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The designer who gave the world a new Birkenstock and MINI lifestyle products has
been consistently upping the ante with his wide-ranging, ambitious work. Consider
these two seeming extremes out of Behar's Fuseproject studio: the Morpheus chandelier
for Swarovski—a 16,000 crystal, remote-controlled shape shifting sculpture of
light; and Nicholas Negroponte's famed One Laptop Per Child, a computer
designed to be simple and durable enough to function in the poorest places in the
world. But Behar would argue that there's a connection between all of the projects,
that the experimental feeds the practical (as Behar's earlier flight of fancy,Voyage,
for Swarovski led to his award-winning Leaf LED light for Herman Miller). And
Behar has applied the big picture thinking to individual projects—expanding the
scope of what a designer can bring to a brand. To wit, in addition to designing the
best selling Jawbone headset for Aliph, in 2007 he became the company's VP/CD,
overseeing all brand expression. Expect the picture to get even bigger—Behar is now
working with mega brands like Coca-Cola and J&J as well as developing new products
from the ground up, like Y Water, a new kid friendly drink (created by ex-Red
Bull marketer Thomas Arndt).
On fostering a creative culture: "Our creative culture is based on a few key elements:
The make-up of the team which is culturally diverse (12 countries or so for 30
employees) and culturally aware. We also operate on an extremely flat structure; as
an example we all sit at the same long tables, mixed in experience levels, and mixed
in practice: strategy, design, graphics, brand, engineering all sit together. Finally the
design of the studio, open and with every wall covered in projects in progress invites
everybody to participate."