Written by Epiphany Dames

In today’s generation, “family time” can be reduced to 30-second clips and bursts of pictures. It can seem like capturing the facade of the perfect family is better than the real thing. It is a rare occasion when technology is silenced and creativity and imagination are allowed to foster those bonds.

For first-year industrial design major, Alex Coajou, the bond that he and his father share is the perfect example of the exception. The glue that binds this relationship being R2D2, of Star Wars.

In 2003, Coajou and his father began construction on their first R2D2 model. The completely aluminum rendering of the George Lucas Star Wars films robot took a total of two years to build.

It was a dynamic moment in their relationship that caught the eye of more than simply close family and friends.

“Last year R2D2 was hired out for three events,”Coajou said. “One was The White House Halloween event, which was put on for underprivileged kids.”

In 2012, Alex undertook another project to expand he and his father’s R2D2 collection. His second rendering of the robot was a model that was made entirely out of plastic.

He began construction at home, but he completed his life-sized and fully functioning model in his SCAD dorm room. The student’s passion is noticed all over campus.

“You definitely get some stares when your blinds are open and people walk past and see R2D2,” said Coajou, a Frederick, Maryland, native.

Completing construction on such a large project in such confined spaces like on-campus housing would perhaps qualify Coajou for worst-roommate status, but at SCAD, where quirks are celebrated,  most students understand and admire what Coajou’s passion.

My roommate “is not there that much, but I told him about … everything that I’m involved in with R2D2 and he was amazed by it,” Coajou said.

To most, having understanding roommates would prove to be the greatest hurdle but for Coajou, the actual challenge was in his completion of his plastic R2D2 model.

“I would say they greatest challenge for me was the electronics,” he said. “I am more of a hardware person, so I got a lot more help from dad for the electronics.”

Caojou plans to share the knowledge he has gained from working together with his father in a club he is starting here at SCAD, furthering the bond between man and machine, letting imagination and creativity continue to foster and giving it a space to do so.