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Vimal Balu

VIMAL BALU: Building Bridges Across Disciplines

"What I value about making is understanding how my designs touch people's lives.
There's a lot of design that inhibits and impedes.
I'd like to use design to enable."


Vimal Balu, OCAC MFA in Industrial Design (MFA ID) student, understands the relevance of an art degree in today’s economy. “Our entire existence, or our entire reality, is complemented by art and design,” he explains. "This program (OCAC's MFA ID) in particular, focuses on making in industrial design—places craft into industrial design—which is interesting because industrial design today is mostly concerned with manufacturing. This program asks where is craft’s role in that."

An entrepreneur at heart, Vimal is committed to building bridges across disciplines in design and business. Alongside his MFA ID studies, Vimal serves as Student Commonwealth President and transformed an internship with OCAC alumni Joe Gibson, founder of Revolution Design House, into a paid position in his field. "To be able to span different markets as a boutique furniture firm really is a testament to the quality of an OCAC education," he says of Joe's achievements.

"How I ideally want to affect people is to improve their lives."

Part of what makes OCAC such a unique learning environment is the cross–disciplinary approach. "I’ve worked with all departments thus all studies," says Vimal. "That’s the wonderful thing about the ID program—it opens the door to all studios to understand how any craft can be implemented into an industrial design process."

OCAC provides Vimal with a stable platform for success. "The open door policy and  the access to studio managers and faculty creates an experimental playground. It gives me the confidence to experiment knowing that I’m within arms-reach of experts," he says.

But sometimes, that sucess arises from unlikely places. "OCAC has provided me a platform to succeed by failing. And the design process is very much akin to the idea of failing fast," says Vimal. "The better and harder you fail, the clearer your designs become."

"We make sense of our world through tools and objects. And design has helped me become who I am today. It has allowed me to express myself in various ways, when I least expected it." — Vimal Balu