Author Archive

Prominent theorist Ezio Manzini to discuss new book connecting design culture to social change

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

 

Ezio Manzini

Ezio Manzini

Ezio Manzini, a leading force in social impact design and founder of the DESIS (Design for Social Innovation towards Sustainability) network of university-based design labs (including Art Center’s Designmatters department), will present a lecture based on ideas addressed within his new book, Design, When Everybody Designs, published by MIT Press. The event, which begins at 7pm in Art Center’s LA Times Media Center, will include an hour-long talk about design culture’s role in driving the future of social change and a book signing at 8pm.

The following excerpt from Manzini’s book, which was originally published as part of Mapping Social Design‘s Expert Workshop, offers an enticing preview of the innovative and deeply-considered ideas Manzini will address in his presentation at Art Center next week:

In the 21st century social innovation will be interwoven with design as both stimulus and objective, indeed it will stimulate design as much as technical innovation did in the 20th century. At the same time, it will be what a growing proportion of design activities will be seeking to achieve. In principle, design has all the potentialities to play a major role in triggering and supporting social change and therefore becoming design for social innovation. Today we are at the beginning of this journey and we still need a better understanding of the possibilities, the limits and the implications of this emerging design mode, but what is already clear is that design for social innovation is not a new discipline: it is simply one of the ways in which contemporary design is appearing. Therefore, what it requires is not so much a specific set of skills and methods, but a new culture, a new way of looking at the world and at what design can do with and for people living in it.

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Advertising alum Anthony Cardenas’ Penn and Teller Mazda spot lands Super Bowl slot

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Mazda CX-5 : Penn and Teller 30 second spot from Anthony Cardenas on Vimeo.

Anthony Cardenas came to Art Center’s Advertising program equipped with equal quantities of talent and doubt. He doubted whether it was wise to spend several years pursuing his second undergraduate degree. (He had recently received his B.A. in Marketing from CSU Northridge). He had questions about how he’d finance his degree. He also wondered whether it made any sense for him to focus on copywriting at an art and design college.

But eventually his anxieties lifted once he discovered that his unconventional choices — aka his differentiating qualities — were fueling his success. “Everyone I was in school with wanted to be an art director, so why not be a copywriter?” Cardenas remembers wondering. “I enjoyed it, my peers seemed to enjoy my writing and found it funny (or they were really good at pretending to laugh), and I thoroughly enjoyed doing that more than sitting on a computer comping all day. So, I made it known to all of my friends and teachers that I wanted to become a copywriter, and I was the only one at that time really.”

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Art Center’s Film department joins Birdman’s Emmanuel Lubezki in embracing ARRI Pro Camera Accessories

Friday, February 27th, 2015

ARRI PCA Gear for the C300 from Chase Hagen on Vimeo.

This video is more than it seems. It’s not just a polished promotional piece for ARRI Pro Camera Accessories, targeting young filmmakers. It’s actually a multi-layered (and slightly meta) example of Art Center’s core values—collaboration, industry-minded creativity, polished production values. Look closely at the video’s ingredient list (aka credits) and you’ll find that it’s been fortified with Art Center talent at every level. Film student Chase Hagen produced the above behind-the-scenes look at the production of a music video, directed by Art Center Film alumnus, Steve Dabal.

The piece, which was shot in the soundstage at Art Center’s Hillside campus, was commissioned by ARRI Pro Camera Accessories as a result of a relationship fostered by Undergrad & Grad Film chair Ross LaManna and Advanced Cinematography instructor Affonso Beato, ASC. Then again, Art Center filmmakers are in good company: Here’s an interview with Birdman‘s Oscar-winning cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki, in which he credits ARRI equipment with facilitating some of the film’s most innovative camera-work and creative flourishes.

 

New Student/Space video features MDP student Kristina Ortega on the future of medicine and technology

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Art Center has a reputation for putting students through their paces, challenging them to meet and exceed their wildest creative dreams. The work ethic instilled here is legendary as are the results of all that toiling, ideating, imagining and making.

But the journey from inspiration to finished creation has always been somewhat mysterious. So beginning last Fall, we set out to illuminate students’ creative process with the series of videos we’ve recently renamed Student Space. Now it’s become a bonafide ‘thing.’ Here’s how it’s done: We identify three students from different disciplines who are in the process of completing an ambitious project. Over the course of the term we work with them to create three videos capturing the launch, obstacles and completion of their finished work of art and/or design. At the end of the term, each student’s trio of episodes constitutes an intimate take on the agony and ecstasy of bringing an idea to life. The results have been fascinating, dramatic and nothing short of spectacular. Need proof? Check out this playlist on our YouTube page.

The Spring 2015 term, will feature just one student: Media Design Practices thesis candidate, Kristina Ortega. We have no doubt that the spellbinding complexity of her project, which explores the ways people currently use technology to forecast future uses for tech, will more than make up for the lack of confederates in this Student/Space cohort. She’ll investigate something she calls “the human microbiome,” and its uses for the future of medicine. There’s really no more to say about her groundbreaking research, which we’ll capture over the course of this term, except: watch and learn. Oh, and enjoy!

Alum Travis Asada’s P.O.T.U.S. series of paintings casts Presidents’ Day in a whole new light

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly how and what to celebrate on Presidents’ Day. Sure it’s nice to have a long weekend. But the occasion of our forefathers’ birthdays doesn’t quite resonate with the force of, say, Independence Day or even Memorial Day.

However, alum Travis Asada’s viscerally impactful series of P.O.T.U.S. paintings may remedy that Presidents’ Day malaise by offering an unusually intimate take on the presidency. A wildly ambitious project, the Illustration alum set out to capture each president, first as a drawing and then later in paint. Asada illuminates the above curated selection of images from his P.O.T.U.S series with an artist’s statement as well as a Q&A about his creative practice below. The combination of the two just might offer an opportunity for a deeper connection to our nation’s Commanders in Chief and their namesake holiday.

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Alum Andre Kim conceives Starbucks Roastery and Tasting Room as an ampitheater of coffee

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-10 at 1.59.02 PM

It’s only been a year and a half since Andre Kim (BFA 07 Env) signed on as a senior concept design manager at Starbucks. But the young environmental designer’s creative sensibility has already had a transformative impact on the java giant’s shifting identity. In a bid to compete with the surging success of high-end craft coffee boutiques (hence those ubiquity of long lines of Gen Y hipsters patiently awaiting their $6 pour overs), Starbucks set out to create the ultimate coffee fetishist’s fantasyland in the form of a new flagship retail experience in Seattle, designed by none other than Kim.

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Dispatches from the future of design thinking: MDP’s Faculty Work-in-Progress show

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

MDP Faculty Work-in-Progress Show. Video by Nick Meehan from MediaDesignPractices on Vimeo.

“Being part of a community that provides support and critique is important,” said Media Design Practices (MDP) Chair Anne Burdick as she kicked off the department’s first ever Faculty Work-in-Progress show on a recent Thursday evening in Art Center’s Wind Tunnel gallery space. “It’s really a super amazing gift.”

As the MFA program’s twelve faculty members’ presentations unfolded over the next two hours, it quickly became clear that Burdick was not overstating the rewards of her department’s commitment to open dialogue. The event, which Burdick hopes will become a regular piece of programming, was organized around the following theme: a piece of something bigger. Faculty responded to that imperative with a series short presentations of unfinished projects they’re cultivating in their private creative practices.

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Faculty member Jeff Higashi decodes the design innovations informing Superbowl XLIX

Friday, 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?”

Wednesday, 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.

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

Monday, 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. (more…)