Project-based learning and maker spaces have surfaced as two of the many recent education buzzwords. As the Director of Teaching and Learning at The American School of Barcelona, Johanna Cena has been grappling with the question of how to truly transform education to make it more relevant, to bring a new level of creativity to the thinking work students are doing, and how to connect students as true global citizens. As a pre school-12th grade international baccalaureate school in the middle of one of the most creative and dynamic cities in Europe, ASB students have access and exposure to creative greats in all academic disciplines. However, using a design thinking approach to find ways to bring project-based learning and maker spaces for students to create and build into the school and our day-to-day day lives presents a new challenge.

When faced with education dilemmas, Cena reaches out to her creative friends in Bend and Portland, OR who work in creative agencies to see what they are doing to bring new levels of innovation and creativity to their process. When faced with a recent challenge, Cena researched what Stanford University’s D. school is doing to bring this work into schools, and she talked with René Mitchell, Director of Bend Design, to get her take on design thinking work. The design thinking process itself helped Cena and her colleagues at ASB identify project-based learning as a way to take teaching and learning to a new level.

Reaching out to creative resources in Barcelona, Cena invited Creator Street, a local Barcelona agency involved in bringing the design thinking process to schools, to engage in the process with them. Working together, they developed a plan for leading a pilot team of 14 kindergarten-12th grade teachers in the design thinking process with the aim of uncovering what project-based learning could look like for students and teachers at ASB.

One resulting project brought Student Medical Translators to Peru. In the summer of 2016, ASB began a partnership with Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSUCOM). The two groups collaborated on a medical mission to Peru, in which ASB students acted as translators for local doctors, thus becoming a vital part of the doctor-patient relationship. Besides the rare chance to work side-by-side with doctors and medical students, the program also provided students with opportunities to socialize and have meaningful conversations with medical professionals – particularly valuable to those students interested in pursuing medicine in the future. Relationships were built between ASB student and patients. Students learned that they are capable of bettering the lives of others and valuable lessons were learned about cultural differences and similarities, gratitude, and generosity through their immersion in a  foreign environment.

A second project inspired by design thinking is SOS Galgos. ASB 3rd graders created a website designed to inspire the ASB community – and the rest of world – to adopt a greyhound from the SOS GALGO animal shelter in Esplugues. Connecting what they were learning in class to real life, the students became writers, journalists and real agents of change.

Design thinking has the potential to transform education, allowing for a traditional system to breathe in a creative process that brings relevancy, connection, and engagement to the classroom in a way education hasn’t seen before.

About Johanna Cena

Johanna Cena has 18 years of experience in education, 10 of those years as an elementary principal, Director of ELL programs and most recently Director of Teaching in Learning at the American School of Barcelona. Johanna is originally from Portland, Oregon where she was a classroom teacher, ELL teacher, instructional coach, staff developer and elementary principal.  She earned her Masters in Teaching from Lewis and Clark College and her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Oregon. She has been a staff developer and presenter on the topics of teacher leadership, student voice, reading and writing workshop, English language development, and response to instruction and intervention models.

We love how Kawandeep Virdee uses technology and art to encourage collaboration, play, and creativity. Kawandeep co-founded New American Public Art to build interactive art that makes public spaces more communal and welcoming. His work is displayed publicly as installations, but also via the internet. Both venues invite the viewer to interact.

Through his work, Kawandeep explores how humans interact with their environment, illustrating his broader interest in the human condition. We found his work to be visually compelling – often incorporating repetition of pattern as a device to draw the eye. But the pattern is never perfect, and as such, includes a human aspect to it by honoring that imperfection. He also creates interactive experiences on the Web that integrate patterns and sounds and invite humans to play.

An accomplished speaker, Bend Design is honored to have Kawandeep join us for our 2017 event, to speak about his work and experiences.

Interactive new media and video artist, and ScaleHouse Board Member, Kiel Fletcher, had an opportunity to catch up with Kawandeep this month. Kiel is leading the charge in the arts and graphic design department for OSU-Cascades here in Bend, OR. Here is an excerpt of what Kiel learned:

Where are some of your current public installations?

I have a mural in Boston, at the Greenway Lincoln Street Triangle downtown. It’s at the intersection of the Leather District, Chinatown, and South Station [that was] was painted last summer.

How do you involve play and interactivity into your work?

There is some part of the piece that is open ended. That’s where the viewer can participate. It can be a bit scary giving up control of the piece, the interpretation can change, the meaning can be lost…will people get into it? But that kind of makes it exciting too.

Can you give some examples?

I’ve done interactive pieces giving the audience a website to explore and make sounds with, like Bloopdance. Will they be willing to explore and get a bit weird with it? Sometimes I make it a bit more challenging. Instead of using a phone synth, what if we use our voices? It can be awkward to sing out loud, especially if it’s just mouth sounds and not words. There’s a risk it can fail, but that adds an extra surprise and delight.

How much are you guiding/planning the interactions in your public installations?

There’s a rough idea of the space of possibilities people can play in… if it’s too narrow then I find the piece a bit boring. It’s watching people play with the works – and surprising me – that is most exciting. Sometimes works get minimal on the signage, opting for an experience where the viewer “discovers” the piece and interactions. I prefer to offer a good explanation of what’s going on. People can read it if they like, or skip it.

Do you get a greater level of satisfaction from setting the parameters of an installation or witnessing the outcome?

Adding constraints to a piece I think is the poetry of the interaction. You can allow someone to do anything and it becomes more of a tool or an instrument. That’s fine, but I wonder what would it be if I were more intentional. There’s less works like that. It’s easy to keep parameters open ended. It’s harder to define them, and pick which ones to define. Witnessing the outcome is the most rewarding part of making an interactive thing. Seeing people make the work their own, or build on top of it. That’s so energizing.

Is there a difference in the motivations behind your hand drawn patterns versus your public installations?

The public installations came from a place of changing public space and the politics of public space. Could I make public space more welcoming and playful by introducing interactivity? Could I create works for groups of people, to cultivate social and creative interactions?

The pattern drawings came from a place of reflection. They began at a small scale in notebooks. They’re more introspective, and they’re to process thoughts. I thought about grooming, about combing my hair. A repetitive gesture that reflects care for myself, slowing down, and being less concerned about achievement and production.

What role do you feel technology plays in your work? Do you feel that the UX design of your work allows for a greater level of accessibility?

Programming screens and electronics allows some flexibility on the nature of the interactions – the sensing and the responses. To an extent the intrigue and glamour of technology makes the works feel a bit magical and surprising.

Is there something you are currently working on that you have a great amount of excitement for?

While making the interactive works and the pattern art was valuable, I’m excited for this new direction I’m exploring. I’m doing text and representational drawing with a pen and notebook. I felt the interactive works were valuable because of the tech, and the pattern works because of their effort. In this new direction I’m focusing more on the concepts in the works, and people finding value in those, rather than the craft. In this way it feels I’m pushing myself in expression and exploring voice, relying less on gimmicks to make the work valuable.

Bend Design is just around the corner – with two days of engaging conversations, tours, interactive workshops and hands-on exhibits intended to celebrate design as a way of thinking! Here’s everything you need to know about attending this year:

Before the Conference

Register for WORKSHOPS! Day 2 consists of more than 30 interactive. workshops, panels, and conversations. Be sure to register as soon as possible! Here’s how:

  1. Go to our Registration Page.
  2. Go to the the workshop option and select “Add to Cart”.
  3. Enter your passcode. This code can be found in the confirmation email sent from Bend Ticket [subject: Your Receipt from Bend Ticket (Conf X10XYX)]. *It’s possible that gmail has sorted this confirmation email to the Promotions Tab.
  4. Make a selection from each workshop track to be registered, and then proceed to checkout.

Sign Up for HOSTED CONVERSATIONS! This is an opportunity for you to become better connected with other Bend Design Conference attendees based on shared interests. Hosts have made a dinner reservation at a downtown restaurant and have proposed a topic for a shared dinner conversation. You can choose to join a conversation or sign up to be a host here. *Hosts will coordinate the location and start the conversations, but are not responsible for purchasing other attendees meals.

Become a ScaleHouse Member to Attend the VIP SPEAKERS MEET + GREET! On October 19th, from 5:30p – 7:30p, we are hosting an exclusive meet + greet with some of our 2016 speakers. This event is exclusive to ScaleHouse members who are attending the BND DSGN conference. Become a member today and you can attend simply by RSVPing to [email protected].

Looking for LODGING? The DoubleTree is looking forward to hosting BND DSGN CON. Your special code is “BDC” – $159 including breakfast ($9.95 value). Click here to make your reservation.

DAY 1 of Bend Design

PARKING Downtown. We highly recommend carpooling, walking, or riding your bike to the conference. If you drive it is important that you park in the Parking Garage (750 NW Lava St) and display the permit available for download here. If you forget or lose your permit, we will have extra for you at the HUB (849 NW Wall St) Parking with this permit is free and valid: 7a. Thursday, Oct. 20 through 10p Friday, Oct. 21 (including overnight Thursday).

CHECK IN at the HUB. Starting at 8:30a on Thursday Oct 20, the Liberty Theatre (849 NW Wall St) will be the place to check in, get information, meet up with friends, and experience interactive exhibits. Please DO check in! You’ll receive your conference pass and everything you’ll need for the day ahead.

Grab a cup of COFFEE from the Bellatazza coffee truck parked between the HUB and the Tower Theatre.

Join us at The TOWER THEATRE as the first day of the conference gets underway. Doors to The Tower Theatre will open at 9:00a on Thursday. We’ll begin the program at 9:30a. You can see the entire schedule here.

Don’t miss the THURSDAY MASH UPS! Wrap-up Day One of BND DSGN CON with creative surprises that mix mingling with making. Meet speakers and like-minded design thinkers while you visit design-oriented businesses in downtown Bend. You can see a list of locations and details here.

DAY 2 of Bend Design

INTERACTIVE Sessions: Day 2 is filled with workshops, films, and meet-ups in four sessions:  8:30a – 10:00a, 10:30a – noon, 1:30p – 3:00p, and 3:30-5:00. Please arrive to the workshops you’ve registered for at least 10 minutes prior to the start time.

*Note: Many of the workshops are at capacity, so we ask that you stick to your registered schedule.
Come to the closing PARTY! Join us at the Capital (190 NW Oregon Ave, downstairs) from 5:30p – 7:30p. The Closing Party is the place to mingle with new friends, exchange ideas, and plan your next creative conference. Please RSVP to Event Services


Call 541-390-4025 or email Event Services

Ashley Shaffer will be speaking at Bend Design Conference, October 21, 2016Ashley Shaffer is a surfer, burrito enthusiast and a Design Researcher and Strategist at the global design firm, IDEO. Designing experiences and messaging that creates a human connection with the brand is one of her specialties. Affecting change in many fields such as healthcare, financial services, hospitality, food & beverage, and social impact, Ashley combines consumer behavior, emotion, culture and inspiration to influence all facets of the end product. Target, NBC television, MassMutual, New Balance, Jack Daniel’s and the truth (R) campaign all bear her influence.

Noelle Fredland, Marketing Director at the Old Mill District recently connected with Ashley to explore her adventures in design, inspiration, innovations and spirit vegetables. Here is a glimpse…

Noelle: Was there a pivotal moment or decision that led you into your current career?

Ashley: My current path was not even one I was aware of early in my career. It took me a few years of working in other roles to spot what I thought was my dream job – you never know until you’re in it, but I found mine. What got me here was a mix of intense focus on building the skills I needed to get here, and a lot of kindness and mentorship throughout.

Noelle: Tell us a story about a transformative project that you have worked on with IDEO?

Ashley: Our clients come to us with some of their biggest, trickiest challenges and I’ve worked on some pretty amazing projects over the last 5 years. A transformative project that sticks out to me was one I worked on a couple of years ago for people living with mental illness. During our research, I got to sit next to them on their couches, in their homes, and talk to them about what it was like to live in their world. We talk about empathy a lot at IDEO, designing for this population to me felt like empathy in the extreme. They were desperate to find a better way.

Noelle: Where do you find inspiration?

Ashley: Oh man, I just tried to articulate this in an IDEO blog post – finding inspiration in the real-world. Before I worked at IDEO, I thought inspiration gathering happened on the internet or maybe in books. Something I really value is analogous inspiration finding — going out into any place, including your own city, and visiting people and places who are doing something you can learn from. I keep a lengthy list of inspiring places in every city I’ve been to – would be happy to share if anyone’s looking.

Noelle: What are your favorite questions to ask others?

Ashley: What’s your spirit vegetable ?

This one takes whoever I’m interviewing out of the interview seat and gets them to smile.

Noelle: What trends or innovations do you think will change the world in our lifetimes?

Ashley: VR is what everyone in my office is doing / playing with / dreaming about at the moment. I think the sharing economy will continue to disrupt our ways of operating even more than it already has. I think decentralized learning is what’s surprising me most now. It seems that our models of education continue to change almost on a yearly basis.

*Ashley will be speaking at the 2016 BND DSGN CON

written by Tricia Louvar

ann-friedman-headshotAnn Friedman has become a household name with her wit in print and the scrawls from her hand in a typeface-heavy world. Friedman has a flourishing multifaceted career as a freelance journalist, illustrator and commentator on gender, media, technology and culture. She’s known for her handwritten pie charts published at the Los Angeles Times and The Hairpin. Her writing has appeared in The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Observer Sunday Magazine, Marie Claire, The Gentlewoman, The New York Times Book Review, The Guardian, among other anthologies and publications. She is currently a columnist for New York Magazine and co-host of the popular podcast, Call Your Girlfriend, which she creates with Aminatou Sow.

Tricia Louvar, managing editor of 1859 Oregon’s Magazine, interviewed Ann about curiosity, creativity and pivot points. Here’s what the changemaker had to say….

TL: What makes you curious?

AF: I’m curious about the experiences of people very different from me. On a selfish level, I like being a journalist because I get to talk to strangers about things they care about and decisions they make.

TL: Why is being curious important now, maybe more than ever?

AF: Curiosity has always been a core journalistic skill, I think. But now that most of us get our news from Facebook and Twitter, where we’ve essentially curated the perspectives and sources, it’s important for all of us to ask questions about what we’re missing, which perspectives we never get, and why we don’t understand certain things.

TL: You write about gender, technology and culture. Is there a difference between a good feminist and a bad feminist in the modern times? Or can you be both?

AF: This is a better question for Roxane Gay! I’m not sure “good” and “bad” are helpful categories when it comes to my personal interpretation of feminism. To me the most important thing is to be questioning your choices (not making them unthinkingly or automatically) and asking yourself how your actions correspond to your beliefs. I don’t know a single person who is good at living up to their political beliefs all the time, so if the standard is ideological perfection, I’d say most of us are bad feminists.

TL: How does being a feminist filter your graphical, creative work?

AF: I’ve never thought about this before. Maybe it’s a feminist act to publish handwritten, half-baked pie charts without worrying that people will think of me as unserious or sloppy. 

TL: In a world filled with digital noise and fickle followers, how do you as a freelance journalist/changemaker select a story and stick with it?

AF: It can be hard for me to keep my focus on a feature-length article. But it’s pretty easy for me to be a columnist who focuses on recurring themes. I realized pretty early on that no one is reading everything I publish, which gives me some freedom to return to ideas I’ve already explored. The hard thing isn’t sticking with a story. The hard thing for me is often finding a new narrative or fresh way of looking at an old story.

shame-bummerTL: You’re known for your wry, pedestrian-hued detailed commentary, with accompanying hand-drawn pie charts. How do graphics and text work together in your illustrative pieces?

AF: The open secret about my pie charts is that they are barely graphic. They’re just words, handwritten, and arranged in slices of a circle. I think I could write a short essay to replace each pie chart, but the essay does not get the same response because sometimes it just tickles the brain to see words arranged in a different way. And handwritten things really connect in an era when we’re used to seeing all text typed out.

TL: What was a pivotal point in your career as a writer/illustrator? How did it change you?

AF: I’m only a writer now because I was fired from my editing job in 2012. That was pretty pivotal! Even though I’d always wanted to be a full-time writer at some point, I’m not sure I would have backed myself if I hadn’t been fired. The experience taught me that I draw a lot of creativity from times of uncertainty in my life.

TL: Name your top five inspirational people.

AF: In no particular order…

  1. My friend Sarah, a brilliant artistic mind who refuses to be hemmed in by any one medium and effortlessly dives into new projects. She is also incredible at working her day job only as much as she needs to for money, and then really devoting herself to her creative pursuits. 
  2. My friend Aminatou, who is both lightning quick and self-assured. She is great at demanding the best of herself and the people she knows, while also being very supportive and caring so that the best actually comes to pass.
  3. My friend Bridget, someone who lives creatively in everything she does. She is an art therapist, and art infuses both her life and her work—and it’s even more remarkable because she’s not documenting any of it or performing it on the internet. It’s just for herself and for the people she works with. She’s an important reminder for me that creative work is still creative work, even if the wider world never sees it or appreciates it.
  4. My friend Lara, who has been incredibly tenacious in pursuing her creative vision on her own terms. She’s one of the most motivated people I know when it comes to self-driven, long-running projects, she has a great moral compass, and she doesn’t just make work for existing outlets and spaces: If the ideal outlet doesn’t exist for her work, she creates it.
  5. RuPaul Charles. (In case there is any contextual confusion, I should probably state that I do not personally know RuPaul.) 

TL: What’s next for you?

AF: I think I’m going to write a book.

3 Inspiration Recommendations

Getting ready to attend a conference so often takes a backseat to the buzz of daily life- even conferences you’re really excited about going to. You buy tickets, and then completely forget about it until it’s time to pack your bags and get there. That’s why we’re compiling a list of Instagram accounts to follow so your feed can inspire you leading up to this year’s Bend Design Conference and energize you about being in Bend, Oregon this October.  

We’ve asked our community to help create the following list by suggesting favorite #design-related and/or #inbend-related Instagram accounts:


@natewyeth -guided by an artistic mind to beautiful places

Suggested by BND DSGN volunteer @bendhiker, Nate Wyeth comes from a family of creatives (yes, that Wyeth family) and brings his creative passion to finding exceptional and breathtaking landscapes and working in a human aspect. Based in Bend, Nate’s images will most certainly make you want to schedule some extra time to be outside in Central Oregon.

Pretty damn thankful for this life of mine.

A photo posted by Nate Wyeth (@natewyeth) on

 @greenlinepress – taking printmaking to the people

Recommended by BND DSGN volunteer @babsinbend, Green Line Press (aka Sweet Pea Cole) wants you to be a printmaker too. Her #upullprints are an invitation to make something with your hands.

@thejealouscurator – using jealousy as fuel to get back into the studio

Suggested by @reidwrites, The Jealous Curator (aka Danielle Krysa) used to be stymied when she saw artwork that she loved. She has since turned her “jealousy” – magically, wonderfully, and thankfully – into inspiration.

We’ll continue adding to to this list and we’d love your help! Just tag us on Instagram with #benddesigncon, mention us @benddesigncon, or share your favorite account(s) in the comments below.

A brief conversation with Evan Clabots, Chief Design Officer at OTHR.

Bend Design is proud to bring together visionary leaders who are applying their cultural fluency, technological savvy and creative excellence to shape a better future. In our esteemed mix of design doers is Evan Clabots, Chief Design Officer at OTHR.

Launched in 2016, with founder Joe Doucet and Dean Di Simone, OTHR pairs top designers with 3-D printing technology to disrupt supply chain constraints delivering new possibilities in design. Their emphasis on useful, aesthetic, and unique products has an added benefit of manufacturing only what is needed.

Evan Clabots Chief Design Officer at OTHR will be speaking at Bend Design Conference


Evan Clabots’ multi-faceted career began even prior to his graduation from RISD in 2004, when he licensed a school project for manufacturing. Since, Evan has held a variety of roles in the industry, and launched his own studio, Nonlinear, in 2010; specializing in product design, art direction and interior design, The studio also produced its own line of products that have retailed in the MoMA store and around the world. Evan has done work for clients including All-Clad, Target and Tumi. In addition to his role as Chief Design Officer at OTHR, Evan is also an adjunct professor at Pratt Institute.

Bend Design Co-Producer and Programming Director, Cassondra Schindler recently connected with Evan to learn more about his work with OTHR, ask about his dream projects, curiosities and mentors. Here is what he had to share with us.


CS: What do you find most compelling about facets of the work that you are doing at OTHR?

Evan Clabots: I think the most compelling part of our work at OTHR is where the technology meets the creative process. We manufacture our products on-demand, exclusively via 3-D printing. Most designers have been familiar with 3-D printing for quite a while, but until now, it’s mostly been used for prototyping or exploring new ideas. Now the technology has evolved to a place where we can produce durable, affordable, real products. It’s very exciting to work with a roster of the best designers from around the world and explore new production techniques together.  Each designer has challenged the materials and processes in their own way.  OTHR is, in a way, acting as a hub for experimentation and exploration of techniques. Every time we learn something new from a project, we are able to pass that information on to other designers so they can push the technique even further.  I think this model of communal exploration is helping us to make quicker discoveries and push the technology forward faster.


CS: How have you been surprised by the realm of 3-D Printing?

Evan Clabots: At its core, 3-D Printing is simply another manufacturing technique, and it comes with its own pros and cons. The technology allows us to do things that would not be possible with other forms of manufacturing with regards to material thickness and geometry normally restricted by molding limitations. However, as you move from printing simple plastics into printing materials like steel and porcelain, the manufacturing process becomes more complex. It begins to involve secondary processes, such as firing and glazing, so you now have to take into account things like warping and shrinkage. This makes 3-D printing less direct and one-to-one as we may think.


CS: How do you see the future of on-demand production evolving?

Evan Clabots: We really feel that on-demand production is the wave of the future.  The old production chain model has so many disadvantages – having to produce thousands of products remotely, ship them across the world, and warehouse your inventory.  This process can stifle creativity and is very detrimental to the environment.  As on-demand production techniques become faster, we will have the ability to produce locally, with little impact on the environment. It also will allow designers to push boundaries further, since they won’t need to worry about whether an object has enough mass-market appeal to sell through their entire inventory.


CS: What’s next for OTHR?

Evan Clabots: We are launching new products every two weeks, constantly collaborating with new designers, and experimenting with new manufacturing techniques.  We are also branching out beyond working exclusively with product designers; soon we will be launching products designed by architects, graphic designers and fashion designers, among others.


CS: Do you have any dream projects or dream collaborators that you’d be willing to share?

Evan Clabots: We are actually working on quite a few dream projects as we speak.  People are really gravitating toward what we are doing.  We find everyone is interested in exploring and pushing boundaries.  I have gotten to work with a designers that I have admired for years like Claesson Kiovisto Rune and Sebastian Bergne, and there will be some great collaborations launching throughout the remainder of the year!


CS: Who are your mentors?

Evan Clabots: I wouldn’t say I have any one particular mentor, since I really value collaboration.  I think discussion and debate bring out new ideas and perspectives.  You don’t have to be older or more experienced in order to challenge people to see things in new ways. Through collaboration, I believe we all can mentor each other, or even use those interactions to mentor ourselves.


CS: What are your favorite questions to ask others?

Evan Clabots: I love to ask the question, “Why?”  As a Studio Professor at Pratt University, I make it the central theme of my studio – “Why does this product deserve to exist?”  I believe the “why” will lead to the “what?” and then the “how.”  I also think that in a fast-paced world that is inundated with media and consumerism, it is really important to ask ourselves why we are doing what we do, who benefits, and what are the long term impacts.


CS: What do you look forward to at the Bend Design Conference?

Evan Clabots: I think I am most looking forward to the more interactive aspects of the conference.  I love sharing my experience but feel like dialogue is the best way to do this.  I love a good discussion.


Thanks Evan, we’re looking forward to sharing more at our 2016 conference, October 20 + 21st in Bend, Oregon.  

Until then, you can find Evan (and us) on Instagram.




Christo - The Floating Piers (PROJECT FOR LAKE ISEO, ITALY) Drawing 2015 in two parts 65 x 42" and 65 x 15" (165 x 106.6 cm and 165 x 38 cm) Pencil, charcoal, enamel paint, cut-out photographs by Wolfgang Volz, map, fabric sample and tape Photo: André Grossmann © 2015 Christo

Christo – The Floating Piers
Drawing 2015 in two parts
65 x 42″ and 65 x 15″ (165 x 106.6 cm and 165 x 38 cm)
Pencil, charcoal, enamel paint, cut-out photographs by Wolfgang Volz, map, fabric sample and tape
Photo: André Grossmann
© 2015 Christo

Originally conceived by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude in 1970, The Floating Piers has come to life for a 16-day exhibition this summer at Lake Iseo in Italy, located 100 kilometers east of Milan and 200 kilometers west of Venice.

From June 18 through July 3, 2016 (weather permitting) visitors can experience the work of art by walking on it from Sulzano to Monte Isola and to the island of San Paola, framed by The Floating Piers rising just above the surface of the water.

“Those who experience The Floating Piers will feel like they are walking on water – or perhaps the back of a whale,” said Christo.

The piers are 16 meters wide–a modular floating dock system of 220,000 polyethylene cubes carrying 100,000 square meters of shimmering yellow fabric–a fantastical walkway that stretches for three kilometers across Lake Iseo, undulating with the waves.

The yellow fabric moves from the water to pedestrian streets in Sulzano and Peschiera Maraglio for an additional 2.5 kilometers. Views from the mountains surrounding the lake offer intriguing angles and perspectives of the exhibition, further enhanced by the ever-changing light.

“The light and water will transform the bright yellow fabric to shades of red and gold throughout the sixteen days,” said Christo.

The Floating Piers is Christo’s first large-scale project since Christo and Jeanne-Claude brought The Gates to life in New York City’s Central Park in 2005, and since Jeanne-Claude passed away in 2009.

The Floating Piers is funded solely through the sale of Christo’s original works of art, as with all of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s projects.

“Like all of our projects, The Floating Piers is absolutely free and accessible 24 hours a day, weather permitting,” said Christo. “There are no tickets, no openings, no reservations and no owners. The Floating Piers are an extension of the street and belong to everyone.”

After the 16-day exhibition, all components will be removed and industrially recycled.

Photo: Wolfgang Volz © 2016 Christo

Photo: Wolfgang Volz
© 2016 Christo

View an abundance of amazing photographs of the project in the design, installation and exhibition phases on The Floating Piers website. Follow the project on Facebook, Instagram (floatingpiers) and Twitter (#thefloatingpiers).

Looking for even more inspiration? Visit the Christo and Jeanne-Claude website.



Catching up with Robert Johans, creator and former CEO/Lead Designer of Nest Caravans, which was recently acquired by Airstream.

Robert Johans. Photo Credit: Audrey Colker

Robert Johans.
Photo: Audrey Colker

You have a design background that includes graphic design, building, refurbishing “egg” campers and more. Can you tell us more about your influences?
My father was an advertising agency creative director, but loved to build furniture. He not only taught me early on how to use tools, but how to think and solve problems in three dimensions. Later, while studying at the Otis Art Institute in LA, these hand and head skills were critical in my education as a designer. Eventually, I ran my own studio, creating and producing a wide variety of advertising and marketing material. But throughout my professional life I continued my pursuit of 3D design — furniture, objects, sculpture.

What is it about design that attracts and inspires you?
Obviously, design is all around us. But what attracts me is great design…The function of any design is either to communicate an idea, solve a problem, create some utility, or influence an environment. No matter the “thing,” be it image, object or space, good design displays intelligence, integrity, and often elegance. But in my opinion, it is great design that truly inspires and transforms one’s personal experience.

How do you describe your personal design aesthetic?
I can appreciate quality and craftsmanship anywhere. But personally, I prefer a more formal Modernism — especially when coupled with unexpected elements of whimsy! The greats of Mid-Century design are a huge influence in my daily life.

Audrey and Robert Johans unwind with boxers Buck and Ray—the Nest Caravan is a fitting backdrop. Photo credit: Mike Hauska

Audrey and Robert Johans unwind with boxers Buck and Ray—the Nest Caravan is a fitting backdrop.
Photo: Mike Hauska

In bringing Nest Caravans to life you collaborated with others (such as Bryan Thompson and Composite Approach), can you speak to the role of collaboration in your design?
I understood from the start that bringing an innovative concept like Nest Caravans to market would require expertise and tools I did not possess. So, I sought the help of the best folks I could find, and leaned heavily on their skills and experience. Their contributions were invaluable. Collectively, we developed a product that was aesthetically true to my original vision.

You have said that you are committed to delivering great design, and that this is what drives all decision-making. Can you elaborate on that?
To be perfectly blunt, the aesthetic and quality levels of most product available within the travel trailer segment of the RV industry is horrible. And hasn’t changed significantly in 50 years. I find that bewildering. Other than Airstream, no other manufacturer targets a high-end, design-savvy consumer. Our goal at Nest Caravans was to fill a niche with a product that featured modern, sophisticated styling, did not compromise on quality, and provided true pride of ownership. As I’ve said, design can have a powerful influence on one’s environment. So many folks choose to embrace great design as a lifestyle essential. Consider the market for Dwell Magazine, or Porsche, or iPhone. Perhaps presumptuous, but I designed the Nest to become the Apple of travel trailers…

With Nest Caravans having been recently acquired by Airstream, what are your plans for the future?
Currently, I am working with Airstream, overseeing the production of Nest. Obviously, they too appreciate the integrity of the design and wish to maintain it as much as possible. Otherwise, Audrey and I will soon be building a new home on the Westside of Bend. The design is modest, but we think spectacularly modern!

Audrey Johans and the Nest Caravan. Photo Credit: Photo credit: Tim Koester

Audrey Johans and the Nest Caravan.
Photo: Tim Koester

You and Audrey have owned property in Tumalo since 2001, and became full-time residents in 2006. Why Central Oregon?
Audrey and I had lived in and enjoyed the vitality and diversity of Los Angeles for most of our lives. But the time came for, not so much a change of pace or lifestyle, but rather a change of environment and experience. Since we both had friends or family living in Bend, we were already aware of the obvious beauty of the area. When my son finished high school and set off for college, we decided to pull up stakes there in LA and replant them here in Bend.

Closing thoughts?
I am encouraged to see the evolution of the “makers” community here in Bend. I hope local government and city planners nurture a business environment where creative people and entrepreneurs can work, thrive and contribute to our local economy. I would love to see our area become known as much for design, innovation and invention as it is for the skiing, dogs and beer.

Reach Robert Johans: [email protected]

1859 Media artist Brendan Loscar talks us through his creative logo design process in this guest blog post. 

LoscarLogoImage#1Design can be a mysterious phenomenon. In our everyday lives, we interact with design constantly and, most often, on a subconscious level. Restaurant menus, billboards, logos, clothing and even road signs have been created from the imagination of a designer, a person. Although the finished product seems to appear out of thin air, there is usually a strategy behind the creation of such magical (and ordinary) things. Here is a quick peek into my strategy in making something from nothing, and in this case, logo design.

Anything and everything can serve as inspiration when it comes to design. I like to start my approach by collecting photos, colors, information and details that will meet the client’s aspirations. Another key component, is finding adjectives that describe the audience, usage and overall feel. It is important to envelope yourself with the entire universe of those who will interact with this branding, to look at it from where they’re standing. It’s not until this point that I feel ready to go to battle and to begin sketching my ideas.

LoscarLogoImage#2A simple pencil can be the gateway into a unique creation, but you have to work for it. That being said, sketches are not meant to be pretty or clean. They convey a concept, put an idea into a manageable medium. The best approach I know is to draw until exhaustion, and then a little more. I often find the best ideas come from really digging—diamonds aren’t just lying around for the taking. Once I do find that gem of a concept, I refine my sketch and then move to digital.

To transfer my sketches to digital, I scan my finalized ideas and begin crafting my logo. As I start building, I want to make sure that whatever I make can exist successfully in worlds that are black and white, big and small. I think this is the basis for developing logos that will work in a variety of size and color variations. After completing each version, I like to print out and reflect on what I’ve made. When it’s printed, I can find what is working and what isn’t. Through each version, I whittle down closer and closer to what is working best. In this case, I went back to the drawing board mid-process to revisit a sketch that I felt matched the initial direction better. If it is not working, don’t be afraid to reset and revisit.

LoscarLogo#3Once I am satisfied with the new black and white exploration, I then begin experimenting with the color palette I created within the mood board. I love this part of the process!

When the logo has been fully realized in color, I take it for a test spin. This logo was created to elevate an online blog and brand Micro Adventures across Central Oregon. The use of it within a photo gives a sneak peek into the usage and implementation down the road.

LoscarLogoImage#4Though it may seem like chaos that is far removed from everyday life, design is one concise interpretation of the world we live in—making sense from chaos. It has been said that ‘there is nothing new under the sun’ when it comes to design. This is true … until you add the human factor. Every person has a unique set of experiences and perspective. Ultimately this leads to creative and original work. I am still coming into my own as a designer, but I find that creating a method for fulfilling the creative process is essential to thriving professionally. This is only one example of how creativity can be dissected into pieces for which there are millions of solutions. What is your favorite way to create?

family_walk_1024x600Brooks Resources is the co-developer of NorthWest Crossing, an award-winning mixed-use neighborhood on Bend’s westside. The neighborhood has been recognized as a thoughtfully planned community, using traditional neighborhood development (TND) design principles. In this recent post on their blog, the developers take a brief look at how design impacts one aspect of the neighborhood — it’s walkability.

An interview with Pamela Hulse Andrews, CEO/Founder of Cascade Publications

Cascade Publications will soon be launching Bend Fashion Quarterly. What was the inspiration for the new publication?
My dearest friend, Joanne Sunnarborg, owner of Desperado in the Old Mill District, told me she was thinking of opening a shoe store. During our conversation I laughingly said I would have to create a fashion magazine to go with it. Two weeks later we had the name, the design and the plan in place.  You put a couple of creative people in a room together with some good red wine and who knows what will be divinely inspired! Our love of fashion and our desire to serve the women (and men) of Central Oregon with something especially creative and certainly unusual was the result.

BFQCoverHow would you describe the magazine?
From the ordinary to the sublime, Bend Fashion Quarterly explores fashion, style, trends and inspiration — four times a year, celebrating the beauty of the changing seasons. The editorial content features articles about what’s trending in fashion and how it fits into the high desert lifestyle and highlights new and established boutiques, fashion stores, home furnishings, owner’s views and fashion trends. There are articles on clothing, accessories, shoes, boots, sportswear, beauty and aging treatments, spas, fitness and sports, nutrition, weight control and attitudes and play. Bend Fashion Quarterly is a high gloss magazine with professional photography and impressive presentation and layout. It will be available through hundreds of distribution outlets throughout all of Central Oregon from Madras to La Pine and Burns to Sisters. Local stores will carry the magazine and our local distributor will be sure it is stocked in all the right places.

Who is your target audience for the publication?
Our target audience is women of all buying ages…women who are constantly searching for their look, what makes them happy, where they get their motivation, how they fit their fashion sense into their daily lives. We will not discriminate and will constantly feature men’s fashions and activities as well. But it’s women who are largely the movers and shakers and buyers of our communities.

How would you describe the fashion scene in Central Oregon?
Our region is unique in its fashion sense whether you’re riding a horse, skiing down a slope, running a river — what you wear will make a statement and keep you in motion for your chosen activity. What might inspire me the most of about Central Oregon’s fashion sense is our desire and ability to put together all kinds of shoes, boots, pants, coats etc….it may not make sense, but we feel good about using the high desert landscape for our own personal look.

What is your personal interest in fashion?
I love clothes and shoes and boots and hats. I love it all and my own style is this: I wear what I want and what makes me feel good at the time. We hope to convey that message in the magazine.  We will highlight stories of local people wearing fashions from local retailers and designers.

What else would you like readers to know about Bend Fashion Quarterly and fashion design in Central Oregon?
I love thinking of something new! Twenty-one years ago we brought the community a business newspaper that has proved to be the source for business news in the region both online and in print, then we created Oregon’s only arts magazine honoring our creative community, and now fashion — honing once again on our creative side and those who inspire and arouse our curiosity. Very fun!

To learn more: Bend Fashion Quarterly

Ben Hull, featured in this post, will be at Bend Design 2015 as a guest panelist at Thursday’s workshop “Design: The Process” moderated by April Baer of Oregon Public Broadcasting.

panel-benInspired by a desire to create a design that was reflective of the Central Oregon region, the team at NewsChannel 21 sought out local talent to collaborate on a redesign of their on-air interview set. Ben Hull, of the craft design studio Connell Hull Company, was a natural fit.

“We were looking for someone who could help us reflect our high desert surroundings in a way that was natural, clean and simple,” said Kara McGinn, promotions manager at the station. “Ben was recommended to us by a local builder, and from the very beginning he has been great to work with and full of ideas.”

LogWallHull studied fine arts at Portland State University, where he developed an emphasis in large scale, abstract sculpture. As a student he ran the wood shop and metal shop, pushing him to refine his own skills in these areas. Pursuing his passion for architecture and design, he landed several large projects designing and building out boutique retail spaces in Portland that garnered him a lot of attention. He started Connell Hull Company, and seven years ago he and his family made the move to Bend. Hull’s background and interests make him a great fit for the set redesign project, which features a hewn log backdrop and presents unique challenges.

Working within a limited budget and utilizing as much of the existing structural elements as possible, Hull had to find creative ways to build the log backdrop.

“The process took on two different scopes: modifying and fortifying the inserts which house the logs, and the arrangement of the logs,” said Hull. “While it looks pretty simple a lot of work went into the frames.”

Knowing that the frames needed to be as light as possible, he constructed a false back for the logs to butt up against and painted it black to give the negative space between the logs depth.

“In fact, the actual frame depth before I constructed the false back was around eight inches deep,” said Hull. “I cut that down to about two inches deep. I estimate that each finished frame insert, with logs, ended up weighing about 75 pounds. If we cut logs for the original depth of the frames they would have weighed around 300 pounds per frame.”

Once Hull modified the frames, he began the process of producing the wood rounds to fill them.

“Chop. Saw. Then hit them against the belt sander. Hundreds and hundreds of cuts,” said Hull. “I made the decision to stay within a certain diameter range because I didn’t want the rounds to be overly large and have the size contrast among the diameter of the rounds be too visually busy.”

Hull also considered the depth arrangement of the rounds to avoid too much variation.

“The goal was to add a bit of visual interest while not dominating or disrupting the interviews,” said Hull.

Phase one of the project has been completed, and there are two more phases due to be completed in early 2016.

“Ben is amazing to work with,” said McGinn. “We shared our vision with him and he was able to take our idea and turn it into a very interesting background. We are really looking forward to completing the project and being able to use our new set fully.”

Interested in learning more? Visit: Connell Hull Company and NewsChannel 21

Photos courtesy of NewsChannel 21

An interview with Victor Margolin, Professor Emeritus of Design History at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Margolin is a founding editor and now co-editor of the academic design journal Design Issues. He recently published the two-volume set “World History of Design,” a  definitive historical account of global design from prehistory to the end of the Second World War and is currently completing the third volume in the series. He has published widely on diverse design topics and lectured at conferences, universities, and art schools in many parts of the world. Publications that he has written, edited, or co-edited include “Propaganda: TheArt of Persuasion, WW II,” “The Struggle for Utopia: Rodchenko, Lissitzky, Moholy-Nagy, 1917-1936,” “Design Discourse,” “Discovering Design,” “The Idea of Design,” “The Designed World; Images, Objects, Environments,” “The Politics of the Artificial: Essays on Design and Design Studies,” and “Culture is Everywhere: The Museum of Corn-temporary Art.”

DSC_9867What do you feel is the most significant “moment” in the history of design?
Perhaps the invention of the steam engine, which ushered in the Industrial Revolution.

If there was a “turning point” for design – going from utilitarian to aesthetic (and now back to utilitarian!) when would that have been?
I don’t see that there was such a turning point. Design has always been utilitarian and aesthetic unless you want to count postmodernism, which reduced the utilitarian though not completely.

What do you consider the most simple and historically important design (besides the wheel!)?
No single one. Lots of examples, i.e. the can opener.

In terms of the “design-thinking” process, are we hard-wired to think this way or do we have to be taught?
I think humans are made to design since they have to survive, but people have to be taught how and what to design.

What has been the most surprising discovery in your research?
I learned a great deal about design in many parts of the world outside Europe and the United States. Especially Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia. I filled in a lot of gaps in design history up to the end of World War II. Now I am filling in some gaps for the postwar world, but we do know more about that period.

How do you think people view “design” compared to the reality of the full scope and potential of design?
Few people understand design’s full scope. In reality, design is the way we organize life in all its fullness. There are many names for different design functions and a lot of those names obscure the fact that the activities are design. This makes it hard to make connections between them and find common ground among a lot of different activities, i.e. the design of systems. People don’t realize that much of what they do frames the conditions and possibilities for human activity. That’s design.

What does the future of design hold?
Design has a great future and little by little people are discovering that design is possible and desirable outside the market sphere.

City-planning design teams?
By all means. Yes, we need design teams in disaster areas and also in many other areas where human life is chaotic. There are more and more of these. Large numbers of people are moving around – not only refugees, but people moving to cities, which are swelling at a sometimes alarming rate. The differences between wealth and poverty are extreme. You could say that the world is way out of balance and design is needed to balance it.

Photo credit: Tony Smith

An interview with Richard Grefé, the executive director of AIGA, the professional association for design. AIGA is the oldest and largest professional association of designers in the United States, advancing the interests of over 20,000 designers – ranging from type and book designers to new media, experience and service designers. Grefé is speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival this week, where design is grouped with film and art. As he says: “Design does influence popular culture, yet it is also the means for solving social challenges, from ballot design to malaria-defeating sleep netting in Africa.”

ric_grefeHow do you see design’s role in the world at large?
Design has never been more important for a society, a culture and an economy. In an era in which all problems seem to be defined by the complexity of the world in which they occur, the design mind helps to define the unexpected solution, based on the way real people behave and forged with simplicity and authenticity. We live in a world of too much information and too little understanding. Design makes the complex clear.

How do designers navigate our over-stimulated world?
Designers can define communication as an experience, rather than simply a message. For instance, a brand is no longer a logo; it is the brand promise that is associated with an experience, whether from visiting an Apple store or a Starbucks. Even the wording reveals how design is changing experiences: no one would say they are visiting a Maxwell House or a Folgers.

What classifies a successful designer?
Designers are the ones who use creativity, purposefully, to enhance the human experience. Good design extends beyond beautiful or inspiring artifacts. A designer who is truly successful should be able to say her design “moved markets, moved audiences and moved me.”


‘VeggiePatch’ (above) by Jo Szczepanska of Monash University, Australia, is an example of human-centered design that provides a low-impact actionable tool to households, effectively reducing reliance on large scale agriculture.

You have said that design is a critical element of business strategy…
In discussing design in the context of business strategy, each of us must move beyond thinking of design as the visual or physical form of design. When we talk of design in the context of business strategy, we are talking about the design mind and processes for problem solving that may be totally intangible—ways of seeing problems, studying human patterns, proposing alternative solutions, testing them and developing them. Creativity can defeat habit. Habit has created many of our most pernicious problems and constrained growth in the economic realm and in the human experience. The design mind is the means of escaping the patterns of the past.

What is the latest, most thrilling design concept you’ve seen lately?
It is not new, yet there is one concept that thrills me every time I see it. It is a design concept that demonstrates how human-centered design that is high in concept and low in cost can make a huge difference in the human experience—the insecticide impregnated mosquito net (nothing but nets).

How much of your time is spent advancing/implementing design-thinking curricula?
Currently, a high priority at AIGA is to work with leading educators to help them to develop curricula that reflect the challenges and opportunities for design that is strategic, multidisciplinary, multicultural, human-centered and focused on problem solving.

Do you see a new wave of spontaneous design-thinking/innovation groups springing up across the globe to harness ideas for challenged areas?
Yes, I think it is similar to those who are seeking to use networking to stimulate ideas. The Internet and social networking have introduced us to a means for expanding the ideation process of design thinking, triggering observations, ideas and reactions from people widely dispersed. It opens one step in the process, although it still requires a thoughtful designer to synthesize the ideas and channel them into further prototypes and testing. Yet, there is little doubt that having more people involved in the creative process is geometrically more effective than fewer. Since creative solutions cannot be based on existing dogma, there is no way that many minds will not provide a broader range of ideas than any single individual.

How can we re-awaken the design thinker within all of us? And then, where do we take our great ideas?
Design thinking is not a latent or natural skill set. It is a mindset and an understanding of how to approach problems in fresh ways. It will often benefit from those who are trained as designers because they can make our ideas visible; but ideas themselves and the willingness to take risks can be learned. You don’t need to take your ideas somewhere; you need to take your approach to problem solving to problems facing your community, whether it is planning and zoning, education, environmental, or in volunteering to work with other organizations that address problems facing the human experience, whether health, access to water, literacy, crime or aging. If you were to seek a place to bring your ideas, you would not be involved in design thinking, for it would suggest you have an answer looking for a problem, instead of the other way around.

What gives you confidence that the role of “designer” is becoming one of the most important roles to have as we face the plethora of 21st century challenges?
There are a number of dynamics. First, we need to find innovative ways to break through with solutions for the complex problems of the 21st century. Second, both in economics and in social programs, we have discovered that we need to develop solutions that work at the human scale, rather than the macro-economic or national scale. Designers are distinguished by their empathy and understanding for real human patterns. Third, designers are trained to make the complex clear and are regularly solving problems that must respond to many human patterns and stimuli. Fourth, designers have been trained to understand how to minimize the use of scarce resources. And lastly, they are more likely to survive the challenges of the 21st century because they are more fun!