Author Archive

Student designers incorporate quantified self metrics into mind-bogglingly innovative devices for people with disabilities

Thursday, August 13th, 2015
Panoramic shot of students in the Exploring the Quantified Self class

Panoramic shot of students in the Envisioning the Quantified Self class

Graphic Design student Leah Demeter found herself in the unique position of acting as both designer and potential consumer in one of her recent product design classes at Art Center. That’s because her team had chosen a challenge particularly relevant to her: develop a better captioning device for the hearing impaired.

“As someone with profound hearing loss,” Demeter says, “I face communications challenges on a daily basis. Captioning is one of the tools I use to help me follow conversations I would otherwise miss, but there are problems with the current design.”

(more…)

Transportation students journey to the year 2030 to see the future of cars. No time travel machine needed.

Friday, July 24th, 2015

Kids who are five years old today might be happy to know that Art Center Transportation Design students are already thinking about the future of cars and what they’ll be driving in 2030.

And the designers are drawing inspiration from an unexpected source: the wonderful world of plastics.

It’s all part of a three-month long design project and competition called Design for Alpha, sponsored by plastic manufacturer SABIC. The project challenged students to come up with forward-thinking ideas for vehicles that anticipate the future driving needs of anyone born after 2010—dubbed Generation Alpha —and then find ways of using the plastics of today and tomorrow to meet those needs.

(more…)

Art Center friends of 30 years unite for exhibition at Hurley HQ to raise scholarship funds

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015
Julian Smith, Hayden Smith, Chris Lundy and Mark Smith worked together as the "Sarasota Brotherhood" to gather and ship the paintings for the exhibition.

Julian Smith, Hayden Smith, Chris Lundy and Mark Smith worked together as the “Sarasota Brotherhood” to gather and ship the paintings for the exhibition.

It’s no surprise that lifelong friendships are often forged out of the rigor and intensity of an Art Center education. Take Mark Smith (BFA 88 Graphic) and Chris Lundy (BFA 89 Illustration), who met at Art Center in 1985. What’s followed has been 30 years of artistic collaborations, a shared love of music, film and writing and surf days on the beach. When Chris was diagnosed this past September with glioblastoma multiforme, a cancerous tumor of the brain, the two friends met the challenge side by side. Inspired by each other and their shared Art Center experience, they decided to create a scholarship in Chris’s name.

On Saturday, July 18, an exhibition spearheaded by Mark will showcase Chris’s extraordinary paintings, with proceeds going to support the Chris Lundy Creative Scholarship. The fund will provide financial assistance to talented Art Center students. Mark offered to talk to us about the exhibition, which will take place at the headquarters of Hurley in Costa Mesa, and his friendship with Chris. Here’s our conversation:

(more…)

Art Center-UCLA partnership explores the next frontier of healthcare design innovation

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Unknown-2

This is the second in a two-part series on a joint pilot program between Art Center and the UCLA Business of Science Center focusing on the role of design in the field of health and wellness. Art Center offers special thanks to the Knapp Foundation (Betsy and Bud Knapp) for providing generous support to launch the program.

A stethoscope cover that prevents the spread of disease. A non-invasive “tuning fork” that helps improve hip implant fit by aiding surgeons with feedback during hip replacement surgery. A sensor that can detect lung cancer biomarkers in the breath of high-risk patients.

These are a few of the innovations developed by students in Jeff Higashi’s recent Advancing Bioengineering Innovations course—and prime examples of what can be accomplished when designers are included in the early stages of developing health and wellness products.

(more…)

Students stir emotion with light and shadow at Salone del Mobile 2015

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015
Inspired by invisible depths of both light and shadow in urushi, the "Continuum" family of luminaires is a meditation on the seamless relationship between light and shadow. By Connie Bakshi, Kouichi Miyazaki

Inspired by invisible depths of both light and shadow in urushi, the “Continuum” family of luminaires is a meditation on the seamless relationship between light and shadow. By Connie Bakshi, Kouichi Miyazaki

Mokume lights that use wood grain to reveal the passage of time. Pendant lights that echo the ephemeral life of the raindrop. Porcelain luminaires that freeze calligraphy, revealing the beauty of the form’s imperfections. These are a few of the projects that emerged from the 9th annual Pacific Rim international collaboration between Art Center and Tama Art University in Tokyo. Hosted and lead by the Environmental Design Department, Pacific Rim challenges students from both schools each year to collaborate to envision new lighting designs by exploring the way light impacts the way we perceive our world, influences our mood and colors our experiences. This year’s collaboration encouraged students to investigate the sensorial qualities of light and shadow within the context of Japanese history, tradition and culture. (more…)

Venice Family Clinic gives Art Center designers a seat at the table for new pediatric center

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

REDO_VENICE1

“Design has an enormous and growing role to play in developing health and wellness products and spaces,” says Art Center Product Design faculty member Jeff Higashi.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that when the Venice Family Clinic, an affiliate of UCLA Health System, was preparing to launch its new Children’s Health and Wellness Center, organizers made sure that designers—including 12 Art Center students—had seats at the table. (more…)

Scholarship recipient strikes “Gold” with Imagine Dragons music video

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015
Bryan Fugal on set

Bryan Fugal on set

Graduate Film student Bryan Fugal has already done more in the world of professional music video production than, well, many professionals his age. The Utah native and recipient of an Art Center MFA departmental scholarship recently wrapped up a video shoot for the Imagine Dragons‘ song, “Gold,” where he filled two roles: producer and first assistant director. It’s his second time working on a video for the band—and, he hopes, not his last. We asked him to tell us a little about the experience, the role of scholarships, and how Art Center did or didn’t prepare him for the gig.

(more…)

Social entrepreneur Nathan Cooke’s Fresh Life Toilets offer a fresh start to locals in developing countries

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015
Nathan Cooke

Nathan Cooke

When Nathan Cooke (BS 08 Product Design) was first approached by a group of entrepreneurs to help start a new venture centered on building toilets in developing countries, he wasn’t terribly taken with the idea. But seeing their determination, he decided to help them build a test toilet.

Five years later, Cooke and his colleagues are still working together.  Cooke is co-founder and creative director of Sanergy, a social enterprise based in Nairobi, Kenya, with the mission of making hygienic sanitation affordable for everyone. Through Sanergy’s local brand, Fresh Life, the company franchises its Fresh Life Toilets to entrepreneurs in informal settlements. Franchisees, called Fresh Life Operators, make a profit by charging market rates for use of the toilets.

We checked in the Cooke during his most recent visit to campus for an update on lessons learned from launching this unique venture.

(more…)

Art Center’s military veterans, supported by scholarship, transition to new careers

Thursday, November 6th, 2014
Can’t Sleep, watercolor on paper, by Joshua Moreno: "This series is a journalistic approach to PTSD in soldiers. These are a few of my brothers who allowed me to illustrate their deepest nightmares."

Can’t Sleep, watercolor on paper, by Joshua Moreno: “This series is a journalistic approach to PTSD in soldiers. These are a few of my brothers who allowed me to illustrate their deepest nightmares.”

Military veterans who come to Art Center to begin new careers in art and design are, by nearly every account, among the College’s most dedicated, disciplined and tenacious students. In honor of Veterans Day, we reached out to three recent recipients of the Ahmanson Veterans Scholarship Initiative, a program which aims to help students restart their education at private colleges and universities in California and assimilate back to their civilian lives. We asked each of them to describe the transition from the military to Art Center and to offer advice to other veterans thinking of doing the same.

Here’s what they had to say.

(more…)

History in a box: Unpacking Art Center’s industrial design photography collections for the world

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

Over 100,000 photographs, 2,000 films and videos and 500 linear feet of print materials—all documenting aspects of American design history—make the Art Center Archives a treasure trove for exploration by scholars, faculty, students and the general public. But making those materials accessible to a world beyond campus raises challenging questions: Who decides what to preserve first? Once digitized, where should a collection live online? How does one prepare for inevitable changes in technology?

To begin tackling questions like these—and to start the process of bringing the Art Center Archives to the world—the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2013 awarded the College a prestigious grant to launch a pilot project to digitize, preserve and make accessible a portion of Art Center’s industrial design collection. As the project wraps up one year later, Bob Dirig shares his thoughts about collaboration, unexpected outcomes and the future of the College as a locus of art and design scholarship.

(more…)