Archive for the ‘Environmental Design’ Category

Furniture designers square off on Spike TV’s “Framework,” featuring Product Design alum Nolen Niu

Thursday, March 5th, 2015
Common, Nolen Niu, Brandon Gore. Image courtesy Spike TV.

Framework judges Common, Nolen Niu, Brandon Gore. Image courtesy Spike TV.

When a casting agent called Product Design alumnus Nolen Niu (BS 99) asking if he would be interested in participating as a judge on a Spike TV show, he said “Hell yeah!” A fan of such shows as Bar Rescue and Catch a Contractor, Niu didn’t even ask what the show was about before agreeing to participate. That enthusiasm, and his well-earned reputation as a furniture designer, landed him a stint as one of three judges on the furniture design reality competition, Framework, Spike TV’s newest reality show, where contestants vie to be named best furniture maker—and win a $100,000 prize. There is still time to binge watch the entire series online before the finale, which will air March 10th.

At first it was a bit surreal for Niu to see himself on TV and to get recognized at some of the most random places. Overall though, “[this] has been one of the best experiences I’ve had during my career as a designer, says Niu. “The opportunity to judge a competition and hold a position of authority related to design was an absolute honor.”

In tune with the current maker movement, Framework offers a glimpse into the process of creating handcrafted goods. “The design and build process is very analog in nature compared to the completely digital lifestyles that we live in today. It’s important that these shows continue to be produced since it shines light on the level of complexity of the work we as designers and makers perform,” notes Niu.


Designing for net-positive water: SoCal students take on turf, not surf

Monday, February 23rd, 2015
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Environmental Design student Katie Healey’s design proposal for removing turf and expanding outdoor spaces for dining and recreation on the east side of the Ellwood Building.


Turf removal.

Not exactly a siren call to emerging designers regularly invited to put their brilliant minds to work developing sports cars, wearable tech and high-end furniture.

Or so one might assume.

A handful of Art Center students defied that assumption, and many others, as they enthusiastically explored possibilities for transforming Hillside Campus into an Eden of eco-innovation during last Fall’s Sustainability Studio.

Linda Estrada, an administrator who manages Art Center’s programs fostering alternative transportation options for campus commuters and other sustainability initiatives, got the ball rolling when she saw an opportunity to participate in a City of Pasadena program offering cash incentives—two dollars per square foot—to replace thirsty green lawns with drought-resistant plants and hardscape.

“And up here,” says Estrada, at Art Center over 17 years, “we have nothing but grass.”


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

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

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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.


January 2015 Art Center alumni notes

Friday, February 6th, 2015
Spike TV's Framework, a furniture design reality show, features Product Design alum, Nolan Niu as a judge

Spike TV’s Framework, a furniture design reality show, features Product Design alum, Nolan Niu as a judge

From Oxygen’s Street Art Throwdown to Spike TV’s Framework to the 2015 Academy Awards to Toyota’s MIRAI—Art Center alumni were featured across the media landscape, doling out expertise on art and design-based reality shows and creating inventive animation and futuristic vehicles. See the full scope of this month’s alumni accomplishments below.


Stave off back-to-school angst with the latest episodes of our Student/Space videos

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

Spring 2015 Orientation begins today. And while an Art Center initiation holds the potential to overwhelm and intimidate with its alphabet soup of acronyms (extra credit to any new student who can define ACCD, CSE,  JFK and LAT). Then there are those daunting tales of Art Center’s punishing workloads and cringe-inducing crits.

Of course, it’s worth noting that any challenges encountered here will not be experienced in vain. There is a method behind the madness. An Art Center education, above all else, instills a process-driven approach to the audacious act of bringing innovative and imaginative ideas to life.


Art Center in Asia: Onward Singapore

Thursday, December 11th, 2014
Shimano Cycling World, located at the Singapore Sports Hub, was designed by alumnus and Trustee Tim Kobe's (BS 82) Eight Inc., and just won two SPARK awards. Photo: Aarond Pocock

Shimano Cycling World, located at the Singapore Sports Hub, was designed by alumnus and Trustee Tim Kobe’s (BS 82) Eight Inc., and just won two SPARK awards. Photo: Aaron Pocock

In the latest issue of Dot magazine, we explore Art Center’s long history—nearly 60 years—of connections to Asia. Today, we look at the College’s presence in Singapore and its decade-long relationship with INSEAD.

From Beijing, take a six-hour flight south and you’ll find yourself in Singapore, a geographically tiny city-state where tropical rains meet Blade Runner-esque skylines.

Singapore is not only a central hub for Southeast Asian business, but it is also a country banking big on the innovation economy and bending over backwards to lure creative and entrepreneurial talent to its borders.

Just ask Environmental Design alumnus and Art Center Trustee Tim Kobe (BS 82), the founder of Eight Inc., a design firm whose clients include Apple, Citibank and Nokia and which has offices around the world, including Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore.


Art Center alumni notes: November 2014

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014
Jesse Hazelip launches his first solo show, "Mark of Cain" at Known Gallery in Los Angeles.

Jesse Hazlip launches his first solo show, “Mark of Cain” at Known Gallery in Los Angeles.

Art Center alums wrapped up 2014 with a flurry of media attention and creative activity. Here’s a snapshot of their impressive undertakings.


Remake, revise, refine, rethink: Check out episode 2 of our Student/Space video series

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Creativity begins with a leap of faith. It’s a belief in one’s ability to transform the spark of inspiration into a work of art or design that exists in some form within the physical or digital world. And as with any risky endeavor, sometimes serendipity occurs and the work takes on a life of its own. Other times, things don’t work out as planned. Unexpected challenges rear up. Obstacles stubbornly resist removal. Life happens.

And while the iterative process of gear-grinding experimentation often adds depth and complexity to the final creation. Sometimes there are hurdles that simply can’t be cleared. Unfortunately, that was the case this term for one of our Student/Space participants, Rosie Geozalian, an Advertising student who had to shelve her promising project (creating a spot for the language learning system, Rosetta Stone) due to personal reasons.


Conjuring the magic of art and design for kids at the Boys & Girls Club

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014
Alvin Oei teaching at Pasadena Boys & Girls Club.

Alvin Oei teaching at Pasadena Boys & Girls Club.

Be passionate about what you do. Be thorough and thoughtful doing it. Be a leader. Make something. Make a difference. These are core Art Center values and Environmental Design student Alvin Oei embodies all of them.

Oei’s enthusiasm about art and design drives his desire to share his knowledge and excitement for the disciplines with kids, most of whom attend schools with no art curriculum. He accomplished this in a big way for the children at Pasadena’s Boys & Girls Club when he conducted an intensive two-week workshop. The mini-Art Center boot camp challenged the youths to design different stores in Diagon Alley from the film “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” through storyboarding and physical model making. The project was designed around the popular book and movie series to help make it resonate. Kids “have this unabashed no-limit imagination” says Oei, who is inspired by their energy.


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.