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conferences

Mark Your Calendar: Michigan Modern

The must-attend design event of the summer is Michigan Modern, which takes place June 13-16 on the Eliel Saarinen-designed campus of Cranbrook. The epic line-up of lectures, discussions, tours, and films will bring together architects, critics, designers, historians, and others to discuss the role of the Great Lakes State in the development of American modernism. Come for the early concrete designs of Albert Kahn for the auto industry, stay for the array of Cranbrook-affiliated designers–Charles and Ray Eames, Florence Knoll, Harry Bertoia, to name a few–who became household names through manufacturers such as Herman Miller.

The main event is the symposium, which will delve into the design legacies of figures such as Harley Earl, Victor Gruen, Eero Saarinen, Alden B. Dow, George Nelson, and Alexander Girard. Meanwhile, interlocutor extraordinaire Debbie Millman will be on hand to interview textile design legend Ruth Adler-Schnee and architect Gunnar Birkerts. As if that weren’t reason enough to register, attendees will be among the first to see “Michigan Modern: Design that Shaped America,” a major exhibition at the recently restored Cranbrook Art Museum. Early bird (read: discounted) registration ends tomorrow–plus, we suspect that this modfest is going to fill up faster than you can say “Minoru Yamasaki,” so don’t delay.

Mark Your Calendar: Five Design Conferences You Should Know About

• On April 25 in NYC, spend the morning exploring the links between fashion and technology at “Cross-Pollination,” a half-day symposium organized by the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in conjunction with the current “Fashion and Technology” exhibition. Register here.

• Run, don’t walk to Design and Mobility: The Twenty-Second Annual Parsons/Cooper-Hewitt Graduate Student Symposium on the Decorative Arts and Design. The two-day conference kicks off on the evening of Friday, April 26, with a keynote address by Yale professor Edward Cooke.

• Having enhanced your mobility at the aforementioned Parsons confab, hop across the pond to POINT London (May 2-3), a new conference that aims to raise awareness of the power of design to influence business, education, and society. Speakers include Seymour Chwast, Barber Osgerby (a.k.a. Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby), and typographer extraordinaire Erik Spiekermann.

• The Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA)’s District Conferences are taking place throughout April around the country, from Hartford to Long Beach. Meanwhile, ready your inner iconoclast for “Breaking the Rules,” IDSA’s 2013 International Conference set for August 21-24 in Chicago and chaired by Paul Hatch.

• As Winnie the Pooh once said, it’s never too early to plan ahead. Mark your as yet unbesmirched autumnal calendar for “Head, Heart, Hand,” the 2013 AIGA Design Conference, which gets underway October 10 in the Mini Apple (Minnesota, that is).

Wish Big: 2014 TED Prize Opens for Nominations


Chef and food revolutionary Jamie Oliver accepts the 2010 TED Prize.

With an elite list of past recipients that includes architect Cameron Sinclair, photographers Edward Burtynsky and James Nachtwey, street artist JR, and most recently, educational researcher Sugata Mitra, the TED Prize has proved to be a powerful global platform for designers, artists, and big ideas. So who do you think should be the next creative and/or brilliant person to be granted $1 million to help achieve a big wish? Nominate him, her, or even yourself here, where TED has opened nominations for the 2014 prize winner.

You have through June 1 to tell the TED Prize team about your nominee’s megawish. “In the age of the Internet, we can easily find out what the rest of the world already knows about you,” they advise. “Your nomination should give us insights into what gets you out of bed in the morning, who you work with and are most inspired by, what you dream for the world in ways that are un-Google-able.” The winner, to be selected over the summer by a jury drawn from members of the TED community, will reveal his or her wish during TED2014 in Vancouver.

Sugata Mitra Reveals TED Prize Wish: ‘A School in the Cloud’

After bestowing the 2012 TED prize on an idea (“The City 2.0“), the TEDsters have returned to the original mission: awarding it to “an exceptional individual who receives $1,000,000 and the TED community’s resources and expertise to spark global change.” Joining past winners ranging from Bill Clinton and Bono to oceanographer Sylvia Earle and street artist JR is Sugata Mitra, an educational researcher who took to the stage last week in Long Beach at the 2013 TED Conference to reveal his TED Prize wish: to build a school in the cloud, where children can explore and learn from one another. Watch and learn:

‘Paper-Punk-a-Thon’ Unfolds at TEDActive


(Photo courtesy Grace Hawthorne)

It’s TED time, and among the attractions at TEDActive, the parallel event taking place this week in Palm Springs, is “Paper-Punk-a-thon” (pictured), a 25-foot-long installation by Paper Punk founder Grace Hawthorne. We asked the ReadyMade veteran–an entrepreneur, artist, author, and educator who heads up the Creative Gym course at Stanford’s d.school–to tell us more about the interactive project as it unfolds.

What is a “Paper-Punk-a-Thon”?
An all-you-can-fold buffet of Paper Punk shapes. Attendees feast on a limitless assortment of shapes, patterns, and colors, and fold to their heart’s content.

What did you create for the installation?
I made three large anchor panels out of hollow paper blocks to kick things off. Attendees are populating the other nine smaller provided panels with paper block creation that expresses an assigned word.

How have TEDActive attendees responded to your installation?
Enthusiastically! They get to make something with their hands and share it with each other by putting it up on this progressive/collaborative wall. Some of their creations have blown me away.
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Mark Your Calendar: Aftertaste at Parsons

Parsons’ reliably outstanding and thought-provoking Aftertaste symposium returns next weekend with a focus on objects. Aftertaste: The Atmosphere of Objects will “address interior experience through close examination of the way objects inform inhabitation, influence perception, and create social dynamics.” Things get underway next Friday evening as Mia Lundström, creative director of Home Furnishings at IKEA, sits down for a chat with interlocutor extraordinaire Susan Szenasy, editor-in-chief of Metropolis. Their discussion of possessions and personal statements (in which we hope to gain insight into what our growing mound of Alexander Girard-patterned pillows says about us) will be followed by design writer Akiko Busch on “The Language of Things.” Other panelists and featured speakers include frog’s Jonas Damon, expert collector Fritz Karch, David Mann of MR Architecture + Decor, and T design editor Pilar Viladas. Check out the full agenda and RSVP (admission is free) here.

Pictoplasma Conference Returns to NYC

Neither snow nor rain nor a ferocious hurricane (nor Saturdays) can keep Pictoplasma from New York City. Postponed in the wake of Sandy, the character design conference returns to Gotham on Friday for Pictoplasma NYC at Parsons The New School for Design. Organized by Pictoplasma “brain-fathers” Lars Denicke and Peter Thaler with Parsons Illustration chair Steven Guarnaccia, the two-day confab will celebrate contemporary character visualization–illustration, animation, installation, street art, fine art, and more–with lectures, panel discussions, and screenings. Kicking off the proceedings will be lectures by newly Brooklyn-based Buff Monster and toy designer/fiber artist Anna Hrachovec, followed by insights from Argentinean animator and graphic designer Adrian Sonni and self-proclaimed plastic surgeon Jason Freeny. Stick around for Characters in Motion screenings and a Saturday morning “Parson’s Pitch” pecha kucha. New to Pictoplasma? Watch clips from previous talks here.

In Brief: Van Gogh Lives, Shomei Tomatsu Dies, TED2013 Line-Up, Signature Swirl

• Lithuanian architect turned wedding photographer turned artist Tadao Cern has worked his Photoshop magic to reimagine van Gogh‘s 1889 self-portrait as something much more realistic–and haunting (above).

Shomei Tomatsu, perhaps the most influential postwar Japanese photographer, has died at the age of 82. “If I could, I would want to see everything,” he said in 1969. “My eyes are infamously greedy.”

• Screen legend Mary Lou Jepsen, photojournalist Sebastião Salgado, graphic designer Saki Mafundikwa, artist Liu Bolin, and architect Michael Green are among the speakers at TED2013 (“The Young. The Wise. The Undiscovered.”), which takes place next month in Long Beach, California. Check out the newly released line-up here.
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Mark Your Calendar: ‘One of a Kind’ Fashion Conference in NYC

‘Tis the season for sartorial splendor and the annual fashion conference organized by Initiatives in Art & Culture. This year’s two-day confab, which gets underway on Friday morning at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, has a bespoke vibe. Entitled “One of a Kind: Individuality, Integrity, and Innovation in Fashion,” the conference will consider “iconic individuals and institutions whose contributions–whether in terms of singular designs, entrepreneurial accomplishment, or aesthetic vision–have played critical roles in defining modern fashion” alongside a focus on extraordinary artisans and their materials. Among the speakers lined up for lectures and panels are designers Maria Cornejo and Robert Lee Morris (here’s hoping they sit next to each other and strike up a collaboration!), fashion photographer Deborah Turbeville, Saks Fifth Avenue CEO Stephen Sadove (who can spot an Akris Punto ensemble from 50 paces), Museum at FIT director Valerie Steele, and MAO PR’s Roger and Mauricio Padilha, authors of Antonio Lopez: Fashion Art, Sex, and Disco, recently published by Rizzoli. Best of all, the sharply dressed organizers have customized a discount for UnBeige readers: just enter the code “bistro” at checkout to save $100 off the regular ticket price.

Get the Scoop on Visual Communities and Commerce at Social Curation Summit: Register Today and Save

Join social media pros, brand marketers, entrepreneurs, and VCs at Social Curation Summit on December 12 in Los Angeles to get the scoop on social news, brand loyalty, and next-generation storytelling platforms. The summit is the must-attend event for anyone interested in the emerging technologies that are transforming the way we share, follow, and engage online—Pinterest and Tumblr, anyone? Connect with expert speakers, including those from StumbleUpon, Tumblr, Storify, and Snip.it. Check out the speaker lineup and program here. Time is running out to save, so register now. Register before midnight to save $100.

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