Carla Diana

Carla Diana, Designer in Residence and Head of Program, 4D Design,  Cranbrook Academy of Art
Detroit, MI

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Carla Diana is a creative professional who tries to live as close to the near future as possible. In her studio and at the award-winning product innovation firm Smart Design, her projects have included domestic robots, mobile devices and sentient kitchen appliances. Carla Diana maintains an independent practice which includes a line of digitally distributed furniture, a series of sound-based sculptural installations and a selection of pieces that are best described as dynamic “virtual objects”.

She is the creator of interactive sound project, and designer for the iconic humanoid robot, Simon.

Carla Diana has the honor of being Smart Design's first Smart Fellow. In 2012 she founded the Smart Interaction Lab, an initiative focused on design explorations in the form of tinkering and hands-on experimentation.Prior to Smart, Carla worked at frog design, Planetii, Sarkissian-Mason, and Karim Rashid’s studio. Early in her career, she led a product design research lab within the Good Housekeeping Research Institute (GHRI) where she published a series of product review articles and presented her work on national TV.

Carla Diana has an MFA in Design from Cranbrook and a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from Cooper Union. From 2002-07 she was Professor of Interactive Design at SCAD, where she co-wrote the college’s first Interactive Design program and developed the first Physical Computing courses. From 2007-08 she was Visiting Assistant Professor of ID at the Georgia Tech and currently teaches at SVA and Drexel University. She has written for Fast Company’s Co. Design, Interactions, Core77, The AIGA Journal, and Good Housekeeping.

She writes and lectures extensively on the topic of design technology and robotics.

In 2008, the NY Times Magazine called Carla an “alpha geek”.


  • Tangible interaction
  • Interaction design
  • Industrial design
  • Convergent technologies
  • User interface
  • Device prototyping
  • Design theory
  • Interactive installations
  • Mmaterial culture
  • Aesthetics, hacking
  • Making
  • Tinkering

See her work at CarlaDiana Design

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