Category Archives: Environmental Design

From Insulin tape to reusable sanitary pads: Meet the 2015 Denhart Family Sustainability Prizewinners

Denhart Sustainability Prize jurors (from L): Kristin Brown [Principal in charge of sustainability, Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development], Christian Denhart [representing the Denhart family and Art Center Alumnus] and Heidrun Mumper-Drumm [Professor and Director Sustainability Initiatives, Art Center]

Denhart Sustainability Prize jurors (from L): Kristin Brown [Principal in charge of sustainability, Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development], Christian Denhart [representing the Denhart family and Art Center Alumnus] and Heidrun Mumper-Drumm [Professor and Director Sustainability Initiatives, Art Center]

Art Center’s recent announcement of the Denhart Family Sustainability Prizewinners highlights the ways in which a design-thinking approach to social innovation has the potential to create measurable improvements to our health and well-being. The judges selected each of the following four projects based on the concept’s efficacy in addressing pressing environmental, social and/or economic sustainability issues, the potential benefits of the project and its impact as well as its ability to advance the teaching and practice of art and design. Please join us in congratulating the winners. We look forward to seeing these out-of-the-box ideas come to life.

1st Place / $15,000/ OATH: INSULIN TAPE SYSTEM / Martin Francisco

Product Design student Martin Francisco received the grand prize for ‘Oath,’ an innovative insulin delivery system that provides individuals with an accurate and painless method of dispensing insulin, while dramatically reducing material waste and environmental impact.

Oath is designed for aging adults, who have issues with dexterity, needle safety, storing and measuring proper dosages when administering liquid insulin. The tape and dispenser system makes using Oath as easy as applying and removing a Band-Aid. Moreover, Oath has 72% fewer environmental impacts over its life cycle when compared to the current insulin pen. The ergonomic Oath design accomplishes this by reducing the number of materials and components, minimizing waste at all stages, and using non-toxic, recyclable and renewable resources.

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Pasadena unveils alum Catherine Menard’s Armenian Genocide Memorial

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Saturday, April 18th, 2015, was a blistering hot day in Pasadena Memorial Park. But the day’s speakers and many in the crowd wore black to the unveiling of the Pasadena Armenian Genocide Memorial, designed by alum Catherine Menard (MFA 14 Environmental Design), whose teardrop concept for the monument was chosen as the winner in 2014 competition, launched by the Pasadena Armenian Genocide Memorial Committee. We caught up with Menard on this momentous occasion to hear how she approached the weight of commemorating the estimated 1.5 million victims who died during a campaign against Armenians and other Christian minorities beginning in 1915, as well as how the experience has changed her.

How did you learn about the competition?

I was asked by Professor James Meraz to join a studio that he created through Designmatters for the specific purpose of designing memorials that we would then submit to the competition.

 

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Onward and upward: Art Center’s Spring 2015 Grad Show

Bruno Gallardo shows off his Zero Motorcycle prototype to alum Miguel Galluzzi of Aprilia/Piaggio. Photo by Jennie Warren

Bruno Gallardo shows off his Zero Motorcycle prototype to alum Miguel Galluzzi of Aprilia/Piaggio.
Photo by Jennie Warren

A fresh crop of creatives, 205 strong graduated from Art Center this past weekend, ready to harvest and haul their skills to the marketplace. The first pages of these grads’ yet-to-be-told professional narratives could involve launching a start-up, diving into a new position at a high-profile agency or escaping on a global adventure to see the world and collect some inspiration in the wilderness instead of the concrete jungle.

We decided to check in with a few during Spring 2015 Grad Show—our annual recruitment open house.

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Stuart Fingerhut reinvents the future of retail through experiential design

Stuart Fingerhut designs Scion's presence at major international auto shows.

Stuart Fingerhut designs Scion’s presence at major international auto shows.

The following profile of Environmental Design alumnus Stuart Fingerhut appeared in the January 2015 issue of VSMD Magazine. Read how Fingerhut’s leading-edge thinking about reconceiving the retail experience to be more about connection than commerce informs the success of his experiential marketing work for Toyota’s Scion brand as well as his personal design practice creating functional art.

Stuart Fingerhut seems to have this experiential design thing all figured out. As creative director for Toyota’s Scion brand at the George P. Johnson Experience Marketing Agency in Los Angeles, Fingerhut is responsible for creating Scion’s presence at major international automobile shows.

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February 2015 Art Center alumni notes

Illustration by Kim Ryu for the February 2, 2015 edition of the New York Times Sunday Book Review

Illustration by Kim Ryu for the February 2, 2015 edition of the New York Times Sunday Book Review

It’s been a fruitful awards season—and not just for the creative team behind Birdman. Art Center alums have amassed an impressive array of accolades, from the Caldecott Medal (the Oscars of children’s literature) to the Oscars themselves. So in lieu of glitzy after party, we’ve done the next (or perhaps next, next) best thing and compiled highlights from our alumni community’s recent accomplishments below. Enjoy!

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

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.

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

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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.”

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

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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.

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January 2015 Art Center alumni notes

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.

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

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.

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