The idea for the Design Lab was born out of a student initiative with the support of faculty member, Anne-Laure Fayard. In the spring of 2012, the OpenIDEO Student Chapter at NYU (now Design for America of NYU) used the design thinking process to launch an open innovation called ‘My Vibrant Campus,’ inviting students to collaboratively design spaces and services in and around the campus that would address a clear need for a space where students could meet, work, and get inspired.
From this challenge emerged the Greenhouse, a space aimed at fostering innovation, collaboration and cross-pollination of talents across the NYU community, which offered programming and support to students through a VentureWell grant. Since its inception, the Greenhouse has evolved and was rebranded to strengthen the vision, reach a wider audience, and increase engagement opportunities. It led to conversations about the need for more prototyping spaces and in 2018 it was brought under the NYU MakerSpace and renamed the Design Lab, to ensure continued support and maintain growth.
Each year, the Design Lab has continued to expand its offerings and capabilities to students and the NYU community. In order to do this, the Design Lab has grown it’s team, hiring Christina Lafontaine, a full time Design Lab Manager dedicated to the planning and managing of all educational programming. The Design Lab Faculty Advisor, Anne-Laure Fayard is actively involved in the devising of the strategy and direction of the programming as well as leading specific programs such as the Prototyping Fund. Victoria Bill, Director of the MakerSpace supports and steers the lab’s long term vision. The Design Lab’s day to day initiatives continue to be powered by a team of undergraduate and graduate students from diverse departments and programs with an interest in design thinking and innovation. The team works together to engage the NYU community by cultivating collaboration, nurturing students’ creative confidence, and encouraging new connections, fostering a community of future creative technologists, critical thinkers, and social innovators.