Eric Quint on 3M's design-centered mission

“We are part of an ecosystem, uniting purpose with partnership, that creates meaningful innovations.”


“Active curiosity leads to great ideas. The next ‘big’ idea will come naturally from a creative collision of many smaller ideas that build upon each other,” says Eric Quint.

Quint, the Vice President and Chief Design Officer at global innovation company 3M is an example of Design Indaba's mantra, A better world through creativity. He says, “..the best idea is a result of collaborative creativity reminding us that we are part of an ecosystem, uniting purpose with partnership, that creates meaningful innovations.”

Founded over a century ago, 3M has become a leading science, design and commercial graphics company with offices all over the globe.

Most recently, the company put down roots in India, Japan, Milan and Tokyo with a fifth hub expected to open in China. And in August of this year, 3M revealed a twelve-story tall Installation wrapped around their headquarters in Minnesota, United States.

The building wrap covers 30 percent of two sides of the iconic building and serves as a visual representation of 3M’s Wonder campaign, which seeks to inspire people to examine the world around them and see that curiosity can lead to great discoveries.

“Many engineers, architects, designers and artists around the world are using our 3M materials as a great source of inspiration,” says Quint.

“My position sees me maintaining a conscious dialogue across the main stakeholders of the company, with design acting as the ‘lighthouse’ to help us navigate the future,” Quint told DesignBoom.

The Urban Tree Lounge, which was completed in 2016, is a representation of the way 3M’s materials contribute to collaborative design.

Created in collaboration with Stefano Boeri Architetti and launched at Milan Design Week, The installation incorporates several 3M materials including films, nonwovens and adhesives to create an experience where light dances, thoughts reflect, and minds (and mobile devices) recharge.

“As creative professionals explore Milan to connect, learn and be inspired, we want them to know design is integral to everything we do at 3M as an innovation company – how we understand the world around us, identify needs and develop thoughtful solutions that can improve life,” Quint said during the project’s launch.

In a collaboration with SOFTlabs, 3M created a gazebo-like installation called Nova, Commissioned by the Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership, Nova harnessed 3M’s Dichroic Film to create a kaleidoscopic effect.

The dichroic film changes color and reflectivity depending on from which angle the pavilion is viewed.

The dichroic along with the mirrored finished composite aluminum panels cladding the exterior turns each cone into a pedestrian scale kaleidoscope that remixes the surrounding buildings, urban context and pedestrians in fun and unexpected ways.

These activations serve to educate the public on 3M’s projects. At the same time, Quint and other leaders at 3M partner with creative thinkers around the globe to create new technologies for good in various industries such as industrial design, healthcare, safety, energy and consumer products.

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