10 Questions With... Vijay Charkavarthy | Eastman Innovation Lab

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10 Questions With...

10 Questions With... Vijay Charkavarthy

12 October 2016

At the Eastman Innovation Lab we look to our fellow design and materials experts for inspiration, community, and expertise. In order to get to know them and their projects better, we created a column called Ten Questions With...

With 12+ years of global experience working with premier brands, corporations and design consultancies, his expertise is in delivering meaningful solutions that facilitate better business while being human centered. Being interested and enthused by design at such a young age launched him into his exciting career path as an Industrial Designer. He has worked with many well known companies such as Dell, IDSA and Michael Graves Architect and Design firm as Senior Design Strategist and Researcher.

What is the company Michael Graves known for?

Michael Graves is primarily known for changing the game when it comes to architecture. While everyone was going towards the modernistic approach, Michael Graves wanted his architecture to fit with humans, not necessarily squares and cubes. We have materials, architecture, graphic design that all work with humanistic design.

How does your team deal with challenges on a project?

When something doesn’t work we start from scratch again and take a part all the pieces. Bumps in the road to us are more like direction rudders.

What is the next project that you’re most excited to work on?

We are in the midst of working with a company rethinking washrooms. The more research we have done on how people use washrooms, the more we figure out that it’s not the best experience and we can do better.

What themes do you find yourself addressing over and over again?

I stick to the theme that everything we design is for humans. We might be excited about technology and certain cultural factors, but in the end it all comes down to the people who use it. It is also humans who make it and have an impact on the environment and society with what they use. We always gravitate towards the theme that we are designing for humans.

How do materials matter to you?

If we designers are people who have a bunch of ideas in our heads and whether we design in our heads, or design services, products or architecture in the end it’s all made up of the material world. Our senses are primarily linked to the way we draw information from our environment. If we were to be designers who want to make our dreams come true, we’ve got to understand materials.

Who is doing work that you find inspiring?

I follow companies like Boeing, Microsoft, and Apple. I think it’s the products and the ideas that inspire me more than companies.

What advice would you give yourself ten years ago?

I would have told myself to immerse myself in more events and been more engaged with people. While I was out learning the skills of industrial design and making things happen, because the more I got to know people better, I could relate my designs to them.

What technology gets you excited?

The idea of mobility with technology is something that always has inspired me.

What would you like to get better at?

What I bring to the table is that I can listen to everybody and come up with ideas based on what everybody said. I want to push myself to do things outside my comfort zone and that I have not done, so that I can ultimately know more.

What is your go-to reference book?

The internet. I am drawn towards psychology and engineering.


Coffee or tea?

Neither- I eat dark chocolate

Kindle or book?


Sketch or build?


What are you reading right now?

Creativity by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Where do you go online to get inspiration?