On Demand

Molecules Matter

This webinar is approved for 1 AIA Learning Unit (LU) for Continuing Education.
 This webinar is approved for health, safety, & wellness credit through the IDCEC.


Event Sponsor


In developing creative product solutions, it is necessary to combine chemistry and technology with creative ideas to bring about positive disruption in product design. This group of panelists will review their experiences with the need for new product development and their processes to collaboratively work with manufacturers, technical teams, and chemists to develop creative solutions for product that are missing from the marketplace and support positive end-user outcomes. The goal is for new products to meet performance challenges as well as aesthetic design needs. Molecules really do matter when inventive technologies and chemistry formulations are being used to solve design problems. It is important for designers to ask the appropriate questions of manufacturers to better understand the formulations and what is involved in the chemistry behind the development of new technologies.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the need for technology and chemistry to work together for new product innovation.
  • Learn of innovative product developments made possible through technology and chemistry.
  • Understand product gaps that are needed in the marketplace.
  • Understand how to work with manufacturers and product designers to solve design problems.

*Presentation brought to you from our Design Connections event.
Learn more about Design Connections.


Donald Strum, Principal - Product Design, Michael Graves Architecture & Design
With the firm since 1984, Donald Strum is the Principal in charge of product, furniture, and graphic design and has played a key role in the development and the success of the firm’s product design practice. His first project for the firm was the now ubiquitous “Whistling Bird Teakettle” for the Italian manufacturer, Alessi. In 1997, under the leadership of Mr. Strum, the firm began a relationship with Target Stores that led to what many in the critical press have hailed as “the democratization of design”. In 2005, after witnessing firsthand the issues Michael Graves was experiencing with an illness that left him paralyzed, Mr. Strum and the product design group made a commitment to transform healthcare design services for the aging and physically disabled population, as well as for the people who care for them. Mr. Strum and his product design group have brought over 2,000 consumer products to market over the past three decades.

Deidre Hoguet, Director of Applied Research, Designtex
Deidre Hoguet is Director of Applied Research at Designtex, a Steelcase company dedicated to the creation of sustainable and innovative surface materials. In this role, Deidre leads the research and development of next generation materials for Designtex, and brings research-based insights to the design practice at the company. Deidre also investigates material flows and implements systems that benefit the circular economy. Deidre currently serves as a company representative and on subcommittees of several organizations such as the Circular Economy 100, the Green Commerce and Chemistry Council, and the Association for Contract Textiles .Deidre is an author and provider of accredited training courses for architects and designers on topics related to innovation, materials, and sustainability, and she guest lectures regularly for students of New York School for Interior Design and Pratt Institute.

Linda Gabel, Facility Planner at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Linda brings 33 years of acute care healthcare design experience to The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. As an in-house design and planning leader, she promotes evidence-based design methodology and research with design consultants, administrators, and clinicians on small and large scale projects, with a primary focus on The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute. Linda has served on the board of AAHID, IIDA Healthcare Forum Advisor, and enjoyed leadership roles at NBBJ and Karlsberger. She has had the honor of presenting white papers on healthcare design for pediatric, bariatric, and aging populations at Healthcare Design, Health Facilities Institute, National Association of Children’s Hospital and Related Institutions, NEOCON, Stephen F. Austin State University, Western Carolinas University, and The Ohio State University.


Todd Sims, Director, Sustainability & Market Outreach, American Chemistry Council
Todd Sims is the Director of Sustainability & Market Outreach for the building and construction sector at the American Chemistry Council (ACC). In his capacity he leads the development of policies, positions and advocacy around a number of emergent industry issues including rating systems, ingredient disclosure, product labels and several others. He maintains several strategic relationships on behalf of ACC members including with industry trade associations, product manufacturers, and government agencies in pursuit of a safe, sustainable, and resilient built environment. Prior to joining ACC, Mr. Sims developed and implemented building energy efficiency policy. He is originally from Jupiter, FL and a graduate of the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB).