Argo Design

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Argo Design
File:Argo Design logo.png
Founded 📆2014 (2014)
Founders 👔
Headquarters 🏙️2901 South 1st, ,
United States
Area served 🗺️
Number of employees
📇 Address
📞 telephone

Argo Design (styled argo design or argodesign and shortened to argo)[1][2] is an American design consultancy based in Austin, Texas. It was co-founded by Mark Gauger and Mark Rolston in 2014, both of whom previously worked at Frog Design Inc. The company has proposed designs for a hospital MagicBand, a drone ambulance to speed up emergency support, a car capable of being divided into two motorcycles, and a human-centered experience for Elon Musk's Hyperloop concept.

Description and history[edit]

Argo Design, a design consultancy that has been described as "part incubator, part client agency, and part product development group", was co-founded and self-funded by Mark Gauger and Mark Rolston in 2014.[1][2][3] Gauger and Rolston had previously worked for Frog Design Inc., as did Argo's current partners Jared Ficklin (creative technologist) and Kevin McDonald (creative lead),[4] who had served as Frog's principal technologist and principal designer, respectively.[2][3][5] As of 2015, Gauger retains his position as Argo's managing partner; Rolston serves as chief creative officer (CCO).[6][7]

Rolston has said of his decision to focus on user experience (UX): "I want to offer perspective on design that's not all about the visible artifact. It's moving into behavior, the interaction between a human and a machine when the machine isn't immediately evident, but is instead more of an entity like HAL. And that design ... we've barely scratched the surface of what that means."[3]


In 2014, SmartHome Ventures announced a partnership with Argo on the product PEQ,[8] an application and home automation service that allows users to control and monitor their residence from any location. Argo's front-end experience makes it possible to lock and unlock doors, turn lights on and off, and adjust the temperature from a single screen in one application.[9] In December 2014, Argo unveiled its wearable technology device called "Kineseowear".[10]

Argo has taken the concept behind Disney's MagicBands—which was developed by Frog during Rolston's tenure—and applied the technology to hospital environments. The company hopes the bands could replace traditional patient ID bracelets. Argo's design includes two radios: one short-range RFID signal to allow patients to open doors and nurses to obtain medical records instantly, and a longer-range radio similar to Bluetooth that would allow institutions to monitor the activities and locations of doctors and patients in real time.[11]

In February 2015, Argo revealed its proposal for a drone ambulance in response to Fast Company's request for design innovations in the health care industry. The proposed quadcopter carries a "pod" large enough to accommodate a patient and one emergency medical technician, and could be flown autonomously or by a pilot. Its design allows the craft to land on most surfaces, avoid obstacles and ground traffic, and hasten the emergency support process.[12][13] Business Insider called Argo's design concept a "provocation to the manufacturing industry".[13] According to Argo, the design illustrates the value of drone technology and was deemed feasible by an aeronautical engineer, although it has not undergone detailed analysis.[14]

In April 2015, Argo unveiled its design for Fast Company's "lane splitter" concept of a car capable of being split into two motorcycles.[15] The magazine's Mark Wilson approached Argo after he asked Cadillac to design the concept, but the company declined.[16] The renders describe front wheels that collapse and expand, depending on whether the vehicle is driven in two-wheel or four-wheel mode. The two motorcycles would connect by an automated chassis lock that could be released by pressing a button. Argo's design allowed Wilson to pitch the concept to car companies at the 2015 New York International Auto Show.[15] According to PSFK, the automobile's design included a "surprising amount of specificity", but few engineering considerations.[17]

In June 2015, Argo unveiled its design for Elon Musk's Hyperloop concept with a series a conceptual renderings,[7] which took six designers around two months to complete.[6] The company was among the first to release detailed renderings following the contest announcement by Musk's company SpaceX.[18][19] Argo's design features multiple platforms and five types of capsules capable of transporting cargo, passengers, and vehicles. There would be three types of passenger capsules, two of which are specialized for conducting business: "Business Work Capsules" would have private work stations called "pods" fitted with widescreen monitors and wireless keyboards,[15] and "Executive Meeting Capsules" could accommodate eight people in reclining chairs.[6][7] Capsules would be locked into a "Hyperloop Sled" in the form of a "vehicle chassis" when in use, and raised from or lowered onto platforms by a "jukebox".[6][20] Their interior would include virtual reality walls and fold-out desks.[6] Some Hyperloop plans have capsules traveling in excess of 700 miles per hour (1,100 km/h) in theory; Argo's concept has passengers moving between 300 and 400 miles per hour (480 and 640 km/h) to reduce the likelihood of motion sickness. The company's design includes bathrooms and additional space for walking around to accommodate longer travel times.[15][21]

Argo and Rolston helped the startup company Shoto develop a photograph-sharing application that tells users about images taken at a specific event or location.[22] The project was funded by Real Ventures and actor Kunal Nayyar. Shoto's application is compatible with Facebook and Twitter; photographs are hosted at Amazon Web and users retain their intellectual property. It became available in September 2015.[22]

See also[edit]

  • List of companies based in Austin, Texas


  1. 1.0 1.1 Theis, Michael (June 18, 2015). "Heard of Elon Musk's Hyperloop? These Austin designers fleshed it out". Austin Business Journal. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Fehrenbacher, Katie (January 24, 2014). "Frog's Chief Creative Officer exits and launches new type of design agency". Gigaom. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Wilson, Mark (January 30, 2015). "Frog Chief Creative Officer Leaves to Start His Own UX Company". Fast Company. Mansueto Ventures. ISSN 1085-9241. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  4. "About". Argo Design. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  5. "Kevin McDonald Bio". Argo Design. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Zolfagharifard, Ellie (June 18, 2015). "What a ride on a 750 mph solar-powered pod might look like: Firm unveils its luxurious vision for Elon Musk's Hyperloop". Daily Mail. DMG Media. ISSN 0307-7578. OCLC 16310567. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 "argo design envisions the hyperloop travel experience". Designboom. June 17, 2015. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  9. Wilson, Mark (January 23, 2015). "The First Decent Home Automation System Is a DVR Built from Virtual Lego". Fast Company. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  11. Wilson, Mark (January 29, 2015). "A Disney MagicBand for Hospitals". Fast Company. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  12. La Ferla, Alex (February 15, 2015). "How the drone ambulance of the future might work". The Week. ISSN 1533-8304. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Pozzebon, Stefano (February 16, 2015). "This concept of a drone ambulance promises to revolutionise emergency operations". Business Insider. Axel Springer SE. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  14. Casillas, Daniel (February 26, 2015). "Could drones replace ambulances in the future?". Metro New York. Metro International. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 "argodesign's lanesplitter car concept splits into two motorcycles". Designboom. April 9, 2015. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  16. Wenz, John (April 9, 2015). "This Concept Car Splits to Become Two Motorcycles". Popular Mechanics. Hearst Corporation. ISSN 0032-4558. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  17. Willems, Olivier (May 12, 2015). "Concept Car Splits Down the Middle into Two Motorcycles". PSFK. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  18. DiStasio, Cat (June 2015). "Here's what riding the high-speed Hyperloop train could look like". Inhabitat. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  19. McDonald, Glenn (June 19, 2015). "Pipe Dream: How Would Hyperloop Travel Work?". Discovery Channel. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  20. Thompson, Cadie (June 17, 2015). "If the real Hyperloop ends up being this luxurious inside, it's going to be an amazing way to travel". Business Insider. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  21. Ward, Marguerite (June 18, 2015). "Here's what the Hyperloop could look like". CNBC. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  22. 22.0 22.1 Neha, Alawadhi (September 26, 2015). "Big Bang Theory's Kunal Nayyar invests in photo app Shoto". The Economic Times. The Times Group. OCLC 61311680. Retrieved December 14, 2015.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

External video
Argo Medical Ambulance Drone by Chipp Walters (February 17, 2015), YouTube

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