Maker Monday: An Aspire Exclusive Interview With David Schwarz

Experimentation, innovation, and methodical production encompass the interactive experience design firm, HUSH. David Schwarz is one half of the founders that make up this wildly technologically motivated firm. Their goal with each project is to create unique and unforgettable experiences that connect with audiences by combining digital technology and physical space. HUSH is known globally for its work and has had the opportunity to design for powerhouse brands such as Google, UBER, and Nike. Introducing this week’s Maker Monday, David Schwarz of HUSH.

In Instagram’s new downtown San Francisco office, you can find HUSH’s “Light Forest.”

Andrew Joseph: You’re the newest Crayola color. What color are you and why?
David Schwarz: Yves Klein blue. The newest always references the best of history.

Andrew: Favorite piece of clothing you own?
David: A shin-length, dropped lapel wool coat in camel color by OAK. When I stumbled on this a couple of years ago online, I was compelled to find my size and hunt it down. I almost always get a compliment from a stranger when I wear it, so I did something right. I like it so much, I actually stopped wearing it a lot because I didn’t want to wear it out!

Another angle of the Instagram “Light Forest” space created by HUSH. This installation is a reflection of Instagram’s ability to combine engineering and creativity through a three-dimensional audio-visual experience.

Andrew: What is something you hope to see trending in design in the future?
David: A comprehensive sustainability metric to apply to end-to-end experience design that becomes as commonplace and standardized as LEED and WELL in buildings, Captcha in security and authentication, or the ingredients label on a peanut butter jar. Internally, this would hold design studios accountable for making sustainability-related decisions more consciously in our process. Externally, our clients can effectively evaluate the impacts of their design decisions on their own sustainability missions.

Andrew: If you had a superpower, what would it be?
David: My superpower would be (is?) guessing what everyone around a conference room table (or these days, a Zoom interface) is thinking.

Andrew: Style (or design) icon?
David: Donald Judd. He made simple, look simple.

In this interactive experience at the Facebook Global Partner Center, guests interact with a plinth below a 40ft LED lighting installation, prompting animated data visualizations of key social media movements on the FB platform.

Andrew: If you weren’t a designer, you’d be a ….?
David: Psychologist. Not necessarily a good one. I think I have an uncanny knack for understanding people’s motivations and behaviors and helping orchestrate better dialogue and communication. How I would perform in the formal practice of Psychology, I don’t know.

Andrew: What are your ideal weekend plans?
David: Upstate New York. Get up early for a trail run or hike when it’s warm, or a few hours of skiing in the winter. Exercise the dog. In the summer, go to an art park, sculpture garden or some kind of nature and art combination. Build something with my hands or fun power tools. Chop some wood. Make a drink. Build a fire. Eat dinner, read and go to sleep early. Repeat.

Above is HUSH’s “Deep City” installation in Google’s NYC headquarters. The goal of this piece is to remind guests that their own gestures, movements and voice are not only translated physically, but that “data” can also be expressed digitally.

Andrew: Must-have clothing item everyone should own?
David: Interesting socks.

Andrew: Describe your design style as if you were explaining it to someone who cannot see.
David: Picture nothingness. Then add one thing.

About The Maker | David Schwarz is an award-winning creative leader who’s spent his career designing brand experiences that integrate content, interactivity, architecture and technology. David has been featured in numerous publications like Creativity, Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, Communication Arts, Cool Hunting, FWA, The Hub, among others. He’s spoken at conferences for AIGA, The One Show, SEGD, SXSW, AdWeek, Cannes Lions, FITC, among others. He is also a mentor at New, Inc., the New Museum’s incubator program for art, technology, and design.

Internally, David focuses on making “space” for creativity. This means cultivating studio environments that foster collaboration and trust, that promote democratic contribution, and generate an open source repository of cultural, stylistic, and technological knowledge to inspire teams.

Andrew Joseph is a regular contributing editor for aspire design and home magazine. See more of his work here.

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