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Design Products (MA)

Tyler Harvey

Tyler Harvey is a Canadian multi-disciplinary designer who was born and raised in Singapore. After graduating with a Bachelor of Environmental Design and Sustainability Degree from the University of British Columbia in Canada, he worked as an industrial design engineer for an aluminum manufacturing design company in Vancouver. He has since gone on to do his master's in Design Products at the Royal College of Art, focusing on the relationship that we have with technology and materials.

Tyler Harvey

I grew up in Singapore, a country known for its innovation and design. For the first 20 years of my life I was immersed in the exciting, ever changing country.

After graduating from university, I worked on the design team for a metal manufacturing company in Canada. We primarily worked on designing outdoor furniture installations and incorporating these products into the natural surroundings. The design was very precision driven yet done at a very quick turnaround from product inception to completion. I fell in love with this fast pace of life. The only problem is that I was being less conscious of the world around me. 

At the RCA I found the perfect balance. I was able to slow down, observe the crazy world we live in, and synthesize these ideas into tangible objects. Aiming to reflect the bizarre, dynamic society we all live in.

Bolt Chair
Foam Chair

This project is an exploration into the permanence of connections and materials. Prior to this project, I was looking into repairability. I found that the more repairable something was, the more ’sustainable’ it technically is. This led me to explore the many different types of connections there are. The more permanent a connection is between two materials, the less repairable it is, therefore the less ‘sustainable’ it is. The less permanent the connection, the more repairable, making it more ‘sustainable’. 

Both of these chairs are a representation of these ideas. The Bolted Chair is made from thick aluminum, and connected with large bolts. Using this connection method, I consider the chair sustainable. The Foam Chair is the opposite. It is made of thin gauge aluminum and is connected with steel zip ties. It is then filled with expanding foam to give it support. It is completely unrepairable and therefore unsustainable. 

I have read the book ‘U-Joints’, which describes the many different ways of connecting and puts them into three different categories; permanent, semi-permanent, and non-permanent. At the same time, I was looking into the types of materials being used with these different ways of connecting. I found that more ’permanent’ materials were being used with ’permanent’ connections. This project aims to look at the link between types of connections and types of materials.

Metal Joints
Foam Expanding
 Metal Zip Tie
Foam Expanding through metal
small bolt chair
small foam chair
 Scale bolt chair
Scale chair


Aluminium, Expanding foam


80cm x 40cm x 40cm

Surveillance or convenience

By creating a mirror that follows a person as they move around a room I wanted to show people the two sides of surveillance. There is the side where, in this case, people see themselves and then there is the side where data is being collected on the person in the mirror. This aims to show that we are not in control of our online presence. We think we are in control (by moving the camera) but this is a gimmick to allow data to be collected on us and used suggestively. 

I am trying to show how this creates a disturbing loop. Companies create the technology, we use it, they collect the data of how we use this technology and they, in turn use the data to sell and show us more technology or products. We therefore lose control. This is a concept that not a lot of people understand and is what I wanted to show by creating the mirror. The bad and invasive side to data collection.

There is, however, another side of data collection that is actually good. Data that helps with everyday life. Traffic data for example. The more people that are on a certain road, the more traffic it has. This data is being collected by phones and other technology and is then used to make people's lives more efficient.

The contrast between ‘bad’ and ‘good’ data collection is a difficult concept to navigate because what is considered bad by some people is totally acceptable by other people. Most people are upset when they find that a certain type of personal data is being collected, yet don’t mind when other types of information is. Tracking someone's online purchases can be considered bad but tracking gps on that person’s phone for traffic purposes is fine. Where do we draw the line? I guess it really comes down to how dependent a person is on technology.

front view
Back view
Set Up
Front view