Monthly Archives: October 2012

Designer Jeremy Mende on ‘anxious futurism,’ petroleum, biorhythmic data

Jeremy Mende's "100 Years from Now" installation in Rome.

Students packed an overflowing Los Angeles Times auditorium last Thursday night for 3×3*: Type Guys, an event that featured three presentations and a lively Q&A with designers Jeremy Mende, Kyle Cooper and Art Center’s own Simon Johnston—three men that have crafted the way we see, understand and interact with typography.

Last week we gave you highlights from Kyle Cooper’s presentation. Today we focus on San Francisco-based Jeremy Mende, an associate professor of design at the California College of the Arts, where he teaches experiemental typography and critical theory.

In 2000, he founded MendeDesign, a firm that describes itself as creating “unique, poetic and unexpected messages” and that believes that beauty and authenticity have a “critical role in producing things of value and durability.”

Mende has been recognized internationally for his work and has pieces in several collections including at SFMOMA. In 2010-11, he was the Rome Prize Fellow in Design at the American Academy in Rome.

At Art Center, he spoke with students about work he’s created that meet at the “interesection of [his] interest in psychology and [his] interest in design and [his] interest in typography.”

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Flea, Carnegie Hall cellist to play at Art Center

Flea, the famed (and sometimes pants-less) bassist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, will share the stage at Art Center College of Design with some interesting company: a Carnegie Hall cellist and a Caltech physicist.

Part of the Muse/ique classical concert series, the show on Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. will explore vibrations of all kinds with a program that includes Bach, Coltrane, Vivaldi and the Beatles.

Crossover cellist Matt Haimovitz — known for his blend of pop, jazz and rock — will play a Jimi Hendrix-style version of the National Anthem on his 300-year-old Venetian cello. And Caltech physicist Sean Carroll will rap about String Theory, the idea that vibration is at the center of all life.

A pre-concert reception will include wine and tours of Art Center galleries. Tickets are $60; $10 for students (go to and use promo code “Student”); and $30 for alumni, staff and faculty (use promo code ACenter).

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Title sequence designer Kyle Cooper on fear, bleeding type, and going lo-fi for “Argo”

(L to R) Simon Johnston, Jeremy Mende and Kyle Cooper field questions from students.

Students packed an overflowing Los Angeles Times auditorium last night for 3×3*: Type Guys, an event that featured three presentations and a lively Q&A with designers Jeremy Mende, Kyle Cooper and Art Center’s own Simon Johnston—three men that have crafted the way we see, understand and interact with typography.

You can read highlights from Johnston’s and Mende’s presentations; today, we’ll focus on Cooper.

The founder of Prologue Films, Cooper has been credited by Details magazine as “almost single-handedly revitalizing the main title sequence as an art form.”

The designer behind the title sequences for films like Se7en, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and the critically acclaimed current release Argo shared with the crowd his process, his philosophy and some behind-the-scenes tidbits.

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Students turn lamps into art for New York exhibit

Eszter Che (in blue) and her New York-inspired piece "Manhattan Rose."

Illustration student Eszter Chen has designed a floral take on New York in an unexpected spot: a ceramic lamp.

The piece, titled “Manhattan Rose,” is wrapped with hand-painted roses and ladybugs, the state flower and insect, and a map of Manhattan with stems as streets and leaves as signs.

“When people think of New York, they think of love and passion,” she said. “Instead of an urban place, I wanted to use more natural elements.”

Chen and 11 other students in Ann Field’s Illustration for License class, which applies illustration to interior products, have spent the two weeks hand crafting New York-themed lamps. Coronet Lighting will display the pieces as part of its “Lamps as Art” exhibition at the Boutique Design New York Show Nov. 11 to 12.

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GM design chief, alum Wayne Cherry receives lifetime award

Wayne Cherry (inset) and the Cadillac Sixteen

General Motors design chief and Art Center College of Design alum Wayne Cherry will receive high design honors a decade after retirement.

Cherry will be awarded the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology’s 2013 Lifetime Design Achievement Award at the EyesOn Design show in June.

Cherry joined GM in 1962 after graduating from Art Center, and his 41-year career with the carmaker yielded such classics as the 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado and the 1967 Chevrolet Camaro. He also oversaw the creation of Pontiac Solstice, Chevrolet Corvettes and Hummer H2 while serving as vice president of design from 1992 to 2003.

But perhaps the most legendary design during his tenure was never built: the Cadillac Sixteen, a 2003 concept car with a 16-cylinder engine and more than 1,000 horsepower (a sedan has 150).

Despite rumors (and hopes) of a limited production, the ultra-luxury, four-door sedan was shelved in favor of the Cadillac XTS. But the Sixteen has resurfaced on screen, including in Adam Sandler’s 2006 comedy “Flick” and, more recently, in the 2011 film “Real Steel,” starring Hugh Jackman.


Asking ‘Imagine If?’: Interaction Design at Art Center

Alumnus Ian Sands PROD 95 in Microsoft's prototyping lab, testing a TouchWall.

This Fall term, Art Center took another step in its evolution and launched an Interaction Design (IxD) degree program headed up by user experience pioneer Maggie Hendrie.

Now, wait a minute, you might be thinking, hasn’t the College been teaching interaction design for years? After all, Art Center has alumni working at Google, Microsoft, Samsung and virtually every company exploring the boundaries of interactivity.

The answer to that, of course, is yes, Art Center has indeed been preparing its graduates to enter the field of interaction design for the better part of two decades.

“Art Center has a long history of maintaining the dynamic between the development of a craft and the application of it, and interaction design is an applied craft,” Hendrie recently told The Dotted Line. “Also, Art Center is already outstanding in the very fields in which interaction is applied: environments, interfaces, products, automotives, social projects and systems.”

Take for example alumnus Ian Sands, the co-founder of vision and strategy firm Intentional Futures, who graduated from the College in 1995 with a degree in Product Design.

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Art Center’s Car Classic showcases nearly a century of design

Art Center College of Design celebrated nearly a century’s worth of vehicle designers and designs — from the 1924 Rolls Royce to the 2011 McLaren — at Car Classic.

The annual event, held Sunday at the Hillside campus, drew a crowd of 1,200 and featured a cameo from “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno who arrived in his jet-powered EcoJet.

Nearly 90 vehicles were parked in a series of style-themed vignettes, including colorful all-American classics, a series of French Citroens from the ‘70s and a progression of cars built for speed, from a 1947 Indy racer to the 2011 Leela Spyder.

A section of the field — a ’61 Cadillac Coupe, ’88 Fiero, ’64 Corvair Monza Coupe and a ’58 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Coupe — was dedicated to designs by Ron Hill, an Art Center alum and former chair of transportation design. Hill also received the Lifetime Achievement award for his 30-year career that spanned Corvettes, Camaros and Cadillacs.

“The theme of inspiration makes our car show unique,” said Stewart Reed, chair of Art Center’s undergraduate and graduate Transportation Design programs. “While other Concours d’Elegance events showcase the world’s most historic and luxurious vehicles, Car Classic draws a parallel between the vehicles on display and the people who created them.”

The event also benefitted Art Center students: General Motors Foundation donated $100,000 for Transportation Design scholarships and programs, and undergrads had a chance to talk shop with industry leaders.

“You get to meet world-class designers as car lovers,” said fifth-term Transportation Design student Marcello Raeli. “I talked to [General Motor design executive] Clay Dean for 40 minutes until I realized it was him.”

Click here for more photos.

Alum Henrik Fisker makes electric cars cool

Fisker Karma and Henrik Fisker

Electric cars have their criticisms: failing batteries, lack of plug-ins and egg-shaped designs.

Design veteran and Art Center alum Henrik Fisker — who worked on the BMW Z8 roadster and the Aston Martin V8 Vantage — recently told the Wall Street Journal there’s not a “huge” market for electric cars.

Interestingly, Fisker has also spent the past seven years designing one.

Since leaving Aston Martin in 2005, the Danish-born designer raised more than $1.2 billion to start his own company. Fisker Automotive last year launched its only product, the aptly named Fisker Karma, the world’s first luxury, electric, extended-range vehicle at a price tag of $100,000.

About 1,500 Karma models have sold in the U.S. and Europe (high-profile customers include Leonardo DiCaprio and Justin Bieber) and the company has plans to expand into Dubai and China.

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Designmatters Safe Agua Peru wins Tech Award

Safe Agua Peru projects Balde a Balde, left, and GiraDora.

The Art Center team behind Safe Agua Peru has won a Tech Award for creating cost-effective ways to clean and conserve water in Peru.

Each year, Silicon Valley’s Tech Museum of Innovation honors 12 “techmanitarians,” humanitarian efforts with a tech angle, in six categories, including health, education and sustainable energy.

Selected from more than 1,000 international entrees, the Safe Agua Peru Designmatters project is being honored with the Katherine M. Swanson Young Innovator Award, along with Angaza Design, which allows off-the-grid Africans to pre-pay for clean solar power.

Two cash prizes of $75,000 and $25,000 will be awarded in each category. Winners will be announced Nov. 15 at the 12th annual Tech Awards gala at the Santa Clara Convention Center.

The Designmatters products being recognized are GiraDora, a human-powered washer and spin dryer, and Balde a Balde, a portable faucet that delivers running water from any bucket. Both products were designed with families living in Cerro Verde, a 30,000-person slum surrounding Lima, Peru.

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