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2004 World Technology Awards Winners & Finalists

Yves Behar

Please describe the work that you are doing that you consider to be the most innovative and of the greatest likely long-term significance.

To stimulate emotions and touch, is at the center of the human experience. As best as I can, I try to have both elements in every project. I do put the experience of the product at the center of the brands we work with, and the experience from the consumer’s standpoint is physical. Sensuality is quasi absent from the products on the shelves today, or worse when it is objectified in a carricature or literal cliche.

So tactility, protection and sensuality is brought out through the use of different elastomers and fabrics, as well as ergonomic and sometimes ambiguous forms. Technology will play a big part of the next generation of products, while bringing a personal and emotional connection…what I call “technology with humanity”.

In a more global environment, where the notion of beauty, fit, lifestyle and ergonomics is getting more and more diverse the chalenge is to create adaptable concepts that address this diversity rather than just more products. Rather than selling a specific idea of what beauty is or is not, products will be more personal, customized and unique. They will evolve with the user, to be “part of my life”, solving individual need. Products will be adapted to contemporary life, in a very personal way, integrated to other products of the everyday and of course portable.

This evolution towards customized products will go beyond aesthetics and into the realm of function and ergnomics : a “personal fit” will lead to new challenges for the design of products. This is a concept we clearly designed into the SFMOMA Learning Shoe, where the consumer returns to the store after wearing a shoe not only for a new style, but also for a product that will be ergonomically customized through data collected during the experience of the first product purchased.

Brief Biography

Yves Béhar is the founder of fuseproject, an integrated design firm dedicated to the development of the emotional experience of brands through story-telling. The diverse experience and mediums practiced by the fuseproject design teams span products, fashion, graphics, packaging, environments and strategy. Béhar’s designs and creative positioning is contributing in areas as diverse as technology, sports, lifestyle and fashion, for clients such as Birkenstock, Herman Miller, MINI, Nike, Microsoft, Hussein Chalayan, Toshiba, haasprojekt, Hewlett Packard, PUIG and Philou.

Béhar’s unique perspective of design and story development has resulted in his designs being internationally recognized in museums and competitions alike. Two solo museum shows recently opened which feature Béhar’s work – one at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and another at the Musée de design et d'arts appliqués contemporains in Lausanne, Switzerland. Awards have been received from IDEA/BusinessWeek, Red Dot, ID Magazine, D&AD and If Industrie Hanover, and his work can be found in the permanent design collection of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, the SFMOMA, the Munich Museum of Applied Arts and the Chicago Athenaeum Museum.

Most recently Béhar was asked by MINI, a division of BMW, to design a signature collection of lifestyle products under the MINI_motion name (launched in September 2003). He has also signed a new brand direction and 2 new lines of Birkenstock shoes called Footprints and Birki’s by evolving the Birkenstock traditional look adding his own experience and interests in new recyclable technologies.

Prior to founding fuseproject in 1999, Béhar held the position of design leader at frogdesign and Lunar design in Silicon Valley, developing product identities with clients such as Apple computers, Hewlett Packard and Silicon Graphics. Béhar studied industrial design in Europe and the US, and holds a B.S. of Industrial Design from the Art Center College of Design.