Holiday Gift Guide

High heels, hockey pads, and hoppy ales: gifts from the minds of Wentworth grads.


Susana Pereira DeVoe’s architecture background is evident in her handbags—the clean lines, the precision, the geometry. “The way I think about design is as a process,” says DeVoe, AET ’94, ARC ’97. “It’s one of the more amazing parts about an architectural education. It’s not just about architecture. It’s about the way you see the world.” After 12 years at an architectural firm designing large-scale projects—like the stair towers at Logan Airport— she founded MAKE.GOOD design studio in 2009. Turning a longtime hobby of making clutches into a full-fledged design business, DeVoe has since expanded MAKE.GOOD to include home accessories and furniture. All of her one-of-a-kind pieces incorporate recycled elements—everything from bags made out of belts to benches made out of cardboard. 



Down Low Hockey Pads

Dave Lewandowski, BIND ’09, is turning his pain into profit. After a dislocated shoulder forced him to sport bulky, constrictive padding, Lewandowski dedicated his senior design project at Wentworth to streamlining the gear. A former right winger for the Wentworth hockey team, he devised a flexible system of removable pads to protect the shoulders, chest, and spine—strong enough to prevent injury, but still light enough to let you fly on a breakaway. “Players like to customize their own equipment, and I designed them so they could do that,” says Lewandowski, who launched his own company, Down Low Hockey, to sell the gear. He’s also working on tweaking the pads so they conform to NHL standards and is in talks to join a Montreal-based hockey product company as a designer. “It will be good to have them really take [the pads] to the next level,” says Lewandowski.




Cody Range Bags

On visits to a shooting range with her husband, Robin Berry, CNC ’98, noticed her fellow female shooters were usually more Ann Taylor than Annie Oakley. “It’s really your average middle-aged, girly-girl type woman who carries a Coach bag and goes [shooting] with her husband,” says Berry, a former construction engineer. Inspired by skyrocketing sales for chic women’s golf bags and tennis racket cases, Berry founded Cody Range Bags in 2009 to meet the style needs of female sharpshooters. “It’s really exciting and rewarding to see an idea that you had come to fruition—and see there’s definitely a market for it,” she says.

[Gun case $50]



Eternal Furniture & Design

Where other people might see firewood, Brian McAlpine, BMET ’03, sees art. His three-year-old woodworking shop, Eternal Furniture & Design, is focused on making modern, handmade furniture out of recycled, reclaimed, and storm-damaged woods. “A lot of it has cracks, holes, or knots,” says McAlpine. “I try to find those unique features and make them the highlight of the pieces.”

[ Cabinet $675]



Blue Hills Brewery

When the recession hit in 2008, the phone at Peter Augis’s construction company stopped ringing. So when he saw a new story that said the economic downturns had increased the demand for beer, Augis, BCS ’76, CE ’79, decided it was the perfect time to pursue his lifelong dream. “Bob,” Augis said to his longtime friend and construction colleague, Robert Debeers, “we’re going to open up a brewery.”

They set up shop in Canton, Mass., as Blue Hills Brewery and cooked up their first batch of beer in January 2009. Today, Blue Hills produces seven varieties of beer and distributes to more than 500 locations throughout Massachusetts—including package stores and select bars in the Greater Boston area. And the phone, Augis says, is ringing off the hook.

[22 oz., $3; Six-pack, $7; Tastings free]



Dog Devil Studio

A longtime board member on his local arts councils, Rob Festa, AET ’89, ARC ’91, got serious about his own craft four years ago. “As an architect, I’m really drawn to details,” says Festa, who works at Group One in South Boston by day. “Not only architectural details, but mechanical details: gears, locks, doorknobs, rust, paint.” Today, Festa’s work can be seen at galleries throughout the city, but he’s kept his focus local. In January, he and a friend founded Jamaica Plain’s UFORGE gallery, which puts out monthly open calls for artwork focused on different themes—everything from miniatures to Andy Warhol.
[Matte prints, $60-120; Metal prints $425]



Auri Footwear

Comfortable high heels have long been a fashion unicorn—often rumored, never realized. But Marc Scepi, INC ’96, thinks he has finally turned that mythology into reality. A “shoe design guru” at Auri Footwear, Scepi combined his industrial design background and 15 years of experience in the shoe business with Auri’s fashion-forward minds for what turned out to be a fundamental redesign of the way shoes are made. Beginning with a multilayer foundation, each Auri shoe has built-in arch support and an encapsulated gel pack that displaces pressure from the ball of the foot. All of this, says Scepi, without sacrificing appearance. “They’re sexy, they’re stylish, and way ahead of the curve as far as technology goes.”




Star Wars Speeder

For Jared Downs, BIND ’11, designing toys during his Hasbro co-op was an immersive experience. “You have to get into the mentality—you know, ‘What if I were really in Star Wars?’” So for the speeder, he sketched in a roll cage for safety and an extra engine for speed and style. But to make sure it was ready for shelves, Downs also had to channel his inner child. “You have to put yourself in the place of a kid: Would you have played with this when you were seven?”




Fieldrunners Mobile Game

As the former president of the Wentworth Game Developers club, Alvin Phu, BCOS ’11, knew Subatomic Games and its Fieldrunners mobile game carried some serious cultural cachet. But he didn’t know the extent of their fervor until he started working there. “Just this morning, someone sent around a YouTube video of a little kid imitating Fieldrunners using Nerf guns,” he says. As a software engineer, Phu helps develop many of the game’s levels and some of its most diabolical enemies. So frustrated gamers, now you know whose name to curse when the GAME OVER screen blinks.

[iPhone $2.99; Android [$2.99; iPad [$7.99; PlayStation Portable $6.99] 


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  1. Thanks for sharing! I live near the blue hills brewery and they are great. We always get beer from them. Thanks!!

  2. Excellent insight and sense of style!

    Also, like the above poster said, Blue Hills Brewery is awesome.

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