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Posts Tagged ‘Rama Chorpash’

Seven Questions for Designer Rama Chorpash, Director of Product Design at Parsons

Rama Chorpash has designed Swatch watches, furniture, and more clever kitchen utensils than you can shake a pair of grater tongs at. When he’s not creating cool stuff with the likes of Herman Miller and the Public Art Fund, he’s an associate professor and the director of product design at Parsons The New School for Design in New York. Recently, his Spiraloop potato masher made the cut for the MoMA Design Store’s “Destination: NYC” selection of designed-in-NYC, made-in-the-USA products.

“In 1936 MoMA’s exhibition ‘Machine Art’ featured just that: carriage springs, boat propellers, and so forth,” says Chorpash. “For the Destination: NYC open call, I wanted to redraw public attention towards reconnecting people’s consciousness to where things come from, and how they express their industrialization.” Having recently returned from a residency at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts (as cool as it sounds), he made time to tell us about his smashing masher, what’s next on his summer to-do list, and a memorable encounter with a Brazilian taxi driver.

What is the “Spiraloop”?
Spiraloop is a vegetable/potato masher. With so much pre-made food in New York City, I wanted to create a product (humble as it may be) that would encourage people to cook in their own kitchens.

Made of super quality 316 stainless steel, it features ergonomic spring tensile “spring-back” characteristics typically found with utensils made from multiple materials such as rigid plastics combined with soft silicon. Unlike Spiraloop, such co-injection molded materials are typically “monstrous hybrids” and cannot be separated and reclaimed. While Spiraloop will last a long time, it is also 100% recyclable.

What was it like working with manufacturer Lee Spring, founded in 1918?
They do great work, and it was a pleasure to work with them. While they are a successful global company with production and distribution across the United States as well as in Mexico, the United Kingdom, and China, my interest was in working with them locally, to shorten the supply-chain between design, production, and consumption. Spiraloop was designed in New York City, made in New York City, to be sold in New York City. I call this localized making “Manufacturing in Place.” Think of a farmers’ market, the locally produced produce (goods) are shipped the shortest distance and rely upon regional needs and constraints.

The walk down the hill from my home in St. George to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal looks across the bay to the BKLYN Army Terminal. In researching who would produce the Spiraloop, Lee’s locality was ideal. A short drive over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and I was at their headquarters. First founded in Brooklyn nearly a century ago, they really enjoyed to flex their manufacturing muscle locally.
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Core77 Owns Up to the Great Tobias Wong Switch

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When the guy to the left took the stage pretending to be Tobias Wong (the guy to the right) at Core77′s Design, Wit and the Creative Act, Stephanie’s BS radar blipped right away. However, this was a panel on design wit (more disturbing perhaps was the fact that the crowd of designers didn’t seem to get the joke). A few months later, Core77 has finally delivered the punchline. So who was this impostor?

Rama Chorpash, chair of the Undergraduate ID Dept. at University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and a great designer to boot, did what can only be described as a pitch-perfect job of presenting Tobias’s work (and later answering, Q&A as Tobias, remaining authentic to the designs as well as the philosophical underpinnings of the Wong oeuvre.

You can watch video of the event for proof of his acting skills; Chorpash never breaks character, and neither does Wong (oh, how we wish we could say the same for Jimmy Fallon). Wong assumes Chorpash’s identity during the cocktail hour and praises Wong’s “genius,” a priceless little moment in design wit itself.

Also up, and every bit as funny, are videos from the rest of the presenters: Ze Frank, Paul Budnitz, Steven Heller and Kelly Dobson.

CCA Celebrates the Big C at SFMOMA

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Is your school featured in a major museum exhibition this year? The slick students (and grads, and faculty) at California College of the Arts are the focus of two big shows at SFMOMA celebrating the school’s 100th anniversary.

“California College of the Arts at 100: Innovation by Design” features 40 objects by Yves “Hot Like Butterscotch” Behar, Rama Chorpash (knives above, we love), dresscode, Thom Faulders, IwamotoScott, Kuth/Ranieri, Jennifer Morla, Bruce Tomb, and Volume Inc., among others.

The second show, “California College of the Arts at 100: Fertile Ground” features design created for the school by folks like Bob Aufuldish, Michael Cronan, Mark Fox, Lucille Tenazas, and Michael Vanderbyl, and architectural models and drawings by local architects Jim Jennings and Mark Horton.

Both shows open March 23 at SFMOMA, watch the site for details.