Cultured Magazine

Winter 2015

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Page 317 of 363

PORTRAIT BY JUSTIN BUELL, COURTESY OF FUSEPROJECT YVES BÉHAR INDUSTRIAL DESIGNER When Design Miami threw a party in his honor in September, announcing him as the recipient of its 2015 Design Visionary Award, Béhar spoke to the crowd via Skype rather than in person—he had been tied up in a meeting with Hillary Clinton. Widely credited for his pioneering industrial designs, Béhar is the chief designer at Fuseproject, an industrial design and branding firm he founded in 1999. He is also the chief creative officer at Jawbone, which produces wearable and audio consumer electronics, and the co-founder of the home entry system August. Béhar's humanitarian projects include One Laptop Per Child, which has provided more than three million laptops to children in the developing world. Such is OLPC's influence in Africa that the 500-franc bill in Rwanda shows a group of school children studying on the now ubiquitous computers. Béhar was also instrumental in setting up See Better to Learn Better, which distributes prescription eyeglasses to thousands of schoolchildren in Mexico. He and his partners plan to expand the program to other countries. "I always have seen design as an agent for change—it accelerates the adoption of new ideas," says Béhar, who sits on the board of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. "What design preoccupies itself with is the human condition. Other fields like technology preoccupy themselves with speed and features, but design puts the human at the center of the process. From that standpoint, social projects or commercially driven projects are actually very similar." As a result of his Design Visionary award, Béhar's work will be on display Dec. 2-6 at Design Miami, where he will "show in- depth the processes around some of the humanitarian and design projects we have done," he says. "I am eager to show that a product doesn't just appear—it is something that is thought through and agonized over for years. I will be showing how some of these ideas came to life." Béhar will also be presenting other aspects of his work, including his "venture design approach" and furniture. "So it will be a nice way," he says, "to round out the story of the last 15 years of my life." —Charlotte Burns 316 CULTURED

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