Principal and co founder Toren Orzeck went to California State University at Long Beach for Industrial Design. He summer interned at Chuck Pelly’s Designworks and won an Internship at GE PLASTICS his final year at Long Beach. He then got hired to be a member of GEP’s Advanced Design and Development Group. 3 years later he was recruited by Nike to be part of their Advanced Product Engineering Group. After 3 production shoes, a few patents, and four 1/2 years, Tory left Nike.
FUSE was co-founded by CSULB Industrial Design Classmates, Toren Orzeck and Mark Schoening in 1996.
FUSE has always been about both reactive and proactive work. Most of our work would be categorized as reactive work where a client comes to us with a design problem and we solve it. Sometimes this work is typical industrial design where our client needs the physical housing and human interface designed around their internal electronics, mechanicals or biology (if it’s footwear). Sometimes this work is much more. We are brought in further up the product design funnel and we are asked to discover and /or validate the opportunity. Sometimes this new opportunity is really just a slightly different story about a similar product. Maybe we are bringing a new demographic of customers to an existing category, combining features, exploiting new technology, or materials + processes that yield new forms.
We follow a fairly strict methodology as to how any project is approached,. There are several steps in every project that yield critical answers for every subsequent step. Given our methodology we have become comfortable with being fairly eclectic. We think we are pretty fast learners and can get up to spead in any product category. Often clients hire us for exactly this reason as they want fresh eyes and hands on their project.
Given the opportunity we try to make our Phase 1 RESEARCH and CONCEPTUAL DESIGN the place to really stretch our client’s and our own imaginations as to what the solution can be. By having a lot of ideas on the table, the best ones can be weighed against the context and constraints of said project.
Our proactive work is simple: we find a problem and want to solve it through design. Often we find the problem through simple user experience and since we’r miserable critics of almost everything we always feel things can be better. The next question is can our solution have a big idea? Something compelling that’s easy to remember and share. If so, then if we have the bandwidth we make something to convey the problem and solution.
Next we likely need resources to make it happen, if this is the case we’ll protect the idea and we’ll show to potential manufacturers. This usually has 3 results:
- That’s a great idea where do we sign up? Rare, but it does happen – Herman Miller, Gerber
- Who the heck are you? Get out of here. SLAM!
- That’s a cool idea but our current road map is a little tight. Can you help us with this other thing? –Anthro, Supra, Herman Miller
Generally #3 is the most common response. We’ve met several clients just this way.
Now the world is a little different since crowd funding (Kickstarter) has come online and its possible to make something from scratch if your funded, Of course ,it certainly depends on what the project is. Tory did it with Orp but it is not easy. It is a great experience as it really flexes your muscle that absorbs adversity.
FUSE has always been small and nimble. We are producers and we staff up as needed if the load becomes overwhelming. If you’ve got an idea that needs to happen or need an idea, call us.