Faculty member Jeff Higashi decodes the design innovations informing Superbowl XLIX

by January 30th, 2015

 

X2 Biosystems' XPatch provides data for early detection of head injuries.

X2 Biosystems’ XPatch provides data for early detection of head injuries.

Product Design faculty member Jeff Higashi spent over three years inside NFL players heads. As Vice President of Product Development assigned to develop a device that would capture data to assess potential concussions, Higashi gave a lot of thought to the mechanics of the sport as well as to how the players and teams might best be served by what players wear on the field and how.

With Sunday’s Superbowl showdown between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks swiftly approaching, we asked Jeff to explain how the X2 Biosystems’ XPatch device he helped develop might help protect players from the plague of concussions afflicting the sport. And we also seized the opportunity to ask this wearable tech designer to analyze some of the messages these two formidable teams are sending via their uniforms’ color, materials and design elements.

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Has alum Chris Do helped reinvent the music video with the interactive design for the Coldplay hit, “Ink?”

by January 28th, 2015

The spotlight of attention and adulation trained on the new interactive video for Coldplay’s latest hit, “Ink,” has been nothing short of, well…blinding. Appropriately enough, this ambitious and innovative multimedia project sprung from Blind, the transmedia design agency founded by Art Center alum Chris Do.

The evolution of the video is fascinatingly chronicled in the above making-of video as well as the following Fast Company blog post by Evie Nagy. Please feel free to share your thoughts on this video’s customized storytelling experience in the comments section below. Is this a novel fluke? Or have we just witnessed the future of all music videos? Discuss!

In November, pop-rock titans Coldplay released a gorgeous and engaging interactive video for “Ink,” a single from their chart-topping 2014 album Ghost Stories. The animated clip, developed by Los Angeles design agency Blind, is a choose-your-own-adventure-style story about a lost traveler given multiple opportunities to chase his elusive lover or go his own way. In all, there are more than 300 possible paths and stories a viewer can experience.

In the new behind-the-scenes video, members of Blind’s creative staff describe the two-month process of conceiving and creating the video, which uses a technology called Treehouse that was developed by New York company Interlude. Treehouse is the same technology that Bob Dylan used last year to create the interactive video for his 1965 classic “Like A Rolling Stone.” That video allowed users to click among 60 fake television shows of various genres, all dubbed with the song.

“The most challenging part of all of this was figuring out how to fully take advantage of the interactive medium,” says director Matthew Encina. “We had to create a story with inherently interesting choices to make, engaging viewers to wonder, ‘What would happen if I chose something else?’”

You can experience the “Ink” video here.

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Sky-high architectural praise for Pasadena’s Sequoyah School, designed by Art Center instructor Alice Fung

by January 26th, 2015

The Sequoyah School expansion, designed by Fung+Blatt and featured in Architectural Record. View full slideshow.


The Sequoyah School expansion, designed by Fung + Blatt and featured in Architectural Record, features lofty classrooms that echo the original buildings on the site. View full slideshow.

For the last 12 years, architect and visual artist Alice Fung has been teaching a materials course in Art Center’s Integrated Studies Department while working as a principal with her architecture firm, Fung + Blatt. One of Fung + Blatt’s recently completed projects, the Sequoyah School in Pasadena, is featured in the January 2015 Schools of the 21st Century special issue of Architectural Record, in an article by Sarah Amelar, excerpted below. The magazine’s annual review looks at “the world’s most architecturally significant K-12 schools…that exemplify good design as a crucial component in a school’s programmatic development.” The issue is currently on newsstands and available at Art Center’s Student Store at Hillside Campus. The project also received an Honor Award from the AIA last fall.

True to the collaborative spirit of the progressive Sequoyah School, in Pasadena, California, its students played active roles in the recent architectural changes on campus. Architects Alice Fung and Michael Blatt asked the pupils at this independent K-8 school to list their “wild dream” improvements and prioritize their needs. Their input had impact: Fung + Blatt Architects’ (F+B) initial intervention here, in 2009, was a shaded pick-up/drop-off shelter, addressing a top priority of its users. The architects also tackled small projects, gradually weaving together the eclectic campus, before transforming a long-overlooked section with new buildings.

Instead of disrupting learning, the multi-phased design work inspired it, engaging students, for example, in mapping and analyzing the existing campus. In Sequoyah’s “place-based” pedagogy, its surroundings are fodder for learning.

But the site—a 2.25-acre parcel between a freeway off-ramp and a major artery—is not an obvious spot for a school. Sequoyah leases its campus from Caltrans, the state highway agency, yet the school has flourished here for decades, striking a balance among seemingly irreconcilable conditions. Read the rest of this entry »

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The future is spectacularly now in Product alum Edward Eyth’s concept art for “Back to the Future Part II”

by January 23rd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 11.21.58 AM

Today, Buzzfeed published the following photo essay, featuring Product Design alum Edward Eyth’s “Back to the Future Part II” concept art. The piece offers a prescient glimpse at the 1988 sketches of the futuristic world of 2015. What better way to kick off the weekend than by looking back at an Art Center alum’s vision for the future that is now.

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Alum Jessie Kawata merges design thinking and rocket science as NASA JPL’s visual strategist

by January 21st, 2015

Jessie Kawata is a visual strategist at NASA + JPL

Jessie Kawata applies design thinking to scientific quandries at NASA + JPL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jessie Kawata (BFA, Product ’11) is a Visual Strategist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where she gets to stare into space for a living. This term she is teaching a Saturday High class at Art Center as well as mentoring students in Product Design’s Design for Sustainability 2 Studio class, which includes a NASA JPL theme using JPL’s Earth Mission and Climate Sciences data. Below she describes how she helps pave the way for design to exist in space exploration.

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Art Center Dialogues: Catalyzing Creativity, Criticality and Community

by January 20th, 2015

Valerie Casey, head of Samsung's Innovation Accelerator, delivers the opening lecture in the Spring 2015 Art Center Dialogues series

Valerie Casey, head of the Samsung Accelerator, delivers the opening lecture in the Spring 2015 Art Center Dialogues series on February 4, 7 p.m.

Spring term brings the next exciting installment in a long-running annual lecture series endowed by the Toyota Motor Company. This year, Art Center Dialogues highlights influential leaders in creative fields and also explores what leading creatively means.

Confirmed speakers include Valerie Casey, head of the Samsung Accelerator; Helen Molesworth, chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles; Harriet Rubin, Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow and author, consultant and lecturer on leadership trends; Dede Gardner, President of Plan B Entertainment and producer of the films 12 Years A Slave, The Normal Heart and Selma; and Jessica Yellin, former Chief White House correspondent for CNN.

“Leaders in art, film, business and design practices, our speakers have changed both the questions we ask and the solutions we might find when it comes to thinking about 21st-century culture,” says Humanities and Sciences (H&S) Chair Jane McFadden, who curates the series. “We have invited them to inspire thoughtful discussion and broaden perspectives by engaging with our community across a variety of educational platforms, including lectures, panel discussions, workshops and collaborative endeavors.”

The Art Center Dialogues series kicks off February 4. Schedule and location details are at the bottom of this post. Admission is free and open to the public and to our campus community, and reservations are not required.

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Goodbye boob tube. Hello, smart TV: Yves Behar unveils the Samsung S9W at CES

by January 16th, 2015

The S9W, created as part of a partnership between Fuseproject and Samsung.

The S9W, created as part of a partnership between Fuseproject and Samsung.

In order for any one product to stand out at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES)—the annual convention held in Las Vegas in which thousands of companies show off their latest and greatest electronic devices—it has to be something special. And if that product happens to be a television set—a product category in which differentiation is not always the name of the game—then it must be something spectacular.

“Spectacular” seems an appropriate way to describe Samsung’s upcoming S9W, an Ultra High Definition ultra-thin curved TV co-designed by Product Design alumnus Yves Behar’s (BS ‘91) Fuseproject studio—whose iconic designs include Jawbone’s Up activity tracker, the One Laptop Per Child computer, and the SAYL chair for Herman Miller—and Samsung’s senior vice president and designer Yun-je Kang.

The S9W was unveiled by Samsung at last week’s CES and it was immediately lauded by the press. Bloomberg Businessweek called it a “sculptural masterpiece”; The Verge called it “as much a piece of art as it is a consumer electronics product”; and WIRED called it “the clutter-free curved TV of your dreams.”

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Carol Johnson’s WWII illustrations on view at Art Center’s Hutto-Patterson Exhibition Hall

by January 15th, 2015

Drawing-FireThe following Pasadena Now article adds a concise bit of context to Art Center’s new show of work by illustrator Carol Johnson. The exhibit opens today in the College’s newest gallery space, the Hutto-Patterson Exhibition Hall, located within South Campus’ Illustration and Fine Art hub at 870 South Raymond Avenue. This show offers a rare glimpse at both Johnson’s uniquely evocative illustrated narrative about WWII and, ultimately, our evolving relationship with war and how its atrocities and triumphs are conveyed and covered. And for those who have yet to visit Art Center’s newest building, this ongoing exhibition also represents the perfect opportunity to pay a visit to the meticulously renovated former US Post Office warehouse. 

Art Center College of Design presents Drawing Fire, an exhibition curated by alumnus Brody Albert, bringing attention to the work of his grandfather, illustrator Carol Johnson. As a World War II correspondent, Johnson helped translate the immediate experience of war into raw observational sketches for nationally syndicated newspapers, conveying a first hand experience of the war into the households of thousands of Americans.

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Cloud 9 formation: Environmental Design students draw inspiration from nature and Buckminster Fuller for innovative pavilion on Spain’s Costa Brava

by January 14th, 2015

Cloud 9, an award-winning Barcelona-based firm known for its dynamic, cutting-edge architecture, has collaborated with Art Center’s Environmental Design Department to design and fabricate a work/play pavilion for a residential site located on Spain’s Costa Brava.

Students from multiple disciplines were challenged to create an innovative structure that would draw inspiration from the local environment (a Mediterranean hillside amid tall pine trees), integrate new media, and become a case study for future projects. Cloud 9 director Enric Ruiz-Geli, imbued by Buckminster Fuller’s interest in natural geometry and parametric design, gave students their brief in February 2013 and followed up with regular visits as the project progressed. Concepts were developed and prototyped at the College’s Hillside Campus in Pasadena before being implemented at the site in Spain.

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LA Art Show casts a New Eye on Illustration’s emerging artists

by January 13th, 2015

The West Coast’s most comprehensive art experience, LA Art Show, is commemorating its 20th Anniversary at the LA Convention Center from January 14-18, 2015 and a handful of recent alumni from Art Center’s Illustration Department will be there to help celebrate.

Building on the success of last year’s partnership, Red Truck Gallery owner Noah Antieau again invited Associate Chair Aaron Smith to assemble a collection of work by Art Center’s Illustration alumni to showcase in “Littletopia,” a curated selection of galleries that are “bucking convention” in the art world. Smith has tapped emerging artists Zander Bice, Ranee Henderson, Ariel Lee, Valerie Pobjoy, Chris Youssef, Cassie Zhang to display their work under the “New Eye” banner, a term borrowed from the diverse tracks of study available within Art Center’s Illustration program. To add to the spectacle, upper-term students Addison Eaton and Erica Buttenschen will be presenting large, site specific sculptural installations at the fair.

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