Yusca Studio: innovative design for environmental sustainability
Yusca Studio has gained recognition for their award-winning sustainable furniture collection for children, Hi Mer!, which is made from upcycled marine waste material
Yusca Studio is an innovative design studio founded in 2021 by Yu-Ying and Dorian Tosca, selected among the ten winners of the DesignWanted Award 2023 edition. Both hailing from different parts of the world, Taiwan and Switzerland, they found common ground in their shared concerns about the environment.
Their goal is to deliver unique and creative designs that are not only visually striking, but also socially and environmentally responsible. With diverse backgrounds in industrial design, branding, and photography, they offer an approach to each project that encompasses every aspect, from the initial concept and research phase to the design, mass production, and final visual communication.
Yusca Studio has gained recognition for their award-winning sustainable furniture collection for children, Hi Mer!, also winner of the DesignWanted Award 2023 edition, which is made from upcycled marine waste material.
Their design philosophy is rooted in the belief that every product they create should provide a meaningful solution to improve people’s lives or the planet. Yusca Studio is dedicated to developing ambitious projects that benefit a part of the population, with a continued focus on pushing the limits of upcycled materials and exploring new possibilities for everyday life.
We inquired further about their background and work in this interview.
What is Yusca studio? How did your design journey begin?
“We founded Yusca Studio in 2021 (official website). When we first met in 2019, Yu-Ying was pursuing her master’s degree in product design at ECAL in Lausanne, while Dorian had graduated from the Vevey School of Applied Arts in Switzerland and was working as a photographer.
The first project that we collaborated on was Yu-Ying’s diploma project “Tofu to-go”. (It was a project dedicated to creating another environmentally friendly protein option for westerners. The project has won the Swiss Design Award in 2020).
Despite coming from different parts of the world – Taiwan and Switzerland – we found common ground in our shared concerns about the environment. As we collaborated on various projects, we discovered that our cultural differences actually provided a wider perspective and allowed for a fusion of unique thinking angles.
With our diverse backgrounds and complementary skill sets, we decided to bring our talents together and establish our design studio. Our goal is to deliver innovative designs that are not only visually striking but also socially and environmentally responsible.”
Why Yusca studio, why focusing on industrial design and photography?
“With Yusca Studio, we dedicate ourselves to developing ambitious projects that can benefit a part of the population. Our main goal is to simplify people’s lives by providing creative solutions to their needs, and we remain committed to exploring new ways to make a positive impact on individuals through our work.
We have different backgrounds in industrial design, branding, and photography. From start to finish, our approach to each project encompasses every aspect, from the initial concept and research phase to the design, mass production, and final visual communication.
Our individual strengths complement each other seamlessly, allowing us to cover each step of the project with ease. Our focus is on delivering unique and creative designs that not only impress with their product design but also stand out through innovative presentation and visual communication.”
Your studio won the DesignWanted Award with Hi Mer!, a children’s sustainable furniture collection. How did you come up with the idea?
“The idea behind Hi Mer!, a sustainable children’s furniture project originated from our shared concern about the amount of garbage in the world’s oceans. Taiwan is a small island surrounded by the sea. We have seen firsthand how the beautiful coastline has become inundated with trash, making it impossible to enjoy the scenery.
Working in collaboration with our Taiwanese partner, Roger Hsu from TZULAï, and a local factory, we developed a process for converting marine waste into a solid material. We then decided to use this material to create children’s furniture, as it has a relatively short lifespan of around seven years, after which it is usually disposed of or stored away.
By using upcycled materials, we hope to create a more sustainable solution that is also durable enough to withstand the challenges of coastal environments. Once the children outgrow the furniture, the material can be recycled again, further reducing waste and promoting eco-friendliness.”
How would you describe your design philosophy? What are the aspects that you focus on the most when developing new products?
“At our core, our design philosophy is rooted in the belief that every product we create should provide a meaningful solution to improve people’s lives or the planet. As industrial designers, we understand the responsibility we have to carefully consider the potential impact our designs could have on the world.
We strive to avoid creating products that could become waste and focus on developing designs that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing so that users will cherish and keep them for a long time. Throughout the design process, we carefully consider every aspect of the product’s lifecycle, from its production to its eventual disposal, to ensure that our designs are sustainable and have a positive impact on the world.”
From an industrial design perspective, which are your vital tools, resources, and methods for you during the design process?
“One of the most important resources is our ability to find and work with factories that have the capabilities to produce high-quality products at scale. Additionally, staying up-to-date with the latest technology is crucial in order to incorporate innovative features into the design.
During the design process, we also like to imagine the environment in which the product will be used and consider the needs and preferences of the user generation.”
What do you believe are the main trends & future directions within product design and what do you think of them?
“We believe that sustainable and user-centered designs are currently on-trend, as they provide solutions that address the challenges and needs of society while minimizing environmental impact. Additionally, there is a growing trend toward the integration of smart technology into everyday products. This has the potential to transform how we interact with products, ranging from home appliances to transportation.
For the future direction, apart from sustainable and smart technology, there is also an increasing interest in designing products that cater to aging populations. As the global population continues to age and many people work for longer periods, it is essential to create products that can adapt to the changing needs of seniors.
These may include mobility aids, assistive technology, and healthcare products that can enhance the quality of life and independence of older individuals.”
What is the next step for Yusca studio?
“The next step for Yusca Studio involves a continued focus on pushing the limits of the upcycled marine waste material. With our partner TZULAï, we aim to experiment with various manufacturing techniques to explore new possibilities for shapes and forms that this recycled material can take on.
In addition to this, we are also actively researching and developing other solutions for everyday life.”