Art Center Earthquake Project Showcased at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum

LA HAS FAULTS, PHASE 1 (Sean Donahue, Graduate Media Design Faculty)

The L.A. Earthquake Sourcebook and the short film Preparedness Now, developed at Art Center as part of The Los Angeles Earthquake: Get Ready project, will be showcased in Cooper-Hewitt’s 2010 National Design Triennial, opening Friday. Art Center students, faculty, alumni and artists, in partnership with leading scientists and community experts, generated new research and visual communication tools about seismic safety as part of this Designmatters-led project. The project has become a national and international example of the power of design thinking applied to disaster preparedness.

“When we initiated the research phase for Get Ready, we were coping with the aftermath and systemic disruption caused by Hurricane Katrina, and seeking to understand how we could use the art and design expertise of our community as a catalyst for resiliency in our own backyard,” said Mariana Amatullo, vice president and director of Designmatters, the College’s social impact educational initiative. “We wanted to provoke a conversation about preparedness and rally public attention around it. Today, we look back at this project that has engaged so many of our students, faculty, alumni and a multidisciplinary consortia of partners nationally through Designmatters with a great sense of accomplishment. The conversation we started keeps resonating with the same sense of urgency and relevance as before.”

Samarth Bicycle Trailer (Graduate Industrial Design student Radhika Bhalla)

Museum curator Ellen Lupton said, “Art Center’s Designmatters program is leading the way in integrating real-world social activism into the design curriculum. Students are learning what can happen when groups and institutions come together around an issue.”

Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum will present the fourth exhibition in the National Design Triennial series this week. Why Design Now? opens May 14 and will be on view through Jan. 9, 2011. Inaugurated in 2000, the triennial program presents the most innovative designs at the center of contemporary culture. In this fourth exhibition in the series, the National Design Triennial will explore the work of designers addressing human and environmental problems across many fields of the design practice, from architecture and products to fashion, graphics, new media, and landscapes. Organized by Cooper-Hewitt curators Lupton, Cara McCarty, Matilda McQuaid and Cynthia Smith, the triennial will be global in reach for the first time, reflecting the connectedness of design practices and the need for international cooperation to solve the world’s problems.

In addition to The Los Angeles Earthquake: Get Ready project, the triennial will also feature the work of Art Center alumnus and faculty member Sean Donahue and Graduate Industrial Design student Radhika Bhalla.

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