Project 01  Academic Strategies + Implementation

Design Academy


As a Masters graduate in Industrial Design and Artistic Director of the FunLab at the Design Academy Eindhoven, Cynthia Hathaway’s work resonates the mix of the concrete and the poetic. Known as one of the top International Design Schools, the DAE’s conceptual and project-orientated approach to Industrial design education develops Alumni that are leaders and innovators in the field. Students can choose from Undergraduate and Master’s departments that describe the range of human activity in relation to design. Undergrad departments such as “Man and Living”, Man and Communication”, “Man and Well-Being”, “Man and Leisure”, “Man and Identity”, “Man and Public Space” and the Master departments IM, Man and Humanity and FunLab are orientations that place the self and the value of self in relation to the world-at-large. The strength of the DAE and its educational programs lay foremost with the professionalism and skill of its teachers. More than 100 top design professionals in their respective fields bring the students into contact with the fullest range of thought and practice.
The student body is comprised of 600 students including 100 International students from all over the globe. 

The DAE has benefited from stimulating and productive relationships for project content with representatives from the business community such as Philips, Nike, Swarovski, Ikea, Bombay Sapphire and Unilever.


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Project 02  Academic Strategies + Implementation

Funlab general

As Artistic Director and a teacher of the FunLab Masters course at the Design Academy from 2002-2006, Cynthia Hathaway developed and safe-guarded the entire program, from vision/content and project development, selection of guest teachers and lecturers, and providing research support for both project and thesis needs. Hathaway developed the FunLab to be an important addition to Product Design, providing an education that is geared more towards behavioural rather than object design. The course focuses on the economy and consumption of designs of experience that are imbedded culturally and have implications beyond the quick fix of entertainment such as that found in theme parks and entertainment zones. A careful blend of scenario and choreography, routing and activity design generates inspirational and transformative designs of experience and identity. Students learn to research, analyse, plan, visualize, and present ideas and concepts in tangible forms such as an event, ritual or activity in which people are activated to participate. Over the years, students have worked on themes such as cult, lust for fear, sanctuary and obsession, and more specific subjects such as public space and commemoration, theme parks and identity, play and toys, food and ritual, and amateur expertise in hobby and sport.

A rooster of international teachers supported the FunLab such as Li Edelkoort (trend forecaster, Paris), Willem de Ridder (radio story teller and excursion artist), Joost Swarte (illustrator and architect), Susanne Piet (Psychologist), Tyler Whisnand (KesselsKramer Advertizing and Communication), Gustaf Beumer (philosopher and fashion critic), Herman Verkerk (Interior and Architectural Designer) and George Brugmans (documentary filmmaker). During the course, FunLab students have travelled the globe, designing transformative landscapes for a monumental park in Holland inspired by Worlitz, Germany, invented multimedia projects on location in Las Vegas, and combined food and ritual in Barcelona, Spain.


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Project 03  Academic Strategies + Implementation

Funlab projects

Many FunLab designs are exposed, tested, inspired and accepted through the installment of an activity, event, or an action in the city. Places where the FunLab-er and/or his design is seen and experienced are where people accumulate and interact: neighbourhoods, living rooms, restaurants, traffic jams, music festivals, supermarkets, carwashes, train stations, museum exhibition halls, playgrounds, dog shows, game shows, churches, clubs and bars and airports. In places such as these, FunLab can take the opportunity to construct designs that can join people together in memorable, uplifting and transformative experiences.

FunLab has collaborated with many associations and companies, including De Efteling Themepark, ProRail, Vereniging van Openbare Bibliotheken (Library Association of Holland), KesselsKramer, Mariscal Studios, the Lichtenberg Association and the Gemeente Eindhoven. With KesselsKramer’s Tyler Whisnand, FunLab students are each given a lost-and-found suitcase from which he is to create and become the persona suggested by its contents. Via persona/scenario construction and daily-choreographed productions, the new persona is tested in the real world. These Designs of Experience exposes students to the creation of identity, where the projection and legitimization of a persona is a staged production. With Tyler Whisnand and the Eindhoven City Council, the FunLab created identity packages for the city, which re-adjusted the existing uni-slogan “ The City of Technology” to reflect a more diverse and celebratory sense of place. For four months, students researched a given location in the city off the “main drag” such as a neighbourhood, a caravan park, and an industrial area and were asked to create a street event, a fashion line, a tourist itinerary, or a line of food inspired by the place and its persons. FunLab student Emily Tepper created a boxing event in an historical industrial area fragile to re-zoning laws and created an outlet to expose the pride of workers who belong to “De Hurk”. Tepper’s event also illuminated the importance of a section of Eindhoven that often goes unnoticed, but can boost of being the original bloodline for Eindhoven’s identity and its citizens.


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Project 04  Academic Strategies + Implementation

Funlab student projects

The FunLab Student has 4 projects and a thesis to complete in order to graduate from this 2 - year Masters course. Examples of FunLab student projects are Ann de Gersem’s “Penance and Design” Accessories that combine on the spot penance during your day-to-day routine. Wearable jewellery creates religious posturing and an economical way to avoid pilgrimage to far-off places. Ann de Gersem’s Sanctuary Fashion Line creates with ease and speed instant sanctuary when needed in public spaces. Existing rituals such as marriage are re-defined by Shen Ying’s Marry Me project, to support the “ I Am” in a society that emphasizes egotistical freedom. The traditional ritual of marriage is here collapsed upon the marriage of and to oneself in the PSV Football stadium in Eindhoven. William Wilson's Vintage Characters of toys turned inside out create new play and interaction rituals. Maarten Laan instigated an Elderly Football Match in the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam, inspiring the pure love for a sport and the empowerment of a group who normally is overlooked by the sports industry.


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Project 05  Academic Strategies + Implementation

Technical University

Eindhoven, The Netherlands

In 2006, Hathaway was invited to be a teacher at the TUE, in the Industrial Design Masters Department and the “Empowering People and Transformation” Track. With experience from her FunLab days of Behavioural and Experience Design, Hathaway was asked to help develop concepts of Empowerment with technical and user focused design students. “Special attention is paid to the Extreme User, and a special lifestyle, a special power, or as a situation in which the extreme user is ahead of the crowd or is in a phase in which others are just not there yet."  Examples of an extreme user include children with tourettes syndrome and architectural and product design possibilities, widowed elderly women living alone and communication devices, and blind mountain bike racers and technology. Hathaway’s lectures at the TUE include  “Obsession and Train Hobbyists” and “Redemption through the Fake: 1939 World’s Fair and Las Vegas”  and “Madurodam: Simulation as Perfect Chaos”. Hathaway is also advisor to final graduation projects and company/industry partnerships through stages or project development.


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