innovation | December 12, 2012

Mitchell Joachim's ONE Lab: A "University Without Walls"

"The most important thing is to dream," Mitchell Joachim tells Brooklyn-based designer Vito Acconci in a discussion at the Design Miami conference. While that advice may seem a bit cliché, he says that it is important to keep the creative spark alive throughout the entire design process. This can become especially hard when you move from the concept to construction phase, aso real world constraints can take the romanticism away from design. Joachim says it's important to try to maintain that forward-thinking imagination throughout the process.

Joachim (a TED Fellow and urban designer) recently hosted a new program at his design studio ONE Lab aimed at thinking differently about design solutions for the future. ONE Lab is an interactive and interdisciplinary design school that allows students to collaborate on new projects and continuously challenge themselves creatively. The month-long program is called "Future Cities" and focuses on the socio-ecological exploration of the metropolis of tomorrow. The alternative curriculum featured lectures from some of the world's top creative minds—including Lavin's Janna Levin, who is a faculty member at the Lab—as well as hands-on group projects that included constructing models of the cities the students designed. The program also helps the students think holistically, because the individual portion that they design must also fit into the greater collection of work done by the rest of the group. Joachim says the beauty of his program is that it brings people together in a "university without walls" with the singular purpose of innovating.

Joachim is a partner at Planetary ONE and the Co-President of Terreform ONE and often merges design with the environment by adapting sustainable, ecological principles for architecture, transportation, and environmental planning. His work is disruptive yet practical, and his talks inspire us to rethink our approach to urban environments—and to design as a whole.