James Paulius

Class of 2013

Independent Designer

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James Paulius was born and raised in Chicago, IL and spent his childhood summers visiting his relatives in Ichinomiya, Japan. In 2013, James graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in industrial design. During his Senior year of college, he was awarded 1st place in RIT’s Metaproject03 Student Design Competition sponsored by world-renoun avant-garde accessories manufacturer, Areaware. His award-winning design, Blockitecture, has been added to Areaware’s product line and the process work and final prototype were donated to the RIT Archives.

He is interested in integrating people with their surroundings to promote creativity, curiosity, and joy. His belief that our ability to affect society and culture though the creation of our environment inspires him to design artifacts that are sensitive towards the effects they have on humans and nature.



 “I decided to design a set of modern/contemporary architectural building blocks because the concept did not exist anywhere in the market, and a traditional toy with a modern twist seemed like a good fit for Areaware. I took inspiration from buildings with characteristics that fluidly translated into toy blocks.
Some examples include Habitat 67 in Montreal, and various brutalist buildings for their bold and linear features already apparent in typical toy blocks. I also drew inspiration from residential areas in cities such as Lima, Peru, and Cinque Terre, Italy for their organic and often multi-layered residential growth of homes, as well as for their rhythmic window patterns and vibrantly colored facades. After making a few models, I found that the hexagonal shape provided the user with an unfamiliar challenge to laterally build in 3 axes rather than the more commonly practiced 2 axes.”

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Blockitecture is a set of wooden architectural building blocks that allows users to enhance their understanding of physical laws by using their creative and imaginative processes.

Released by Areaware, 2013

Fist Place, Metaproject03

Exhibited at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, 2013

Process work and final prototype of Blockitecture donated to RIT’s Archives, 2011