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Saturday, August 24, 2019

Alumni

Former student wins design competition


Former industrial design student, Mariel Piña, said growing up in Juarez, Mexico contributed to the development of Ambos (above), a kitchen tool that combines a grater and a colander.  |  Courtesy of Cynthia Greenwood

Former industrial design student, Mariel Piña, said growing up in Juarez, Mexico contributed to the development of Ambos (above), a kitchen tool that combines a grater and a colander. | Courtesy of Cynthia Greenwood

A graduate from UH’s industrial design program took first place at the 19th annual Student Design Competition with her innovative design, Ambos, a combination of a grater and a colander.

Mariel Piña said she started thinking about combining tools when she realized that many single-function kitchen tools are underused.

Piña worked for 16 weeks on the project, extracting some design principles from objects used in 20th century Mexico and applying them in a modern setting.

Piña was raised in Juarez, Mexico until she was 18 and moved to El Paso to start college. She said her background had a lot to do with how she came up with her design.

“Part of my research was based on my  grandma’s setting in the 1900s and what she did in the kitchen,” she said.

She traveled to Chihuahua, Mexico where the runners of the Tarahumara culture live.

“(The Tarahumara) don’t have any of the modern things we have, they’ve lived in caves for 400 years, so it was a very interesting contrast,” she said.

Along with the first place prize money, Piña also won a trip to Chicago for the International Home & Housewares Show in March, where there will be 60,000 professional attendees, 2,000 exhibitors  from over 35 countries, 15,000 US buyers and 6,000 international buyers from 100 countries on 6 continents: North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa.

“There’s going to be vendors from all around the world, you can take a camera but you can’t take any pictures of anything. I’m sure everybody’s going to be all over the winners (of the Student Design Competition) because they’re looking for talent for their own firms or for the next big product, so I’m very excited,” she said. “I heard it’s life changing.”

In her future, she said she would like to do some freelance design.

“I’m interested in everything,” she said.

“The research is the most interesting part, so I don’t know exactly what I want to do, but I’m open for anything.”

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