Photos: Allison with her family during a recent trip in Tokyo

Allison Arieff is the editorial director of Spur where she writes about architecture, design, and building smarter cities.  Her insights can be found almost anywhere you look including: The New York Times, California Sunday, the MIT Technology Review, Dialogue and CityLab. She is a former editor-at-large for GOOD and Sunset magazines and Dwell. Allison demonstrates a deep passion for her work which is clear in the her episode of Scratching the Surface.

Who is Allison when she is not writing, recording a podcast or plotting ways to develop smarter cities?

Who is your hero?
My 12-year old daughter who is not only smart and funny and a great artist & writer (I’m totally objective!) but also a competitive rock climber.

Favorite instagram account?
I love keeping up with family members mostly but I’m always impressed with design writer Alice Rawsthorn’s eclectic narratives.

What are you reading for fun right now?
Novels are my weakness: I read at least one  a week. Just re-read City of Thieves (written by David Benioff, pre-Game of Thrones though I don’t watch GOT) while in Berlin for a talk. Other great novels I’ve read this summer include Rachel Kushners’, The Mars Room (her book, The Flamethrowers is an all time fave) and My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh.

Superpower:
I can grow tomatoes in San Francisco.

What is always in your carry on when you travel?
Usually a too-heavy hardcover novel.

Top 3 cultural moments:
The David Bowie Is exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, The International Space Orchestra (NASA’s in-house band!) performing with Beck at PopUp Magazine in San Francisco in 2013; and the crazy amazing Bjork ballet, choreographed by Arthur Pita, at San Francisco Ballet earlier this year, which blew my mind.

Where are 3 places you always go when you host people in your city?
Zuni Cafe for the perfect meal: oysters, martinis, Caesar salad, chicken for 2; Alemany Farmer’s Market, especially in summer when it’s overflowing with stone fruit and tomatoes (plus it’s one of the only places you can actually experience true diversity in S.F. anymore); and Green Apple Books, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary and is just one of the best places anywhere (plus there’s great banh mi sandwiches across the street). Sensing a food theme here…

Favorite musicals?
Hamilton and Sweeney Todd.

How do you spend your last $5 in a foreign country?
Usually on candy at the airport.

Lynette riding horses with her daughter in Central Oregon.

Lynette Xanders is a brand strategist, creative qualitative planner, cultural therapist, and the CEO and Chief Strategist of Wild Alchemy. She is a person so full of inspiration and so willing to share her brilliant insights that #lynetteism is a regular part of the design world’s lexicon. Great ready to see a lot more of her because we are thrilled she will be leading her popular “Brand You” and “Creativity In A Digital Age” workshops at Bend Design 2018.

 

Who is Lynette when she is not traveling the world, hosting workshops and helping brands create “something amazing?”

 

Who is your hero?
Stan Richards (The Richards Group). He epitomizes the confluence of creativity, efficiency and raw brilliance. He absolutely does his own thing and prioritizes kindness and teaching.

 

Quote to live by?
“If you aren’t having fun, you’re doing it wrong” (Groucho Marx)

 

Favorite Instagram account?
My daughter’s. I love to see the world through her eyes (and keep track of what she’s up to 😉

 

Reading for fun?
Adulting by Kelly Williams Brown. Hilarious, real and full of life hacks (my fav).

 

Always in my carry on?
I’m OCD about my packing so I always have the same things in my carry-on but essentials are: lip goo, headphones, paper and pen. I also always carry my passport in case I have to jam (thanks, Ally Sheedy).

 

Favorite pop culture moment from last decade?
I actually had to look this up because I have no sense of time. Heath Ledger’s Joker role in the Dark Knight was epic. Sad, but epic.

 

3 places you always go when you host someone in your city?
‘My city” is hard because I’m nomadic, so here are my hoods:

Central OR:  Metolius spring, Black Butte Ranch deck, Pine Tavern patio, Drake Park, OMD (often in that order).

PDX: view from PDX City Grill (big pink), waterfront park, NW 23rd or Alberta then eat, eat, eat.

Mt Hood: Salmon River trail, Timberline Lodge, tube the Sandy or night ski Skibowl, hit the Spa at the Resort, drink at Mallards then Brightwood Tavern fried chicken.

Could give you MKE and TUC as well, but will leave it here.

 

Favorite musical?
Mamma Mia!  Had me at Abba.

 

Your superpower?
People tell me secrets, willingly. Often out of the blue. Great for my business of finding insights but awkward in a mass transit setting.

 

How do you spend your last $5 in a foreign country?
I just did this. I buy a local magazine – something I’d never get at home – even if it’s not in English. Gives me a flavor of a place and is a non-touristy keepsake.

 

Price is Right or Wheel of Fortune?
Neither – such a drag, I know. I’m a movie hound or now series, but don’t watch regular tv.  Makes me grind my teeth. Although ‘come on down’ is etched in my brain somewhere (but so is Vanna)…part of our dna.

 

What are you most looking forward to doing in Bend in Oct?
I’m stoked for the after party. Tis my favorite part where I get to talk to people and hear what they took away and share cards and conspire to play together.  Around the conference, it’s my favorite time to SUP because everything is calm.

 

Anything else we should know about you?
I’m compelled to fix things – like the dude in Hugo. So if you ask me for any kind of advice, I’m going to write a prescription for you. Be forewarned.  I also love French pop, Rihanna and EDM. Not sure you need to know, but it’s a thing.

@estherloopstraillustration

Esther Loopstra is the creator of colorful, whimsical, beautiful work and her designs bring a smile and perhaps a hint of nostalgia to people everywhere. In addition to creating work for curious consumers, her clients range from Google to Target and Seattle Chocolate.

For the last six years, Esther has taught at Cornish College of the Arts to help new designers develop their skills.  Taking that practice a step further, she expanded her teaching beyond design students to encourage a broader audience to find a creative voice in her aptly named workshop “Finding your Creative Voice.” At Bend Design, Esther will be teaming up with Troy Allen Coleman for their workshop “Play, Creativity and Problem Solving” that will help you crack through any creative barriers.

Look no further than Esther’s blog to see that her imaginative spirit runs deep. That is a good place to start to get to know the artist behind the whimsical work but here are a few more insights into who Esther Loopstra is when she is not teaching or creating:

Who is your hero?
I don’t really have a hero but anyone who creates something new, follows their inner guidance, finds more personal freedom or helps others to find their voice is an inspiration to me.

Quote to live by?
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.” Albert Einstein

Favorite Instagram account?
@designfortoday – posts mid-century design and illustration
@chrispiascik – daily hand lettering
@thegreaterbombay – posts daily views of the patterned ceilings of Bombay cabs

What are you reading for fun right now?
Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde (not 50 shades of grey) a dystopian novel where the rules of society are shaped by people’s ability to see hues on the color spectrum.

What is always in your carry on when you travel?
A swimsuit, but I rarely use it

Where are 3 places you always go when you host people in your city?
Pike Place Market, Gasworks Park, Downtown Library

Your super power?
My Intuition

How do you spend your last $5 in a foreign country?
We just came back from 2 weeks in Canada and spent our last $20 on chocolate bars that we can’t get in the US. No regrets.

Price is Right or Wheel of Fortune?
Wheel

What are you most looking forward to doing in Bend in October?
Meeting people, getting creatively inspired, eating good food and exploring the town.

 

 

Bend Design, along with Civilization and FISK, put together a road trip with a creative twist knowing that sometimes the best way to unlock creative potential is to get away and clear your head.  You could say they are helping you remove any “road blocks” to connecting to your deeper thoughts. The 4-day design road trip will take Seattle and Portland designers to Bend, Oregon for Bend Design and back with design-related events, movies, and conversations along the way.

Bijan Berahimi from FISK will be your creative tour guide on the trip, so we asked him for a few thoughts related to the journey as well as the art of a road trip:

In a nutshell why should someone join the Bend or Bust Road Trip to Bend Design 2018 this October?
We live in a world where things are moving faster and faster, and where we are working in more untraditional ways. We work on the road constantly; in planes, cars, and trains. With a phone or laptop we have access to creating powerful content at a quality level. We’ll utilize all of these aspects of creativity during the road trip. It will be a super unique experience.

What would you tell someone who wants to come but is hesitant to sign up?
Come hang out with us, it’ll be fun.

What is your advice for students considering the trip?
Get your school to pay for it.

How often will the BendDesign road trip bus make stops for design related activities?
We’ll be starting in Seattle, stopping at our studio/gallery FISK in Portland where we’ll have lunch and view the current exhibit. And ending in Bend.

What do I need to bring on the bus to participate?
Your phone, a notebook, and pencil. Your laptop if you want.

Can I snooze on the bus if needed?
I wouldn’t suggest it.

What snacks are a road-trip must?
Water.

You can only play 1 CD on your drive across country. What is it?
I can’t decide on that, thankfully we live in an era of infinite access to all music. Hopefully the bus has a AUX hook-up.

“On road trips I stop at all…”
In N Outs

“Besides the driver, the most essential road trip role is the…”
DJ

Vintage airStream or VW bus?
VW Bus

Best road trip movie ever?
A Goofy Movie (Definitely features a different kind of road trip than the one we’ll be doing)

Your dream road trip companions?
Creative people.

Joshua Berger leading a 2016 Bend Design workshop.

 

Innovative thinkers from a diverse range of disciplines gather at Bend Design every year to explore complex issues. One emerging thread is “design thinking,” a problem-solving approach that helps people from all walks of life—not just designers.

But what is design thinking, really, and how does it work? We sat down with creative director Josh Berger to break it down for us in simple terms. Josh is a founder and principal of Plazm, a design, branding, and content firm that evolved out of the award-winning magazine of the same name. Plazm recently expanded its presence into Central Oregon, and Josh now sits on the programming committee for Bend Design.

 

IN YOUR WORDS, WHAT IS DESIGN THINKING?

Let’s clarify what we mean by “design.” There are many definitions, but at Plazm we think of design as problem solving in a beautiful way. A lot of people think of design as a surface thing, like buying a piece of art to match your sofa. Design is not simply style or beautification. Design is a transformative process bringing form and function together—and transcending them, creating something new.

Good design has more substance. Designers think about all facets of a problem, then solve it in a comprehensive way. There’s a surface level, but everything below it matters. Take your iPhone: it looks good, it feels right in your hand, but if you start to peel it back—what’s inside of it has all been designed as well. And it’s part of a much larger branded universe.

Design thinking is a strategic, process-based approach to problem solving and innovation. We can apply this approach to just about anything. We can design a better city, better schools, better transportation. Whether you’re planning a neighborhood park or developing microbes that eat plastic, you can use design thinking to contribute to a healthier world.

 

I’M NOT A GRAPHIC DESIGNER. CAN I USE DESIGN THINKING?

Yes, everybody can. Design thinking takes the science of design and applies it to problem solving in general. We all solve problems using creativity, something everybody has from the day they’re born.

Design is a process-based discipline. Whether you call it rapid prototyping or something else, design is an iterative activity. Take something like the invention of the light bulb. Thomas Edison had something like a hundred failed attempts before he succeeded. Do you count that hundred as “failures,” or as “process?”

Designers are trained in thinking about process. Another example can be found in business. I will often be approached by a business that has a great idea—they know what they want, and they think they are ready to do it. This skips a crucial step. Design thinking suggests we add a step between “knowing” and “doing.” The middle step is “making”, an iterative process of exploring and testing. This often leads to discoveries and results that wouldn’t otherwise be found. This is design thinking.

 

HOW HAS DESIGN THINKING HELPED YOU IN YOUR WORK AND LIFE?

It forces me to slow down, to truly consider what I am doing in each moment. And it requires me to solve problems in new ways and try new things. There’s a certain level of openness and curiosity required, an embrace of not-knowing. The unknown is a place of discomfort. Being willing to make yourself uncomfortable can lead to innovation and discovery.

 

YOU’VE BEEN PART OF BND DSGN FOR TWO YEARS NOW, SINCE EXPANDING PLAZM TO CENTRAL OREGON. YOU’VE BEEN PART OF OTHER DESIGN FESTIVALS FOR DECADES. WHAT MAKES BND DESIGN UNIQUE? 

What I enjoy about BND DSGN is its intimacy. I’ve been to design conferences with thousands of people and very narrow opportunities to connect directly with leading thinkers. The opposite is true in Bend, where there are multiple opportunities for meaningful connections.

When I think of coming over the Cascades from Portland, driving over—it feels like everything just opens up. There’s more light. There’s broad vistas. That feeling permeates the event, too, that openness and light.

On the Bend or Bust Road Trip, we’ll have a rest stop when we first come to the Deschutes River. My family often stops there. After being on grey city streets and driving through dense, wet forests, it’s a breath of fresh air. There are so many great colors: the deep blue of the water, the bright blue of the sky, the burnt browns and golds of the high desert landscape… contrasting and complementary elements. I get out of my car there and take a breath—I always smile.

——

Joshua Berger is a Creative Director and Partner of Plazm. In Portland in 1991, he co-founded Plazm magazine and went on to run the award-winning creative studio Plazm Design, which now also has a presence in Central Oregon. Josh has won various design awards and his artwork has been shown from The Museum of Sex in New York to the ZGRAF Festival in Zagreb, Croatia.

www.plazm.com
IG: @PlazmMagazine
T: @PlazmMagazine  //  @joshua_berger
FB: www.facebook.com/plazmmagazine/

 

Are today’s innovators solving all the wrong problems? Can we learn from pain? How can a fast-growing city evolve smartly while preserving its character? Will the average business lose its personality before it loses its way? How do design, architecture, sound, and art change the world?

To answer life’s important questions, we need innovative thinkers from all walks of life. Craft brewers. Ranchers. Entrepreneurs. That’s just to start. We’ll also need dog walkers. Librarians. Triathletes. And we’ll need professional creatives—designers, architects, writers, and artists trained in creative problem solving. Some call it Design Thinking: a way to delve deep and come up with elegant solutions we can apply to real life.

You’re invited to listen, learn, and bring your knowledge to the conversation. It all happens at Bend Design 2018. Let’s dive in together, beyond design.

Chris Do is an Emmy award-winning designer, CEO and Chief Strategist of Blind Inc., the founder of The Futur, an educator and advisor.  He has taught Sequential Design for over a decade at the Art Center College of Design but you may have also seen one of his online seminars where he lectures on everything from design thinking to business management.

In October, he will be on the BendDesign Main Stage talking about the art of communication and leading a workshop meant to help attendees “survive and thrive in an incredibly competitive marketplace.” He has made an indelible mark on the design world and now wants to help others do the same.

But who is Chris Do outside of work when he is not teaching, innovating, lifting others up and traveling the world? He answered a few questions for us to break the ice ahead of Bend Design:

 

Chris Do spending time with his son at Comic Con.

Who is your hero?
My dad. He’s a quiet, honest, humble man with very simple needs. He worked and sacrificed his whole life to provide a better life for us.

Quote to live by?
It’s better to regret the things you did than the things that you didn’t do.

Favorite Instagram account?
@tangyauhoong

What are you reading for fun right now?
I am finishing up Dot Com Secrets by Russell Brunson.

What is always in your carry on when you travel?
I carry 3 essential items: passport, iPhone and chewing gum. But I also like to have a pocket-sized notebook and pen to jot loose ideas.

Favorite pop culture moment from the last decade?
Marvel comics coming to the big screen.

Where are 3 places you always go when you host people in your city?
Tender Greens (something clean to eat), Venice Beach (soak up So. Cal people and culture), and the Getty Museum (skip the art and check out the architecture and landscaping).

Favorite musical?
Dancer in the Dark w/ Bjork.

Your super power?
Ability to spot patterns and break down complex things.

How do you spend your last $5 in a foreign country?
Internet cafe to send a message for someone to come get me home.

Price is Right or Wheel of Fortune?
Price is Right. I love the variety and simplicity of the game.

What are you most looking forward to doing in Bend in Oct?
Meeting people and hearing their challenges and learning about their stories.

Anything else we should know about you?
I’m an optimist. I believe that anything is possible and that are best days are ahead of us.

 

A Chat With Ryan Summers:

We can safely assume that Ryan Summers is never bored. His work in motion graphics – whether he is hands-on in the thick of it, directing a team, or mentoring young upstarts through their projects – signifies an unparalleled passion for the industry. Summers pushes himself professionally and personally, putting himself into uncomfortable situations in order to stretch his wings. Unafraid of failure, Ryan Summers boldly plows forward into new territory from testing new software for projects, to trying new techniques or approaches to solving a problem, to public speaking. He put himself into an entirely new environment when he shared his thoughts on “An Artist’s Guide to the Scientific Method” with the Bend Design Conference last October.

Ryan carved out some time to share some of his background, mentoring projects, and the importance of communication skills with Shelley Anderson.

SA: You studied chemical engineering and later character animation in school – are there some cross-over skills that carry over from chemical engineering into motion graphics?

RS: This is part of what I wanted to convey at BDC – how the skills I learned in studying for a career in science sit right under the surface of my day-to-day life as a working artist. It was a surprise when I realized it (it happened during an interview for an industry podcast!) but it was really eye-opening to see how much of my time in science is still present as an artist. The way I approach problem-solving, the never-ending desire to research disparate sources and find (or manufacture) connections between things no one else sees, the ability to be able to see from 10,000 miles above as well as a very narrow microscopic view; they all stem from my training for chemical engineering.

SA: What prompted your move back to Chicago, was it the opportunity to be creative director for Digital Kitchen or the thought of “coming back” to Chicago from L.A. or a combination of both?

RS: Can I say it was the Cubs winning the World Series? Hah.

More seriously, I always wanted to come back to Chicago – but I needed to go to LA for the experiences I was craving but couldn’t find here. My creative goals have always been to get in the room with the most talented people possible, and they were all in LA. Film directors, animators at Disney, VFX artists at post-houses. The plan was always to soak it all up and bring as much back to CHI as I could.

SA: Do you find as a creative director for Digital Kitchen, that your access to time for organic creativity and hands-on drawing time is more limited? Are you getting more or less time to work on passion projects?

RS: I pride myself in being able to conjure up time where there is none. Sometimes that means being predictive in a client’s needs (research), being smarter with what we design and how we execute (study), and other times it means putting in the extra hours when others wouldn’t.

I consider all three of those byproducts of studying science; they aren’t things you commonly find amongst artists.

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Though we haven’t figured out a way to bottle the inspiration gathered at last year’s BND DSGN CON, we do hope to stoke the creative fire inside of our community with an update from our incredible 2017 speakers. Today we have notes from three wonderful creators on what is inspiring them at the moment.  Let’s hear from Lynette Xanders, Kawandeep Virdee and Angela Luna!

First up, Lynette Xanders, CEO and Chief Strategist of Wild Alchemy.  What are you excited about this year?

“I am excited to travel to various places across the US to speak at events. I am enjoying training and workshops around efficiency optimization for local clients and national agencies. Tis’ a year of sharing wisdoms while I try to wrap up my new books – wish me luck! I’d love to get them out by the fall.”

Lynette travels to roughly 25 speaking engagements, events, retreats and conferences on an annual basis so needless to say she is a true road warrior. And luckily, one of her inspirations is travel and connecting with her clients!

“I made peace with travel and being nomadic a long time ago. I like the forced simplicity of living in a suitcase and productive work time (I work well on planes because I’m strapped to my seat and people bring me food and wine). My family misses me. We play hard when I’m home. I love the flexibility of it and sometimes I get to bring my husband which invites a boondoggle (which is always good). I find traveling for speaking to be easier/more fun than work travel because I don’t have clients to babysit (you know I still love you people) and there aren’t as many variables. I know my stuff. And I enjoy the hell out of it. I actually do it because it feeds me energetically (hopefully soon physically).”

And once she is at a destination she gets to experience the true joy of connecting with innovative people and ideas.

“I love to see faces light up and people start to nod (in shared knowing, not nod off)…I find people tell me that I’m reminding them of things they know inherently to be true but hadn’t thought about in awhile or thought about that way before so I don’t get a lot of crossed arms or eyebrows or blue lights. I love the people who come up at the end or email me later to tell me what nugget got them re-ignited. I love the enthusiasm, hope, inspiration, drive and creativity that you can smell on someone who’s become unlocked. Get a few of those in a room at one time and it’ll make your day.”

If you want more from Lynette Xanders – and frankly, who doesn’t – check out her “isms” on her site.

Next up, Kawandeep Virdee, the creative technologist behind Whichlight. What is he inspired by right now? It actually has nothing to do with work and everything to do with focusing on….nothing:

“I am developing a practice of things that are not directly creatively or vocationally productive, but essential for my personal growth. Basically valuing things that otherwise may be overlooked in a world that maximizes productivity and consumption. I am sitting down for an hour each day to close my eyes and do nothing. What’s compelling to me is rather than having a goal to do this, it is the resolve to keep doing it.”

You can join Kawandeep on his journey within and give this a try for yourself. He periodically does his hour of powering down online so make sure to follow his social channels: instagram, twitter and github.  

Last but not least, Angela Luna, Founder and CEO of ADIFF.  What is she thinking about this year? New products, a new city and a very important cause:

“First and foremost, OUR TENT JACKETS ARE FINALLY IN STOCK!!! Getting these jackets made has been a LONG time coming, with over a year of development. Our customers and supporters have been patiently waiting for the release of the jacket and we are thrilled with the final result. We will have the jackets in house at the end of March and will ship out mid April.

I’m super excited about some new designs I’m creating that challenge our conception and use practices of outerwear and hopefully offer new solutions for better, more practical, and more sustainable methods of dressing. We’re looking to roll these out sometime later this year, so please stay tuned and follow our progress on social media.

I’m excited to be kicking off the year as an official LA resident! We’re now just dropping our road trip video that shows our journey across the U.S.: who we met, what we had to deal with, and how it actually was to sleep out in our tent jackets for several days straight. I’m happy to finally be able to share this story and all the lessons we learned.

And finally, [Shameless activism plug – what kind of an activist would I be if I didn’t take this as an opportunity to discuss an important issue!] This year I’m also following all of the push back to gun violence in America. I’m hoping to see progress for 2018 and am rooting for and supporting the students from Parkland. I’m inspired to see this generation’s dedication and persistence, and hope that they can accomplish what many couldn’t for so long. Change is brewing for 2018!”

Follow Angela Luna’s work at ADIFF on Twitter and Facebook.  And stay tuned for more updates on past speakers in the coming months!

Hard to believe, but I’ve now known Rebeca for nearly twenty years. Back in 1998, we asked her to design a cover for Plazm magazine. That was issue #19. We printed a series of postcards with her work to promote the issue, and she contributed a piece to the 1999 Plazm on Video VHS magazine. I recently had the opportunity to speak with her in advance of her upcoming participation at Bend Design.

Méndez is an artist, designer, and professor at UCLA, Design Media Arts, where she is director of the CounterForce Lab, a research and fieldwork studio dedicated to using art and design to develop creative collaborations, research, and projects around the social and ecological impacts of anthropocene climate change. Her research and practice investigates design and media art in public space, critical approaches to public identities and landscape, and artistic projects based on field investigation methods. Méndez’s art is driven by her interest in perception and embodied experience. This year Rebeca was awarded the AIGA medal and inducted into the One Club Hall of Fame.

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Lynda Decker understands the creative person. She knows that creative people are able to see connections that others do not. Lynda also understands her clients, allowing for their insight, while guiding them through the design process, while setting realistic expectations. Her concept of Responsive Branding prepares clients to be pro-actively preparing for market shifts rather than making reactive, knee-jerk decisions.As president and creative director of Decker Design, Lynda is a leader in brand strategy, not just because of her wealth of experience, but due to her understanding of the changing media landscape. Decker Design educates clients on the importance of being agile and ready with new cross-platform solutions while still connecting the brand to core values and culture. She helps clients navigate the landscape of the current hyper-media environment and is keenly aware that the traditional approach to branding no longer applies.

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Bend Design Speaker, Lynette Xanders, returns to Bend Design in 2017 with two sold-out workshops.

Lynette is CEO and Chief Strategist of Wild Alchemy, an insight-based brand strategy, creative development and cultural momentum company. We help companies optimize their branding and marketing efforts to enable them to create something amazing℠.

René Mitchell, Bend Design Co-Producer, caught up with Lynette and talked shop and explored what does not keep her up at night.

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Should you attend Bend Design this year? HELI-YES.

Because you could win a private, 1-hour CASCADE MTN. RING OF FIRE HELI-TOUR for three adventure seekers, with pilot, with or without (!!) doors courtesy of our good friends at Big Mountain Heli Tours.

HOW TO ENTER:

Buy a ScaleHouse membership (at the $100 Connector level) + Bend Design 2017 pass (at member pricing, of course), and your name goes in the hat.

Lucky winner to be announced at Bend Design wrap party. This is an $749 value and it’s good for one year, but we recommend going in the fall or spring.

 

(Okay, actually, it’s a Sprinter Van.)

Hey Portland!
(And people who know people in Portland!)

If you’ve been thinking about coming over for Bend Design this October 26+27, and the only thing stopping you is an 11,000′ volcano, have we got a deal for you.

1. Transportation
Get comfy in a Sprinter Van with 13 new best friends (or put your headphones on, we get it) on the scenic drive from Portland to Bend October 25, and back to Portland October 28.

2. Accommodations
Rise and shine with complimentary breakfast and three nights at the Doubletree by Hilton in downtown Bend, just steps from approximately one bajillion coffee shops and brewpubs.

3. Libations
Speaking of brewpubs, we’re throwing in a $25 gift card to 10 Barrel Brewing, good at their original Galveston brewpub or their shiny new pub off Empire.

4. Conference pass
Walk to all Bend Design venues wearing your fancy Full Access Pass.

Now in its third year, Bend Design features two packed days of talks, interactive workshops, and hands-on exhibits, with innovators from all over—designed to energize and embolden all of us to improve the quality of life in our communities through creative thinking and action.

Book your PDX-to-Bend-Design Package
$740
A $970 value
Limit 14 seats!

When we (as part of a privileged class) are confronted with seemingly unsolvable problems like regional hunger, outbreaks of infectious disease, lack of access to clean water, or a mass exodus of refugees from one country to another, it’s easy to ignore the problems because they are “over there.” It’s easy to get overwhelmed and think a problem is just too big, what could I do? Not Angela Luna. She looks at a seemingly hopeless problem and identifies design solutions to help alleviate some of the issues at the very heart of the problem.

Angela Luna is the Founder and CEO of ADIFF, a startup that uses the fashion industry as a vehicle and offers innovative design solutions to address a number of global issues. Can solutions to big problems be fashionable? Yes, they can! Angela Luna talks about her inspiration for several of her design solutions.

Noelle Fredland had an opportunity to ask Angela about the important work she is doing, and why she continues to stare-down global issues, offering solutions.

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On some level, we know when a space just “feels right.” Sometimes, we can attribute that “unsettled” feeling to a poorly designed space, but maybe we can’t quite put a finger on it, something is just not quite right. John Cary is acutely aware of a space when it has not been designed in service to the people that use the space. Not only is he interested in architecture and human-centric design, but also the culture of the architectural profession as a discipline in service to the public good.

An architect by trade, John became involved with the pro-bono movement early in his career. He wanted to explore the ways in which architecture can provide real solutions to social issues. His explorations eventually were compiled into a book: The Power of Pro Bono: 40 Stories about Design for the Public Good.

Paul Kim interviews Bend Design 2017 speaker, John Cary, as he shares his thoughts on architecture, social sustainability, and human-centered architectural design.

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Sam Stubblefield creates art and “situations” where sight intersects with sound, where architecture meets interactive space. From digital installations to immersive full-sensory experiences, art critics of decades past may have described his work as “avant-garde.” Today, we seem to lack the adequate vocabulary to describe his work – you simply need to experience it for yourself. As a speaker for Bend Design in 2015, Sam challenged and inspired the audience. This year you get a glimpse into Sam’s world when Stubblefield returns to Bend Design, showcasing his recent work from the Venice Biennale, at the Bend Design Hub (located at the Liberty Theater).

As an interesting side note, Stubblefield also invites the public into the Art vs. Not Art discussion, by issuing stickers upon request to anyone who wants to participate – inviting “votes” on anything visual and public.

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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.

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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.

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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

Questions?

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…

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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
(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

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.”

veggie_patch

‘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!