In 1972, the Eames Office made Design Q&A, a short film answering questions posed by French curator Madame L’Amic from a 1969 interview for the Louvre exhibition Qu’est ce que le design?. In the interview and film, Madame L’Amic asks the Eames to define the boundaries of design. Charles Eames offers the reply: What are the boundaries of problems?
In the spirit of Eames’s rhetorical question, the Design Across Scales Lab (DAS) at Cornell University was founded to treat problems as means to design. It is in encountering the problems of the world, at all scales, that reveal opportunities for future change. Working at the intersection of the built environment, technology, sociology and ecology, DAS navigates problems from the microscopic to the macroscopic, with the express purpose of using design as a tool for future-making.
DAS maps the boundaries of current design problems to invent future solutions, operating as a research platform, creative think tank, and incubator. The lab is focused on the production of knowledge; products vary from institutional and discipline-facing to cross-disciplinary research and prototyping. The lab was founded by J. Meejin Yoon at Cornell University, is led by Alexander Kobald, and engages designers, artists, urban planners, and engineers.