The CCA Design Futures Lab is a project of the CCA MFA Design Program.

Design Futures Lab

The world is moving in rapid, lateral directions. We are experiencing a paradigm-shift in everything from manufacturing, to currency, to information exchange, to urban engagement. Design has a vital and exciting role to play in the shaping of these new structures, and in shaping the future of our cities, our objects, and our interactions. Design Future Lab takes this charge, designing and testing innovating ideas and shaping both the form and values of our future cities and environment. Located in the heart of the Bay Area tech industry, and housed in the vibrant art and design community of California College of the Arts, we are in a unique position to engage both industry innovation and speculative creation.

We are makers, questioning the possibilities of the technology, material, and form the future will take through testing, experimenting, and prototyping. As the leading graduate design program in the Bay Area, we are in a unique position to not just engage the industries shaping the technologies and products of the future, but to shape them with more equitable, adaptable, and innovative approaches.

Future of Media and Technology

Design plays a crucial role in our experience and access to media and technology platforms. Our world is increasingly mediated. The Design Futures Lab focuses on the implications of these systems, understanding what they allow and disallow, and speculating on value systems and engagements possible. This work is hands-on, building experiences and interactions which jointly construct and change our connections to our environments, cities, and social networks.

  • Fake news
  • digital addiction
  • future tech
  • social media
  • surveillance
  • privacy

Future of Materials and Production

The products and materials of our world are the end points of global logistics and supply chain networks. New forms of manufacturing, from mass-customization to on-demand production, have exciting implications on what we can make and who has access to production. The Design Futures Lab investigates these new potentials through the development of new materials and new forms of making (3D Printing, composite casting, and on-demand production). Designers can impact product development from what we make, to the forms it takes, to the material composition and production methodology.

  • 3D Printing
  • on-demand
  • manufacturing
  • material experimentation

Future of Sustainability and Ecology

Our world is in flux, and issues of urban and ecological concerns can no longer be distinguished. In the time of the Anthropocene, designers have a large role to play in the creation of a more equitable, adaptable, and resilient world. At Design Futures Lab, we explore cradle-to-cradle product cycles, connections between the built and biological, and remediating materials. These exciting new forms of design have exciting implications for the construction of the future.

Future of Form and Aesthetics

Form and aesthetics change as the tools we use change, and the technologies we use to produce and reproduce imagery. Web formats, AI art, algorithmic reproductions, and glitch aesthetics all point to both new types of forms and new types of form-making. Design Futures Lab is a space of experimentation on the implications of these tools and mentalities on graphics and formal questions of design and beauty looking towards a future of new interface and imaging.