Art Center alums wrapped up 2014 with a flurry of media attention and creative activity. Here’s a snapshot of their impressive undertakings.
Archive for the ‘Environmental Design’ Category
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.
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.
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.
We’re particularly excited to introduce you to the newest group of Student Space participants with this latest round of videos. Pearlyn Lii is a Graphic Design student working on a Brian Eno book. Environmental Design student, Connie Bakshi is sending dispatches from Tokyo, where she’s participating in a collaboration with TAMA University. And Advertising student Rosie Geozalian is tackling a little subject known as human connection in her current campaign.
Join us in watching these works unfold over the remaining weeks of the term. Check this space for subsequent installments on November 22 and December 19.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Good design has its rewards. In the case of Environmental Design students Haidy Gong and Austin Yang, reward comes in the form of $30,000 in scholarship support from the Angelo Donghia Foundation. Gong and Yang are among only 12 winners of the 2014 Student Scholarship Program in Interior Design, which gives awards to rising college seniors pursuing bachelor degrees. We checked in with the winners to get their reaction to the scholarship and to find out what makes for an award-winning design.
An Art Center education doesn’t come cheaply. It requires a high-deposit, high-return investment of resources, tapping reserves of creativity and cash. But Art Center students know these initial sacrifices will pay off down the road when they emerge with an education custom designed to equip them for creatively and financially fulfilling careers. Money magazine reinforced the College’s reputation for boosting its grads’ professional prospects this week when it ranked Art Center third on its list of 25 of the best college values.
In response to millions of parents seeking colleges that strike a balance between affordability and professional prestige and training, Money devised a new tool to measure a college’s ROI. The new ranking places Art Center at number three on its “Value All-Star” list since, according to the editors’ careful calculations, Art Center alumni exceed expectations when it comes to earning. Money found that our grads take home an extra $12,000 per year early in their careers, using criteria based on three equally weighted categories: quality, affordability and career outcomes. The magazine defines outcomes almost entirely in terms of how much students earn after graduation.
Perhaps more than graduation itself, Graduation Show Preview marks the culmination of a student’s years of hard work at Art Center. Each term, on the Thursday before Saturday’s commencement ceremony, the College’s classroom studios, hallways and exhibition spaces come alive with 2D, 3D, digital and other work renowned for both its conceptual rigor and its professional finish. It’s like one giant gallery opening — the Summer 2014 edition brimming with more than 450 invited guests — showcasing some of today’s most innovative and most driven emerging artists and designers.