Archive for the ‘Alumni Relations’ Category

Art Center in Asia: It Began in Japan

Friday, November 21st, 2014
Product Design alumnus Kenji Ekuan (BS 57), second from right, arrives in the United States in the 1950s.

Product Design alumnus Kenji Ekuan (BS 57), second from right, arrives in the United States in the 1950s.

In the latest issue of Dot magazine, we take a look at Art Center College of Design’s long history—nearly 60 years—of connections to Asia. Take a trip with us through time and across the Pacific as we look back in history and forward to the future. Today, we explore the College’s historic relationship with Japan.

In 1956, Edward A. “Tink” Adams, Art Center’s first president, traveled to Japan with Advertising alumnus George Jergenson (BFA 35)—then the director of the College’s Industrial Design (ID) Department—and ID faculty member John Coleman. They had been invited by the Japanese government to tour the country and to share their thoughts on how industrial design could provide a competitive advantage for a nation still early in its post-war recovery.

After returning to the U.S., they filed a formal report containing several recommendations for Japan, including instilling a sense of national pride in products being “Made in Japan”—they cited Nikon’s confidence in placing its name on its camera, “one of the finest cameras anywhere”—and making sure Japanese students fully grasp their country’s rich cultural history. The future designer, it stated, “will learn more…from studying Japanese masters of painting and design than he will from Western art.”

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View from the Bridge: The President’s attitude of gratitude for the Fall term’s vast riches

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014
Incoming students during Fall 2014 Orientation Week.

Incoming students during Fall 2014 Orientation Week.

Thanksgiving, that wonderful holiday in which we as a nation give thanks for all our blessings, is just around the corner. In the spirit of that tradition, I’d like to take a moment to pause and reflect on what I have to be thankful for here at Art Center.

First of all, I’m thankful for all the newest members of the Art Center family. This Fall term we welcomed a record-breaking entering class of 432 new students, a number which reflects the continuing strength and enormous appeal of both our undergraduate and graduate programs. These students come to us from a total of 37 states across the nation and 31 countries around the globe, for a total of 47 countries represented across our truly international student body.

You may also be interested to know that the average age of the entering class is 21 and that, of our incoming undergraduates, 52% are female. As always, all of our incoming students demonstrated their considerable merit through their portfolios, academic records and personal statements, and each underwent a rigorous review to gain admission.

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And the technical Oscar went to…3-D VFX wizard and Art Center alum Peter W. Anderson

Monday, November 17th, 2014
Peter W. Anderson (BFA 67), left, accepting his Oscar at the Academy's Technical Achievement Awards with Douglas Trumbull. (Credit: Michael Yada/©A.M.P.A.S.)

Peter W. Anderson (BFA 67), left, accepting his Oscar at the Academy’s Technical Achievement Awards with Douglas Trumbull. (Credit: Michael Yada/©A.M.P.A.S.)

Earlier this year, Photography alumnus and visual effects master Peter W. Anderson, ASC, accepted the 2013 Gordon E. Sawyer Award, an Academy Award for technological contributions that have brought credit to the film industry. “Without the sciences what would the art be?” Anderson asked as he hefted his Oscar. “Without the art, what would the sciences be?”

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Art Center in Asia: Create Change Design Forums at Beijing Design Week

Friday, November 14th, 2014
Art Center's Mark Breitenberg welcomes participants to the 2014 Create Change Forums in Beijing.

Art Center’s Mark Breitenberg welcomes participants to the 2014 Create Change Forums in Beijing.

In the latest issue of Dot magazine, we take a look at Art Center College of Design’s long history—nearly 60 years—of connections to Asia. Take a trip with us through time and across the Pacific as we look back in history and forward to the future. Today’s focus: the College’s growing relationship with China.

Whether it’s the impending arrival of China-made cars to the U.S. market or Film alumnus Michael Bay’s (BFA 88) Transformers: Age of Extinction breaking the $300 million barrier at the Chinese box office, these days all eyes are on the Middle Kingdom. And Art Center is no exception.

Just ask Mark Breitenberg, special assistant to the College’s president, who led the Create Change Design Forums, a three-day series of presentations and workshops which took place in China this September during Beijing Design Week.

At the packed forums, co-organized by Graduate Industrial Design (Grad ID) alumnus Lan Yu and sponsored by her company, Art Center leaders and alumni met with employees from 70 Chinese companies to introduce them to Art Center’s methodologies and creative processes.

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And the Gold Award goes to…Safe Agua Colombia Team Calientamigos at IDSA International Conference

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Team Calientamigos™ had a very busy summer. The Designmatters team members Mariana Somma, Della Tosin and Safe Agua Assistant Instructor Stella Hernandez returned to Bogotá, Colombia, for another informative field research trip. Around the same time, Tianyi Sun and Kevin Chang visited Austin, Texas, to attend The Exchange, IDSA International Conference, and to accept a Gold Award for Calientamigos™. Commenting on the students’ winning project, IDSA jury member Oscar Peña, global creative director for Philips Design Lighting, described it thus: “Authentic, inventive and playful solution to an everyday need. Good understanding of the value of doing daily rituals together.”

The following three-part post was written by Mariana Somma (Grad ID student), Stella Hernandez (Environmental Design BS 11) and Kevin Chang (Product Design student), on behalf of the entire Safe Agua Colombia Calientamigos™ team.

MARIANA SOMMA

mariana_headshot-300x300I recently had the privilege of joining the Calientamigos™ Team, which began through the Designmatters Safe Agua Colombia project. Through very tenacious last-minute efforts, I flew to Bogotá, Colombia, with teammate Della Tosin, with efforts to take with us five new Calientamigos BOMBA™ heater prototypes to the families living in the settlement of Altos del Pino (ADP), as well as check in on the first two rounds of prototypes left with the families over six months ago.  The experience was incredible, and meeting the families of ADP is one I will never forget. It was amazing to see the families using the Calientamigos™ system to heat water for bathing, cooking, cleaning, and even washing their family pets! For example, a family of 10 uses the BOMBA™ heater on a daily basis to heat bath water, saving them hours of time heating on a conventional stove, and with significant reduction in their gas bills.

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Is Art Center the creative equivalent to bootcamp?

Friday, November 7th, 2014
Graphic Design alumnus Michael Noh's (BFA 14) SYNC project. Photo: Alex Aristei

Graphic Design alumnus Michael Noh’s (BFA 14) SYNC project. Photo: Alex Aristei

Studying at Art Center is like going through boot camp. You’ve probably heard students and alumni from the College compare those two experiences. But how realistic is that analogy?

Graphic Design alumnus Michael Noh (BFA 14), who graduated this past summer, has an answer. Prior to studying at Art Center, Noh served in the Army Reserves for four years, during which time he designed multimedia communications and also served on a tour in Iraq as part of a Psychological Operation (PsyOp) unit.

Which means, yes, he went through boot camp. So I put the question directly to this military veteran and working designer: Is graduating from Art Center really akin to surviving basic training?

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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.

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How we work, live and shop: Environmental Design grad students redefining the future

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Drawing on a diverse array of fields, Art Center’s Environmental Design Master of Science program — led by Department Chair David Mocarski — investigates the dynamic qualities of story-driven design, combining conceptual rigor and theoretical thinking with professional practice and a focus on technical innovation, manufacturing, fabrication and project execution. Three recent graduates are redefining the future of the environments we inhabit on a daily basis, as their visionary thesis projects demonstrate.

"Soft Working" office furniture by Hines Fischer

Hines Fischer’s family room-inspired “Soft Working” office furniture system.

Hines Fischer: “Soft Working” office furniture system

For many years the office has been designed around accommodating the desktop computer. Office furniture’s job was to support the tools of the office and their use. But as technology has become more integrated, Hines Fischer (MS 14) believes that the most important thing for office furniture to support is people. The workspace should encourage and nurture people’s interactions, collaborations and ideas.

It’s a concept Fischer calls “Soft Working,” which is the name he gave to a line of furniture he designed as a grad student in Environmental Design’s Furniture and Fixtures track. His concept began with the observation that traditional office environments are formal, emotionally sterile, even forbidding. The meeting room is one place that the office community typically comes together, but — usually centered around a giant table — it too can feel alienating.

Because today’s businesses want their employees collaborating, innovating and working together — to be less of a staff and more of a family — Fischer saw that what the “family room” is to the home, the meeting room could be to the office: a comforting space that encourages interaction, community, mental clarity and openness.

Through its innovative use of form, color and texture, including wood and natural fabrics, Soft Working reinvents the modern office, improving human connection, workflow and productivity.

The Environmental Design program provides students high-level opportunities to engage directly with industry, including the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, North America’s premier annual showcase for contemporary design, where Fischer presented his work two years in a row.

 

"Vertical Farm" by William Shin

“Vertical Farm” urban living design concept by William Shin.

William Shin: “Vertical Farm” mixed-use high-rise

Master’s candidates in the Spatial Experience track look beyond the single object, moment or place to see how collectively these make an impact in projects ranging from branded retail and theme-driven dining, to hospitality, exhibition and residential design. Issues and methodologies of sustainable design are integrated throughout the curriculum.

While a graduate student, William Shin (MS 14) noticed a 21st-century trend toward cities coexisting in greater harmony with nature and the environment. As urban populations increase around the world, the pursuit of different lifestyles in those cities is also increasing. As environment-friendly lifestyles and locovore food culture take root in cities, green spaces and gardens are becoming increasingly important. Already many city dwellers and even commercial restaurants are growing their own vegetables and fruits.

Stepping into role of “conductor,” Shin orchestrated a set of spatial ideas around these emerging realities. His thesis project boldly re-envisions the urban neighborhood in the form of a “Vertical Farm” — a space that combines residential, agricultural, business, educational and leisure activities within a single structure. Centered around organic food production, spaces also foster research and learning, the coming together of families and neighbors, and the pursuit of healthy activities.

Online and offline platforms converge in Shuning Li's "Pinporium" design concept inspired by Pinterest.

Online and offline platforms converge in Shuning Li’s “Pinporium” design concept inspired by Pinterest.

Shuning Li: “Pinporium” retail platform

What’s next? is the driving question behind much of the exploratory and experimental work underway in our studios. Our graduate students see themselves as proactive opportunity seekers in the creative process, ideating and collaborating across disciplines, platforms and cultures.

Inspired by Pinterest, the popular online visual discovery tool used to collect and share ideas, Shuning Li (MS 14) designed “Pinporium” as a dynamic retail platform. More than simply a store, the project proposes an entirely new business model for the retail industry in the digital age. Supported by advanced technology, virtual community, and a focus on interactivity and flexibility, the Pinterest-branded emporium-style retail spaces envisioned by Li in her thesis project would engage and inspire users with a customized shopping experience based on their Pinterest user data and preferences.

In Li’s concept, “pinning” becomes a more powerful act than merely bookmarking and sharing images. Online and offline platforms converge to create dynamic, adaptive spaces that promise more interactivity between shoppers and sellers and significant potential to bring new life to physical stores, with lasting social and economic impact.

To learn more about Art Center’s graduate and undergraduate programs, check out the new 2015–2016 Viewbook.

Under the influence of Richard Pietruska: 40 years training the world’s top car designers

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014
Richard Pietrushka

Richard Pietruska

As we prepare to celebrate Richard Pietruska’s remarkable accomplishment of 40 years as an instructor at Art Center, we are receiving numerous notes and images from his former students expressing their appreciation for his impact on their lives and careers.  I just received a particularly heartfelt and personal email from our alumnus Chris Bangle.

As you may know, Chris is one of our most notable Transportation Design alumni who has had an amazing career (still in progress) – first, as a designer for Opel, then Fiat, then a long and distinguished career leading the BMW global design team.

I greatly value Chris’ authentic and kind words about Richard, which are undoubtedly echoed by many.­

– Stewart Reed, Chair of Transportation Design

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Holy grand slam, Batman! Batmobiles times four on display at Car Classic

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014
1966 Batman TV Series Batmobile designed by George Barris

1966 Batman TV Series Batmobile designed by George Barris

Four authentic, full-scale Batmobiles will roll onto the field at Art Center’s Street to Screen: Car Classic 2014 event this Sunday. Exploring the impact transportation and entertainment design has had on Hollywood and the entertainment industry—on camera, on the road and behind the scenes—this year’s Bat-tastic concours confab will host a critical mass of the caped crusader’s legendary vehicles.

Art Center’s ties to the Dark Knight extend well beyond transportation. Entertainment Design Chair Tim Flattery designed the Batmobile Val Kilmer used in the 1994 film Batman Forever. Alumnus Harald Belker (BS Transportation Design 90) created the 1997 Batmobile George Clooney drove in Batman and Robin and Illustration Chair Ann Field worked on character design for Uma Thurman’s Poison Ivy in that same movie. Alumnus Zack Snyder (BFA Film 89) has added the great detective to his latest Superman epic, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, scheduled to be released in 2016. And who owns Batman/DC Comics? None other than Warner Bros., led by Trustee Greg Silverman, who reigns as its President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production.

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