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Posts Tagged ‘Chee Pearlman’

Serious Play and Seeds of Change in SoCal This Spring

Is there really anything more lovely than Southern California in the spring? The mudslides are just ending, yet you’re still safely outside the height of the wildfire season. What better time to attend two design conferences in our neck of the woods? Coincidentally, we received updates for both these upcoming events one after another in our inbox today, as if our travel itinerary was being sent from above.

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First up, Seeds of Change, the lucky 13th year of the Y Conference, held by AIGA San Diego. This year has a greenish tint to it, and a twist by adding a moderator, Susan Szenasy. Paul Hawken headlines, other highlights are Derek Fagerstrom and Julia Cosgrove from ReadyMade, Janet Kübler from the Biomimicry Guild, Speak Up’s Jason Tselensis and AIGA sustainability chair Marc Alt. We’ve attended for the last two years, and our verdict remains the same: it’s very affordable for a big-time conference, but still small enough that you’ll find yourself drinking Champagne by the Hotel Solamar’s pool with the same person you’re supposed to get up and see speak at 9am. March 27-29.

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Just about a month later (why not stay at the Hotel Solamar pool until then?), the Art Center’s biennial conference has fun with Serious Play. John “Hocks” Hockenberry moderates Elizabeth Diller, David Macaulay, John Maeda, Paula Scher and more, organized by Chee Pearlman. This was the typical speaker/moderator conference but this year they’re adding hands-on studios, three-hour creative workshops. Although we found ourselves gasping at the price–$1350 before March 11–we have to say that two years ago, we were also gasping at the long and illustrious list of luminaries we encountered in the superfancy refreshment tent between sessions. May 7-9.

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New York Holiday Party Report

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Thanks for the invitations, New York design community (or in some cases, not having a list at the door). Here’s where we found ourselves drinking free toddies this week…

Rockwell Group
Address: Bowlmor Lanes
Crowd: Rockwell Group employees
Specialty Cocktail: Bullshot, served by “celebrity bartender” Laurie Rosenwald
Big Sightings: Maira Kalman, Tucker Viemeister wearing a Santa hat
Just Missed: Chee Pearlman
Highlight (pictured here): A video kaleidoscope created by James Tichenor and Joshua Walton that projected snowflakes cut by partygoers onto huge screens around the room. No word on how many Bullshots were served before bare butts were also projected around the room.

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Debbie Millman’s SVA Class
Address: Millman’s swank pad
Crowd: Students, former “Design Matters” guests
Specialty Cocktail: Champagne (for those of age), as double-fisted by Felix Sockwell
Big Sightings: Chip Kidd, James Victore, Tobias Frere-Jones
Just Missed: Joyce Rutter Kaye
Highlight: Millman giving signed copies of 100% Evil to her students, which were doodled on more by Christoph Niemann and Nicholas Blechman, both in attendance.

The Architect’s Newspaper
Address: The well-appointed loft of William Menking and Diana Darling
Crowd: Architects, writers, architect-writers
Specialty Cocktail: Real egg nog, with fresh grated nutmeg
Big Sightings: The lady design journalist power trio of Julie Lasky, Julie Iovine and Eve Kahn
Just Missed: Teddy Cruz
Highlight: The view.

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Good Design Party
Address: Good pop-up store
Crowd: Green design consultants, graphic designers, Mr. T fans
Specialty Cocktail: Organic wheat vodka with Izze sparkling clementine juice in biodegradable cups made from corn
Big Sightings: Emily Oberman, supercute young’un Jonathan Harris presenting the Whale Hunt
Just Missed: Bobby Martin giving his slam-dunk presentation again
Highlight: Mike Essl showing off his world’s largest Mr. T memorabilia collection, including a clip from VH1′s “Totally Obsessed” where he and his co-collector eat a 20-year-old box of Mr. T cereal.

Kalman and Pearlman Get MAD Tonight

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Now, you realize if you go to this tonight instead of coming to see us, we’ll probably never talk to you again. But if you have that all straightened out in your head, then go on, go see Maira Kalman and Chee Pearlman in conversation at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. Kalman, an UnBeige fave, and Pearlman, another UnBeige fave, will be chatting about Kalman’s embroidery work as featured in the exhibition “Pricked: Extreme Embroidery.” Of course she’ll also be talking about her new book/opera The Principles of Uncertainty. And maybe she’ll even talk about mocha cream cakes.

If you can’t make it tonight (or if you’re a die-hard UnBeige loyalist–thank you), “Pricked” runs until March 9, and we must recommend this fabulous show with a long list of artists from 17 countries and some of the zaniest, most gorgeous needle-work you’ve ever seen.

The 2008 Art Center Conference Is Just Playin’, Y’all

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In related John Hockenberry news, the sequel to one of his more entertaining moderator gigs just announced itself. The 2008 Art Center Conference will be May 5-7 in Pasadena, CA, with another curiously-named theme: Serious Play. Registration opens November 1.

Early confirmed speakers include IDEO’s Tim Brown; ball-master Michael Moschen; Elizabeth Diller; Paula Scher and John Maeda. Once again the conference is curated by the lovely Chee Pearlman. And once again, we’ll be there, compiling the highlights, for you.

The Future of Design: Bright, Multidisciplinary, Still Hard to Explain

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Seeing as last night’s mediabistro.com panel “The Future of Design” was especially X chromosome-friendly, we dispatched lady writer Stephanie Murg to the scene, who filed this report.

A: What do you do?
B: I’m a designer.
A: Oh, cool, I love fashion!

Uh, no, not that kind of designer. The above exchange was familiar to several of the panelists and many of the audience members at “The Future of Design,” the mediabistro.com-sponsored panel discussion held last night at Cooper Union. The discussion focused on the increasingly complex nature of design, a field no longer driven by lone geniuses at the drafting table but by ethnography- and focus group-based research, briefs that seek systems and guidelines rather than single solutions, and multidisciplinary teams that make sure to “take the client along for the ride.”

“Design used to be a profession that people could understand without much explanation,” said moderator Chee Pearlman (director of Chee Company), kicking off the discussion with a mention of the old-school “I designed this!” pronouncements of Raymond Loewy. “Now, design is not really a field about authorship. It’s a field that’s evolving so fast that it’s hard to define what a designer does.”

And what a designer does is getting more and more complex. Etienne Fang, strategic director at Cheskin, gave the example of one of her recent projects for a large consumer packaged goods company that tasked Cheskin with helping them to understand what beauty is and how people feel and experience it. Fang predicts an increasingly user-focused, analytical design world, one where designers “zoom out” by asking “What is dental hygiene?” rather than “What does the perfect toothbrush look like?”

The importance of promoting broader forms of “design thinking” was also emphasized by frog design creative director Rie Norregaard, who said that clients are now asking not for single beautiful objects but “new systems that can be used to create multiple products.”

For panelist Elizabeth Pastor, co-founder of Humantific and NextD, one client request is emblematic of where design may be heading. She recounted being called in by a client her firm had worked with previously. When asked what the new project was, the client replied, “We want you to help us improve the quality of our thinking,” a nod to the effectiveness of Pastor’s method of “carrying the client along with you” in the design process, taking them through each step and the thinking behind design decisions.

In today’s DIY world, “There’s now the need and expectation to back up design with strategy and thinking,” said Imagination‘s Leslie Wellott. She gave the example of one of her favorite products: Pangea Organics, a line of “eco-centric” beauty products that feature biodegradable, seed-containing packaging that can be planted rather than thrown away. “Today, everyone can make something beautiful, but a designer can make something thoughtful.”

Let Us Rephrase That: “The Future Of Design” Is All Women

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We don’t know why this didn’t occur to us at first (you know, end-of-the-week haze) but that “Future of Design” panel we were talking about yesterday? It just hit us right over the head: This is a panel. About design. Featuring women. Only women.

Organizers assure us that this was just a coincidence, however, we hear a rumor that moderator Chee Pearlman will definitely be bringing up the issue of gender in design. Damn! Bring it on, girlfriend!

Even more of a reason to go, no? Details.

Star-Studded Panel Discusses the “Future of Design” in NYC

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Register for this one quick because we’re absolutely certain it will fill up fast. “The Future of Design” is a mediabistro.com panel to be moderated by the hot mama in the Beemer to the right, Chee Pearlman, and featuring Etienne Fang from Cheskin; Rie Norregaard, creative director at Frog Design; Elizabeth Pastor, co-founder of NextDesign and Leslie Wellott, Insight group, Imagination.

As the title implies, they’ll be talking about the future and design, topics that are especially valuable to anyone who has decided the past is really not where it’s at. September 5, from 7-9 at Cooper Union, details and registration here.

T+L Awards the Best Design Near and Far

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This year, using an initial in your company name was the key to victory for Travel+Leisure’s Design Awards (in alphabetical order):

Best Large Hotel: G Hotel, Galway, Ireland
Best Resort: W Maldives
Best Travel Gear: Y‘s Mandarina

Other than those letter-perfect winners, Alessi’s new flagship store took top retail honors, and the widely-praised Serpentine Solar Shuttle in London was named best transportation. Ian Schrager is the mag’s first-ever Design Champion.

The illustrious jury featured Sheila Bridges, Rob Forbes, Cathy Leff, Craig Robins, Kate Spade, Robert A.M. Stern, consulting editor Chee Pearlman, and, of course, Yves “We fantasize about you when we use our Slingbox” Behar.

Back to the Future: Design Is a Fad?

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While we were Googling around for information about Wired’s mysterious Optical Volumes, we came across this awesome article about design they ran in 2001. We’re pretty sure we didn’t see it then (were blogs even invented yet?), but it sure is entertaining to read in light of how far we’ve come in the last six years. It seems to be some kind of chat room, moderated by Chee Pearlman, and starring everyone from Bruce Sterling to Paola Antonelli to Rick Valicenti.

And speaking of Valicenti, we’ve got a bone to pick with him. Just when we were formulating some really good rants about how design’s here to stay, he said this, all the way back in ’01:

Chee Pearlman: So does design really matter to the bottom line?

Rick Valicenti (design director, Thirst): Design is a fad, so yes.