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Posts Tagged ‘Mike Essl’

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.

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Design For Good Week Ends With Good Design Party

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First there was Designism, then there was Cause/Effect, where as Steven Heller commented at the close of the conference, “These things usually come in clusters.” So it’s very fitting that social design season here in New York ends with a design party sponsored by Good, in their pop-up store. As we told you before, it’s on Tuesday night (tomorrow) at 7pm. After his presentation on Saturday, Scott Stowell passed along some more highlights:

· Andrew Sloat will screen some of his short typographic films based on the U.S. Constitution (you can catch a sneak peek at his new film here).

· Bobby Martin will share his inspiring work for the Abyssinian Baptist Church of Harlem

· The Holster will present Type Talks, an exercise in speaking and hearing the language of typography found around New York City

· Amy Wang will talk about her Ametrica! project, an awareness campaign to help convert the U.S. to the metric system

· Mike Essl will show some highlights of the world’s largest collection of Mr. T memorabilia

That last line again, for emphasis: world’s largest collection of Mr. T memorabilia. This from a man who was wearing a sweatshirt the other day that said PITY FOOL.

More Highlights and Reflections From Cause/Effect

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It must be some kind of record: 70% of the speakers at the one-day AIGA NY conference Cause/Effect brought us to the brink of tears. But until the end, we really weren’t sure why.

We even found ourselves pretty much speechless at one point. The presentation that went beyond words, meaning a blog post really couldn’t do it justice, was Alan Jacobson’s powerful work on a memorial in Rwanda as part of the Barefoot Artists program. Read up on the project on their site and don’t miss a chance to catch Jacobson present in person.

Although we missed Steven Heller‘s propaganda parade, Seymour Chwast‘s poster-rama and Mark Randall discussing the Urban Forest Project (catch coverage over at Core77), we have more detailed reports about Carin Goldberg, Bobby Martin, Frank Baseman, Phil Patton, Nicholas Blechman, Marc Alt, Scott Stowell, and Chris Hacker, who were truly all great.

All the young designers were stars. Seth Labenz and Roy Rub presented the fascinating results of their experiment “Uniting.” And the final panel of the day, a three-fer of social entrepreneurship had the always delightful Randy Hunt and his Amazing Project, and two extremely eloquent show-stoppers: Kristin Johnson‘s Practical Small Projects, bringing solar energy to Mali, and Lara McCormick‘s Stop and Start Over (another Sappi grant winner!), an addiction recovery site and community that’s designed to appeal more to the young audience looking for help.

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The only minor disappointment was the One Laptop Per Child presentation by Lisa Strausfeld. Cute as they may be, we got little, if any, insight into how the laptops really work, and we’re still not sure why the beautiful interface is appropriate for kids who have never used a computer, especially since a CBS News story showed kids easily using regular laptops. Also puzzling was that they did no testing of the interface with African kids. They had just gotten their shipment of laptops that day, so maybe they need to play around with them some more before presenting again.

But overall, the day was expertly assembled and orchestrated by chairs Mike Essl (who doubled as an on-stage tech guy) and Emma Presler (wearing a tres snazzy scarf). We noticed a similar thread running through both Cause/Effect and Designism 2.0 (without the “banal-retentive,” of course): The most striking projects were really not about design in the traditional sense, echoing Milton Glaser‘s sentiments at Designism about the dissemination being more important than the device. In fact, we thought, these people didn’t really act like designers at all. More like MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipients, Nobel Prize winners, UN ambassadors. And that realization was simply overwhelming.