisions made on a product or service happen during the design and development stage. It means that designers’ ideas, knowledge, ability to propose something different – an alternative that is environmentally more sustainable – is an opportunity and a responsibility that we have. We have a much bigger voice during this early development stage than later on, so this is where we need to double down and be listened to.”

The Ocean Cleanup sunglasses by Yves Béhar

The Ocean Cleanup sunglasses, created from plastic recovered from the ocean, by Yves Béhar

The fabric of tech

“Over the years I’ve learned that there are ways to envision both near and future technology. For some projects going forward into the future makes sense, but for a startup you have to be a little closer to reality, even though you may be the first to market, like with the August smart lock or  the Jambox portable speaker. For me, technology is really like fabric, you can shape it, you can cut it, you can sew it into anything you want. It’s important not to be in love with technology, but rather just use it for a purpose and that the purpose be people driven.”

Tune in to Episode 23 of our Create Tomorrow podcast: A Design for Life with Yves Béhar on Anchor, Apple and Spotify.

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