Form & Function Design 2005

From industrial pioneers to industry innovators, these designers create the world's hottest products

McLurkin, who hopes the robots or at least the technology will travel to the Red Planet someday, served as lead research scientist on the Swarm project for the Boston-based robotics firm iRo
bot. He focused primarily on systems-level design and software engineering, but he also had a say in the industrial design, particularly in human-swarm interaction. For example, the bumpskirt on the side of each microbot resembles the hood line of the Honda Prelude. Another striking feature is three large, spherical lights on top of the microbots that blink. “I was inspired by the Macintosh laptop, when they pulse their LAP power light, to go to sleep. … Information is encoded in the blinking pattern so you know what each robot is doing.” His design philosophy is to elevate engineering to a high art, providing the perfect blend of form and function. “I care very much how things look and the feelings that they engender.” –CMB

MICHAEL J. BLYDEN, LONG BEACH, CA, ENGINEERING INTEGRATION SPECIALIST
THE BOEING CO.: When you talk to Michael Blyden, you get the feeling he’s sitting in his office with a pair of flight goggles dangling off his neck. The 48-year-old recipient of the 2005 Black Engineer of the Year award recalls a childhood trip to the airport where he got to sit in the cockpit of a DC-8 freighter airplane. The experience left his mind soaring. With his feet on the ground these days, Blyden is logging hours as an engineering design integration specialist for Boeing, the world’s top aerospace firm. Blyden’s work focuses on the Boeing C-17 Globemaste
r, a massive aircraft currently used by the military for airlifting operations around the globe. C-17 transport planes can house more than 100 U.S. military paratroopers, large tactical vehicles, missiles, and other military weapons. With an estimated 200 projects going simultaneously, the C-17′s design office operates like a direction clearinghouse, reviewing designs to ensure quality and help solve any technical problems that need tweaking. –AC

COURTNEY SLOANE, NEW YORK PRINCIPAL, ALTERNATIVE DESIGN: Creating environments that tell stories is Courtney Sloane’s design philosophy. This concept is exhibited in the 2,000-square-foot Manhattan high-rise office of former Roc-A-Fella Records CEO, Damon Dash. Dash is known for his big persona and his office follows suit. “It is overpowering for anyone who comes into the space. It is about volume. The scale of the furniture, the seating arrangement, everything was made to make you feel
dwarfed. But there also is a subtle elegance about it.” Blending art deco with modern styles, all elements were custom-designed for the suite, which includes a conference center, showroom, waiting area, and full bathroom. An aluminum “Dash” crest is part of the motif of an 8-foot aluminum and walnut desk with leather pulls. A 13-year veteran, Sloane, 43, has designed and created interiors for BET, Sony Music, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Queen Latifah. Set design is a recent foray. Sloane created the living quarters for the first two seasons of UPN’s America’s Next Top Model. She recently teamed

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