At New York Art Life, we choose to showcase only the best artists who can inspire you to dream big and live to the fullest. We introduce them to the world so that you can see how their work touches your life. Today, we’re speaking to Sofia von Hauske, an award-winning industrial designer.
NY Art Life: Sofia, it’s great to finally have a chance to chat with you! Thank you for making time despite your busy schedule working at Friends Of. We know that it is a top company in the industry!
Sofia von Hauske: Oh why, thank you. It’s my pleasure!
Aura And Awards
NY Art Life: Everyone is excited to hear more from you, Sofia. Let us talk about your important, professional achievements. In 2021, you won the C-IDEA NewStar Award out of 2,860 entries from 50 countries. This was an extremely competitive selection process. You also got an Honorable Mention Award for Aura in the Loop Design Awards 2022. These are two major industry awards! Can you tell us more about Aura and your inspiration for creating it?
Sofia von Hauske: As a designer, it is important to keep up with what’s happening around me and in the world. I diligently research daily and I have found out a problem that I can relate to. I learned that children with nighttime fears get less and poorer quality sleep. This fear, which begins about the age of two and continues through the preschool years, is involved in a child’s development. Like every other kid out there, I was very much afraid of the dark when I was a kid. It is something that I want to mitigate. I developed Aura in the hopes of ensuring kids get a healthy sleep quality. It is a small night light, not to illuminate but to work as a symbol that the kid is not alone at night. I made this item with symbolism in mind but with very minimal features.
NY Art Life: That must be really fulfilling for you! What design styles do you usually incorporate into your projects?
Sofia von Hauske: I can say that in every project I have done, I apply the thought “less is more.” I really like when an item looks simple but it looks very refined. When an object is like this, I feel like it can be considered a classic in the future. That’s actually my dream. For my designed objects to be a classic someday.
Disney Encanto X CAMP
NY Art Life: Oh, that’s impressive! We are pretty sure you will achieve that exciting goal considering your experience. Let’s move on to your recent projects, your very meaningful projects with CAMP!
Sofia von Hauske: Ah yes, the toy store CAMP is one of my biggest clients! A branch in New York currently offers an experience based on the Disney Animation Studios’ movie Encanto. I am very proud to be behind this project because Encanto is an academy-award film!
NY Art Life: How fascinating! Encanto is one of 2021’s highest-grossing animated film! Can you talk more about this Disney Encanto X CAMP — CAMP x Disney project? What exactly did you do?
Sofia von Hauske: I am pleased to tell you that I led the designing and developing of a candle that is used throughout the experience called the Magical Candle. At the beginning of the experience, they give out the Magical Candle to families so they could interact with things. I sourced the candles, created CAMP and Disney-approved artwork for the candle, and managed the procurement of the candles, the application of the artwork on them, and the creation of experience-specific electronics for the candle.
Disney’s Mickey & Friends X CAMP
NY Art Life: That’s wonderful! They probably remember their experience vividly because of that Magical Candle. We also saw your work for CAMP’s collaboration with Disney’s Mickey and Friends. What was that experience like?
Sofia von Hauske: It’s a whole rollercoaster ride. I was also the lead designer for that project. I did ideation, sketching, concept refinement, 3D modeling, and rendering. Everything was approved by CAMP and Disney. I worked on developing a Shrink Ray, Microchips, Transponders, and a Shrink Ray bag. With the Shrink Ray, Goofy confuses it with a camera at the beginning of the experience and by mistake shrinks all the guests at Mickey’s birthday party. The shrink ray appears three times throughout the experience; as an animation in Goofy’s hands. At the end of the experience, it is seen on a big scale when the campers are shrunk and it sits at the table in real size.
NY Art Life: We have seen it and It looks so cool! What did you do for the Microchips, Transponders, and a Shrink Ray bag?
Sofia von Hauske: For the microchips, I designed a set of foam microchips that are part of the shrink ray’s circuits together with the CAMP team. When Goofy shrinks the campers, the microchips get dispersed and the campers have to gather them throughout the experience to be able to fix the shrink ray.
The microchips hold metal disks on the inside that allow them to be magnetically held in hidden locations and later on placed on the side of the big shrink ray. For the Transponders, I collaborated with the Future Colossal team who were in charge of figuring out the electronics needed for it to function like I wanted it to. The counselors use the Transponders to communicate with Gyro Gearloose who is helping the campers go back to normal. With the shrink ray bag,
I designed and developed it to hold the microchips as they are being picked up in the experience.
NY Art Life: That’s spectacular! Everyone loves Mickey and friends! We also saw your silicone bracelet design for Cosmic CAMP and it piqued our interest enough that we want to wear one. Can you tell us about this project? And how could we get our hands on it?
Sofia von Hauske: Indeed, very spectacular. I feel delighted that I get to be behind kids’ memorable experiences. For the silicone bracelets, a CAMP branch in Brooklyn has Cosmic CAMP and I designed the Space Communicator Bracelets. It tracks the movements of players and allows them to collect points. This bracelet is yellow and made of silicone so that it may expand to accommodate the tracking sensor within. To ensure safety, we printed its colored top buttons using UV ink. In doing this project, I did both digital and paper prototyping. I have to completely make sure it’s firm to use as kids wear this bracelet throughout the experience. And yeah, each camper gets a bracelet. So, you have to go there, to get one for yourself! *laughs*
NY Art Life: Okay, we are heading to Brooklyn once we finish talking. *laughs* And how do you feel about all of these projects with Disney?
Sofia von Hauske: Well, I feel very honored because Disney is the world’s premier entertainment company! I was also a semifinalist in the Walt Disney Imagineering Competition in 2019. Most importantly, I have always been a huge Disney fan ever since I can remember.
Being An Industrial Designer
NY Art Life: We are glad to hear that! But Sofia, we are very curious. For you, what’s the most rewarding thing about being an industrial designer?
Sofia von Hauske: Well, in industrial design, I discovered a medium between art and utility. I could foster my creative juices and also use that creativity to help the community. I like that my art helps people. My art is a part of something larger.
NY Art Life: Yes, you basically see a predicament or an issue and give out a fix for it. What can you say are the most essential skills you have developed as an industrial designer?
Sofia von Hauske: As I have mentioned, research skills is number one. I am who I am now, not only as an artist but an individual as well because I have learned a lot from researching. I am an expert at Adobe Creative Cloud and without this skill, I would not be able to do every project that I have done. Last but not the least, I am very reliable at 3D modeling, rendering, and prototyping. Though, I can say that I was not initially good at all these skills but with practice, it is possible to be the best.
Developing and Designing
NY Art Life: That’s very encouraging, Sofia! On developing and designing things, can you tell us your process of doing that?
Sofia von Hauske: Firstly, I identify. I identify what the product’s main objective is. Who will use the product? How does the customer want the product to look like? How can the product look aesthetically pleasing? And how much will the product cost? Secondly, I analyze the data and apply it to the product to make it more efficient, useful, and visually pleasing. Next, I generate the product’s concept drawings. After those things, I keep on refining and improving the product. It is a continuous process. Last is taking action by creating a list of exactly how the final product will be made and by using which materials and the like.
NY Art Life: Wow, thank you for telling us the detailed steps. We also want to ask, where do you find the inspiration to do your projects?
Sofia von Hauske: You see, I always view the world with wonder because I’m a curious one. Curiosity inspires me to imagine things. Things that are pretty and beneficial. I see a door and I
get an idea of how they can be utilized beautifully. Or a table, and a chair… Inspiration is everywhere. I think you just have to have the motivation to work on that inspiration.
NY Art Life: That’s true, everything can be inspiring. And about leaving Mexico City and moving to New York, studying here, and having your work here, how do you feel about the city?
Sofia von Hauske: I first moved here when I was 16. Indeed, the city never fails to fascinate me. It is truly the city of everything. I found who I am here. I love that every nook and corner is full of art. You go into a cafe and see writers typing on their Macbooks or someone designing one’s future home. Significantly, I once got a glimpse of an architect’s laptop at Starbucks. Her eyes were full of stars that I just had to compliment her. We became good friends and the rest is history. Potential is just everywhere you go here. It’s truly the city of possibilities.
NY Art Life: Artists being inspired by other artists, how amazing! In the meantime, can you tell us what is your favorite place in the city?
Sofia von Hauske: Definitely, Central Park! Because it is full of life.
Getting To Know What You Really Want
NY Art Life: That’s true! Given your experiences, we know that your words could move someone. Do you have any advice for young artists, not only those in the city but all over the world?
Sofia von Hauske: Sometimes, things will come your way from time to time, and these circumstances will either push you to pursue your art or pull you back. I am saying this as I initially wanted to be a heart surgeon, but you see, my love for designing is apparently stronger. Instead, I decided to go into industrial design and I’m happy where I am right now. I guess what I am basically saying is that hard life situations are a part of getting to know what you really want. Getting to know who you are. Though you will realize a lot of things, and I hope that it leads you back to your art and that you’re stronger and more passionate as an artist.
NY Art Life: That’s very deep and meaningful. We are glad that you found who you are as an artist. It has been a pleasure to talk with you, Sofia. We, at NY Art Life, will cheer for you and continue to support your work as an artist. Thank you for giving us time today. We are now on the way to Brooklyn.
Sofia von Hauske: *laughs* You guys do that. I loved answering your questions. Thank you so much for having me!