Meet Olga Kravchenko, RHEON Lab’s Senior Product and Computational Designer.
Olga is our champion of all things design here at The Labs and has been part of the team since the company founded in 2018. She’s no stranger to leading truly unique product designs and has worked alongside RHEON Labs CTO, Dr Dan Plant, for over five years.
What is unique about working at RHEON Labs?
Working at RHEON Labs gives me the opportunity to explore and continually develop my key areas of interest in design. Additionally, I find it rewarding knowing that our designs protect people and potentially improve lives. We don’t take a general approach to designing protection here, our ethos is that every solution is unique. Everything we do is fine tuned to the anatomy of the human body. We understand that the body is not the same all over, so we develop and test protection that is bespoke to each individual sport and the anatomic structure of the area that we are protecting. This requires design of intricate structures that change performance across different areas of the product. A sports bra is very different to a helmet, but each needs its own kind of protection.
At The Labs, standing still isn’t an option. Each project is an entirely new challenge, where we need to provide the best user experience for our clients, whilst providing the most effective impact protection possible. Our generative design processes allow us to create even more complex geometries than you would see in nature. These geometries vary depending on the zones of the body the product is for and are completely bespoke. We design using algorithm driven modelling, which unlike CAD, defines the rules for a design rather that a single feature or object. Our designs evolve and are optimised in an iterative process combining physical testing, digital analysis and modelling. This process of taking computational design into product development gives the outcome of products that are evolved and optimised similar to natural structures and are both beautiful and functional.
Zoned design concept for palm protection in a glove.
What inspired you to pursue a career in computational design?
“I first became interested in complex geometries and bio inspired structures whilst studying for my degree in Industrial Design. It was this interest that saw me progress to pursue a masters in Emergent Technologies and Design from the Architectural Association School. Whilst this study fed my interest in computational design, I was keen to explore the application of this method in product design.
In computational design there are lots of opportunities for decorative work, however there are not as many where you can combine aesthetics and function to see performance and geometries working together like you can at RHEON Labs. The combination of computational design methods with RHEON’s strain rate sensitivity enhances and provides the opportunity to exceed the expected and design truly ground-breaking products.
What is different about your approach to design?
I work alongside our clients to integrate RHEON in to new product designs or to optimise existing product designs. Our process sees us build on the design brief with a focus on the unique required outcomes, we then develop our concepts to ensure this feeds in to the design process. I lead our team of designers and work alongside our CTO, to best develop products and designs further, providing input on manufacture, tool design, 3D printing and developing prototypes.
What do you find rewarding about working at RHEON Labs?
A huge benefit I see in RHEON Labs is that we are not just a design studio; we manufacture our own designs and see the product development process from end to end. Our design methodologies evolve with each product we develop, this insight allows us to constantly adapt our methods and build on our knowledge. We are always looking for ways to improve and know that we are only as good as our next success. As a company we are very routed in science and science is always a part of everything that we do.
I am pleased to be involved in what we are doing at RHEON Labs, it’s brilliant to watch our continually evolving capabilities making such a difference to our clients products. It’s incredibly rewarding to be part of a dynamic team who are always looking for new ways to be at the forefront of energy control technology”.