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Archives: October 2013

Cooper-Hewitt Celebrates National Design Awards: Highlights from Winners’ Panel

It’s National Design Week, and tonight the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum will celebrate the winners of the 2013 National Design Awards with a ceremony and dinner at Pier Sixty in New York. Special guests including Tom Wolfe, Al Gore, and Kurt Andersen will be on hand to present the winners with their coveted glass asterisks, while the delightful Todd Oldham will announce the winner of this year’s People’s Design Award. We sent writer Nancy Lazarus to the National Design Awards Winners’ Panel, held at Parsons The New School for Design.

(Angela Jimenez)
Richard Saul Wurman (center) moderates a discussion among NDA winners. Pictured from left, Tiya Gordon, Paula Scher, Gadi Amit, and Mike Femia. (Photos: Angela Jimenez)

Four of this year’s National Design Award winners appeared at a Tuesday evening panel moderated by Richard Saul Wurman, TED founder and 2012 lifetime achievement award winner. Topics encompassed winners’ early career experiences, current projects, and the award’s impact. Below are selected comments from each winning designer or firm.

Paula Scher, principal at Pentagram (communications design):
• “It’s a big deal that the U.S. government honors design, and it’s important to society. If the accolade is a seal of approval, that’s fantastic, but the next day, business is still business.”
• “At Pentagram we’re independent minded designers, there are no strategists. We establish direct client relationships using analogies and entertainment.”
• “With my hobby, large-scale paintings of maps, I use information to create the spirit of a place. It’s the antidote to my design life where I create corporate communications identities.”
• “During my earlier experience creating graphic design for music covers/albums, I learned about the relationship with the public. My work at Pentagram is still largely connected to entertainment, and much of the identity work is focused on making design accessible.”
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Seven Questions for Martha Stewart

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Martha Stewart was joined by Bravo’s Andy Cohen last night to kick off the second annual American Made, a two-day celebration of ingenuity and craftsmanship that turns Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall into a lively marketplace of handpicked purveyors, crafters, and makers. Among this year’s American Made honorees are lighting designer Lindsey Adelman, Shinola’s Health Carr, and paper crafters Leo Kowal and Mary Rudakas, who took home the audience choice award for their SVGCuts creations. And for Stewart, that’s not even the icing on the cake—she’s got a new book out (about cakes!), an equally delicious PBS TV series in production (more cakes!), and big Halloween plans (Pumpkin Layer Cake…and much more!). We paused in our attempt at her Clementine-Vanilla Bean Loaf Cake to ask her seven questions.

What are some of your favorite finds among the nominees and winners of this year’s American Made awards?
The two-day event celebrates the spirit of innovation and spotlight a new generation of entrepreneurs. Everything we highlight with the American Made program, which is now in its second year, is something I’ve found in my various travels and meetings to be fascinating, unique, and worthy of recognition. This year, I have my eye on Back to the Roots, which is a ‘grow your own mushroom kit’ company out of Oakland, California, as well as Spoonflower, a custom fabric printing company in Durham, North Carolina.

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Which recipe in Martha Stewart’s Cakes would you suggest for an amateur baker who wants to whip up a tasty and visually stunning cake?
The buttermilk cake with chocolate frosting is a great starting point for any amateur. It’s both visually stunning and tasteful. This book also provides a basics section specifically designed for amateurs who are looking to sharpen their baking skills. It provides essential equipment and ingredients for mixing, baking, and finishing!

Any tricks you can share about making a cake look as good as the amazingly beautiful ones featured in the pages of Martha Stewart’s Cakes?
Pairing cakes with accompaniments can be the finishing touch to a baker’s creation. They are served on the side adding richness, to simple cakes.
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Design Jobs: Amazon, Variety, Institute of Culinary Education

This week, Amazon is hiring a senior visual designer, as well as a photography manager. Meanwhile, Variety is seeking an associate art director, and the Institute of Culinary Education needs a web and graphic designer. Get the scoop on these openings and more below, and find additional just-posted gigs on Mediabistro.

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Find more great design jobs on the UnBeige job board. Looking to hire? Tap into our network of talented UnBeige pros and post a risk-free job listing. For real-time openings and employment news, follow @MBJobPost.

Bill Cunningham Plays Textile Detective in Paris

billAs if you needed further reason to procure a sturdy blue French workman’s coat, throw a couple of old-school cameras around your neck, and call everyone “child” this Halloween, check out Bill Cunningham‘s latest video report. The original street style photographer cast his sharp eye on the idea-laden Paris Fashion Week scene, and while the headline is netting (recall that Cunningham is himself a lapsed milliner), we think he buried the lead in spotting a flowery fabric on the Dries Van Noten runway that originated in the atelier of Charles Frederick Worth. Amusez-vous bien:
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Documentary on Lela and Massimo Vignelli Screening at IFC Center, MFA Boston

“If you can’t find it, design it.” Following that motto has led Lella and Massimo Vignelli through a design career that spans products, graphics, publications, furniture, and more. Kathy Brew and Roberto Guerra‘s documentary, Design Is One, traces the Vignellis’ legendary achievements–from New York’s subway signage and identity programs for Bloomingdale’s to Heller dinnerware and Venini lamps–alongside personal anecdotes from the likes of Richard Meier, Milton Glaser, Michael Bierut, and Jessica Helfand. Catch the film this month in New York City at IFC Center and later Symphony Space. It opens October 31 at the MFA Boston.

Hamilton Wood Type Museum Teams with Erik Spiekermann to Go Hard in New Home

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Strong and Silent Types. The new crew at the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum stands in front of a vintage photo of their predecessors.

hard_typefaceWisconsin’s Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum–the only museum dedicated to the preservation, study, production, and printing of wood type–recently moved into a new home in Two Rivers, and the race is on to reopening day. Helping to inaugurate the new space will be the museum’s annual Wayzgoose type conference, which gets underway November 8. Among the special guest speakers this year is the fontastic Erik Spiekermann, for whom a typographic tribute is in the works: Hamilton will be cutting the Spiekermann-designed font, “HARD” (pictured above), at the conference. “I’m excited to see Hamilton cut this font using traditional methods,” says Spiekermann. “With Hamilton’s vintage pantographs and former type-cutting employees, this will be a chance to see history in the remaking.”
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The Art and Design of Deception: Documentary Tells Story of Secret WWII ‘Ghost Army’

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Friendly Ghost. Bill Blass somewhere in Europe, in a photo taken by his friend Bob Tompkins.

Inflatable tanks, sound effects, elaborately painted faux convoys, carefully crafted illusions. It was all in a day’s work for the American G.I.s—including Bill Blass, Ellsworth Kelly, and Art Kane—who artfully mislead the Axis forces on the battlefields of Europe during World War II. “They conducted 21 different deceptions, often operating within a few hundred yards of enemy lines,” filmmaker and author Rick Beyer tells us. “Their story was hushed up for more than 40 years.” Beyer brings it to light in The Ghost Army, a new documentary that will be screened on Thursday, October 17 at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (register here to attend). Beyer made time to tell us some ghost (army) stories in advance of next week’s screening.

How did you become interested/first learn about the story of this secret WWII unit?
I first learned about it eight years ago when a mutual friend introduced me to Martha Gavin, whose uncle, John Jarvie, served in the unit. Her enthusiasm was the spark that started the whole project. I have always loved quirky history stories, the strange, “can you believe it?” stuff. In fact, I’ve written an entire book series, The Greatest Stories Never Told, that focuses on just that. The idea that American soldiers in World War II went into battle with inflatable tanks and sound effects records was so bizarre, so contrary to every image from every war movie I’ve ever seen, that it immediately attracted my attention.

On top of that was the fact that many of the soldiers in the unit were artists, who used their spare time to paint and sketch what they saw on the battlefield. In fact, the first time I met Martha at a Boston area coffee shop, she was carrying an armload of three-ring binders filled with uncle’s wartime artworks. I was captivated with the way they presented such a unique and intimate perspective of the war. And that’s how I got hooked.

How were GIs selected to serve in this unit?
The Army threw the 23rd together in a hurry, in January 1944, so they assembled it from four pre-existing units. One was the 603rd Camouflage Engineers, which had been formed more than 18 months earlier. The Army had loaded the 603rd with artists, because their initial mission was camouflage. Some were recruited from art schools such as Pratt and Cooper Union. Word quickly spread to other artists interested in finding a way to put their art skills to use in war effort. (Or interested in finding a way to avoid ending up in the infantry!)

Similarly, the Army took a pre-existing radio unit and assigned it to The Ghost Army to handle radio deception. But because they wanted only the very best radio operators to carry out convincing deceptions, they pruned about 100 soldiers from the radio unit, and then plucked skilled men from other units around the country. In general, once it was formed, The Ghost Army had a very high priority status, and could whatever soldiers it wanted.
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National Trust for Historic Preservation Receives $2 Million from American Express

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The National Trust for Historic Preservation is waging a campaign to preserve the Astrodome and 34 other endangered places.

Endangered cultural and historic places: don’t leave home without (preserving) them. American Express is pitching in to help the National Trust for Historic Preservation in its work to save America’s historic places. The company will provide the privately funded nonprofit with a $2 million grant to help protect architectural, cultural, and natural heritage sites at risk of destruction or irreparable damage. Part of a $15 million, ten-year pledge made by American Express to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the grant funding will go to overall support of the National Treasures program—a revolving portfolio of endangered places that includes the Astrodome in Houston, Joe Frazier’s Gym in Philadelphia, Miami Marine Stadium in Miami, and Union Station in Washington, D.C.—as well as funding for specific preservation needs at some of the locations.

Quote of Note | Pierre Huyghe

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From “Untilled” (2011-12), Pierre Huyghe’s Documenta 13 project, which was installed around a park’s compost heap.

“To a certain extent, I have always used animals in my work. This might have increased in recent years and become more overt. But even in my 20s, I did a show with a lot of animals. I think a major turning point, however, was my show at the National Museum of Art and Popular Traditions in Paris [2009-10]. I became fascinated by the work in progress. I realized that what I was more and more attracted to was the aspect that was undetermined. You frame a rule, set the conditions, but you cannot define how a given entity will interact with another. I can never fully determine what animals will do; it’s certainly not my aim to have one animal eat another, although that can happen. What I show is a set of elements and the way they collide, confront and agree with each other. In a certain way, I construct a play. I don’t want to exhibit something to someone any more. I want to do the reverse: I want to exhibit someone to something. It’s random… I don’t even know what will happen most of the time.”

-Artist Pierre Huyghe—whose first major retrospective at the Centre Pompidou features bees, spiders, and a dog—in an interview with The Art Newspaper

Design Jobs: Bauer Publishing, In Business Magazine, I-5 Publishing

This week, Bauer Publishing is hiring a graphic artist, and In Business Magazine needs a graphic designer. I-5 Publishing is seeking a senior graphic designer, and Sandow is on the hunt for a senior designer/art director. Get the scoop on these openings and more below, and find additional just-posted gigs on Mediabistro.

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Find more great design jobs on the UnBeige job board. Looking to hire? Tap into our network of talented UnBeige pros and post a risk-free job listing. For real-time openings and employment news, follow @MBJobPost.

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