Student Spotlight: Björn Rust

“Never delegate understanding”, believed Charles Eames, and yet as the nature of our lives becomes increasingly abstract, we have little choice but to delegate a great number of things. Among them is our duty to act. While action without understanding may be foolish, understanding without action is irresponsible. Nevertheless, this is where I find myself, burdened with an understanding, as cursory as it may be, of the delicate state of the world, while taking no measurable action.

I have long believed design to be a powerful catalyst. As a student of communication design, I learned of its persuasive power. As an architectural assistant, I learned of its impact; but it was not until becoming an industrial designer that I began to fully appreciate just how world-changing design could be. Since then I have expressed my craft in many ways, although never fully articulating this world-changing potential.

I haven’t practised industrial design for some time now, as I have been searching for new ways to implement design in a less literal fashion. I have become a post-industrial designer, in more ways than one. The Masters of Disaster, Design, and Development represents my first meaningful steps toward decisive action in support of the environment and its people. I am hopeful that the marriage of design, science, and the humanities present in this program will help equip my colleagues and I to respond to the changing needs of others in an uncertain future.

These words are far too grandiose, and yet as the influential ad man Rob Siltanen wrote, “the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do”. That probably won’t be me, but it might be all of us collectively. All the crazy ones.

– Bjorn Rust