Archive for the ‘Product Design’ Category

A Holiday haul of ArtCenter alumni notes delivered to your digital doorstep

Thursday, November 12th, 2015
Frances Stark, Portrait of the Artist as a Full-on Bird, 2004, Collage on casein on canvas board. 20x24 in. RSC Contemporary, London. Photo by Marcus Leith.

Frances Stark, Portrait of the Artist as a Full-on Bird, 2004, Collage on casein on canvas board. 20×24 in. RSC Contemporary, London. Photo by Marcus Leith.

With the arrival of the holiday season comes a time for hot beverages and brightly-patterned sweaters; for giving and receiving, at work and at home. We’re excited kick off the next six weeks’ worth of non-stop merriment by presenting you with with an early gift in the form of the latest installment of ArtCenter alumni notes, which is teeming with impressive news and accomplishments, from book releases and public engagements to major exhibitions at the Hammer Museum and LACMA.


HQ:LA Part 3 Spencer Nikosey – Creatives calling LA home

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015
Alumnus Spencer Nikosey at Killspencer in Silver Lake. Photo: Stella Kalinina

Alumnus Spencer Nikosey at Killspencer in Silver Lake. Photo: Stella Kalinina

For creative professionals, the allure of Los Angeles goes far beyond ‘You can’t beat the weather.’ In this series, ‘HQ:LA,’ we invite you to meet three thriving entrepreneurs who have made the City of Angels their headquarters. Today: Alumnus Spencer Nikosey.

Drive four miles northwest from our last stop, and you’ll arrive in Los Angeles’ Silver Lake neighborhood. And it’s here on a stretch of Sunset Boulevard filled with storefronts pitching everything from antique furniture to Spanish-language Pentecostal services, that you’ll find Killspencer, the burgeoning company founded by Product Design alumnus Spencer Nikosey (BS 08).

Killspencer began as a project at ArtCenter in which Nikosey, inspired by a field trip to the American Military Museum, repurposed the tarp of a Humvee into a waterproof backpack.

To say his idea caught on quickly would be an understatement. Killspencer launched as the centerpiece of Nikosey’s graduating portfolio in December 2008; in January 2009 the company began selling products internationally. So why did Nikosey choose to manufacture in L.A.? That was also inspired by a field trip of sorts.


7 inspiring and delightful nuggets of ArtCenter wisdom from the 2015 Core77 conference

Friday, October 30th, 2015
Alumna Jessie Kawata speaks at the Core77 conference.

Alumna Jessie Kawata speaks at the Core77 conference.

Core77’s second annual conference came to town last week and set up shop in downtown Los Angeles at Vibiana, the former cathedral now event space, which Core77 called “an architectural gem” and touted as a venue that once hosted a concert by Snoop Dogg (“If it’s good enough for Snoop, it’s good enough for us.”).

It was also good enough for seven members of the ArtCenter community who appeared on stage at the conference, whose theme was Designing Here/Now, and who delighted and inspired the packed audience with “thought-provoking ideas and projects that are years ahead of schedule.”

Appearing on stage were: alumni Nadine Schelbert, Matthew Manos, Jessie Kawata, and Javier Verdura, the latter appearing in conversation with Transportation Design faculty Eric Noble; Advertising and Graphic Design faculty Nicole Jacek; and former faculty Ravi Sawhney.

For your own inspiration and delight, we’ve assembled seven of our favorite ArtCentric quotes from the stage:

“Water has its own will. When you design with it you have to develop an understanding for that will. You can never truly control it, but you can entice it to behave a certain way.”

Nadine Schelbert (BS 02 Environmental Design)
Director of Design, WET


Designmatters at Sustainable Summer School – Part 1

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015


In the first of Designmatters‘ three part Sustainable Summer School blog series, Product Design student and head of the ArtCenter EcoCouncil, Arotin Hartounian reflects on his time spent at the 7th annual summer school program in Western Germany.

authorphotoAt a 17th century monastery situated in a rural area of Western Germany, 28 students gathered for the 7th annual Sustainable Summer School. The summer school program is organized by a collaboration of the Ecosign Academy, Folkwang University of the Arts, and The Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment, and Energy. The Designmatters Department at ArtCenter in partnership with the Provost’s office generously sponsored three students to attend this program. Most of the students were from Germany with one student each from Italy, Spain, and Austria. Janya, Daniel and I were the only students from the USA. Over the course of 7 days we lived and studied at the monastery with all the students and teachers. The students were divided into three workshops, each focusing on different ways design can initiate and support sustainable behavior in our daily life. (more…)

X-factor: Inside ArtCenter’s pipeline to Tesla’s Model X design team

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015
Model X seems ideal for a road trip from Pasadena to Mammoth for skiing with ample seating for seven adults and all of their gear. Photo courtesy of Tesla.

Model X seems ideal for a road trip from Pasadena to Mammoth for skiing with ample seating for seven adults and all of their gear. Photo courtesy of Tesla.

On the eve of the highly anticipated release of Tesla’s Model X electric sports utility vehicle, ArtCenter alum Javier Verdura, director of Product Design at Tesla Motors, took a few minutes to chat with us about the many ArtCenter alums contributing to this pivotal team responsible for one of the most significant car releases in recent memory. From the top design post held by Franz von Holzhausen to the current crew of interns, ArtCenter alums were front and center in all aspects of the design process. So we seized this opportunity to explore the contours of the connection linking the hottest electric carmaker on the planet and our diverse community of sharp inventors and innovators. (more…)

Reach out and Art Someone

Thursday, September 10th, 2015
Still from film workshop video

Still from film workshop video

What started as a passion project for Alvin Oei, has morphed into an official and active ArtCenter student club that brings the disciplines of art and design to underserved kids in the community. This past summer, some sixteen Environmental Design, Film, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interaction Design and Product Design students participated in Art Reach volunteering in two separate local Boys & Girls club locations, offering a number of twice weekly workshops.


From techno to wearable tech: Study abroad students showcase Berlin-influenced wearables

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

“Head to Toe, Berlin” was a study abroad upper term course involving ten students from Product Design, Interaction Design, Graphic Design and Illustration. With nine weeks in Berlin, this immersed students in the design, textile and fashion industries of Berlin. Through field trips to designer studios, museums as well as input from professional guest speakers and studio work sessions, students were empowered to develop their own collection of designs focusing on head to toe wearables: apparel, accessories, soft goods, textiles and/or wearable tech.


Doing well by doing good: ArtCenter students’ social impact innovations win big at 2015 IDEA awards

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Though the hum of activity in the halls and classrooms of Hillside and South campuses has temporarily lulled as we await the start of the Fall term, Summer 2015 has ended on a high note with this week’s news that ArtCenter students’ innovative prototypes and projects were honored by the prestigious Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) at the organization’s International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) in Seattle on August 22.


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.”


You go, grads: Let the Summer Graduation festivities begin!

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015
Graduating students with friends and family following Spring 2015 commencement. Photo: John Dlugolecki

Graduating students with friends and family following Spring 2015 commencement. Photo: John Dlugolecki

“Sun is shining. Weather is sweet. Make you wanna move your dancing feet.” Bob Marley

This Saturday, following a sometimes exhaustive, always intensive, memorably vigorous and astonishingly creative commitment to making and learning, 91 ArtCenter students will receive their diplomas. This will be the second graduation ceremony to be held at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, a thankfully climate-controlled venue conveniently located between Hillside and South campuses.

As the day approaches, let’s celebrate these creative and talented individuals who are about to take on the world. Here’s the lowdown for the week: