Industrial Design News

Posted on Thursday, August 9, 2012 by Allison Byers

Building a bike is an expensive and time-consuming process, traditionally reserved for devoted hobbyists and the very wealthy. But as cycling gains a stronger foothold in American cities, it’s likely that such skills will become more commonplace in design education programs. Leading the way is Nicholas Riddle, a designer at Easton and the founder of the Urban Mobility Lab at the California College of the Arts.

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Posted on Wednesday, August 8, 2012 by Allison Byers

Industrial design has always been a sexy job, if only in the minds of industrial designers. Then Apple and its sleek, user-friendly consumer electronics became household items and suddenly, industrial design became sexy to a much wider swath of society.

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Posted on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 by Lindsey Westbrook

From Amber Cox's documentation of San Francisco's Financial District

San Francisco and Istanbul: Both built across seven hills, on peninsulas jutting into major bodies of water, where East meets West dramatically and literally-continentally. Their respective situations along major global shipping routes means that they have always been rich in trade, rich in a cosmopolitan diversity of cultures, and rich in ideas: Just as the Bay Area has been a center of forward thinking, from the 1960s Haight-Ashbury counterculture to contemporary entrepreneurial Silicon Valley culture, Turkey -- and especially Istanbul -- is facing the future culturally and politically in its unique position at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and the Arab world.

CCA and Istanbul: East Meets West

CCA has been engaging with Istanbul in many cultural exchanges in recent years. In 2011 Jens Hoffmann, director of the CCA Wattis Institute, co-curated the 12th Istanbul Biennial, which featured numerous CCA alumni and faculty. The Vehbi Koç Foundation of Turkey recently announced its pledge to support one full-time Turkish student each year in CCA's Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice. And in spring 2012, Mariella Poli's CCA course Locality and Global Discourses facilitated an exchange between 16 students at CCA and five students at Istanbul Bilgi University.

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Posted on Thursday, June 28, 2012 by Amanda E. Gross

from Team JuaBar IMPACT 2012 project proposal

Within the next few weeks, the three teams of CCA students who won IMPACT Social Entrepreneurship Awards will be heading to Alaska, Tanzania, and Mexico to attempt innovative social transformations. Bolstered by the support of their $10,000 IMPACT grants and their community partner organizations, the teams -- KVAK TV, JuaBar, and 20/20 FOTO -- will work to empower three different communities to address pressing local concerns. Each team brings together a mix of graduate and undergraduate students from different academic programs.

IMPACT is one of the anchor programs at CCA's Center for Art and Public Life, providing students with opportunities to build relationships for social change. It is about innovation, community, collaboration, and making. It celebrates the entrepreneurial drive of CCA students combined with their desire to create a tangible, positive influence within a specific community.

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Posted on Thursday, June 28, 2012 by Allison Byers

Alongside collections of everyday objects like light-switch covers and felt bags, Rachel Gant’s SF Design Week offerings earlier this month were decidedly in-season. She was showing a series of bags that convert into picnic blankets, and in the store’s window, she put a giant spinning top on display. It was still light out when the evening event started, and I surely wasn’t the only one eying the combo for a final bit of fun before dusk.

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Posted on Thursday, June 21, 2012 by Allison Byers

The designer behind the One Laptop Per Child Project, Yves Behar is truly a world-class designer, balancing aesthetics, function, and socially-based initiatives. Founder and principal designer of FuseProject, he also happens to be the Chair of the Industrial Design Department at San Francisco’s California College of the Arts. Recently, he facilitated a design studio in which Industrial Design students partnered with South Korean cell phone manufacturer Pantech to design new cell-phone models, taking on the future of mobile communications and addressing the idea of emotional networking.

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Posted on Wednesday, May 30, 2012 by Jim Norrena

(l to r) Fashion Design chair Amy Williams, Maybelline representative Gabriel Almodovar, and program manager Pam Zahedani

CCA's sold-out 2012 Annual Fashion Show, a favorite among the numerous commencement-week events held at the college, took place Friday, May 11. The runway presentation, held inside a trademark tent in front of the main building on the San Francisco campus, is the program's capstone event of the year and serves to showcase the innovative thesis collections built by senior Fashion Design students.

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Posted on Thursday, April 19, 2012 by Mitchell Schwarzer

Mitchell Schwarzer gives his introduction at the CCA faculty retreat

On February 4, 2012, the faculty at California College of the Arts gathered at the college's San Francisco campus for a retreat focused on the state of the arts across our many disciplines. In the morning, 25 short presentations offered insights into challenges and opportunities faced by practitioners and thinkers in recent times. The word aired most frequently was crisis: the crisis of the Great Recession; the crisis of Global Climate Change; the crisis of understanding and working within a discipline in our digital age.

Watch the video of all the presentations (91 minutes), shot and edited by Yoni Klein (Photography 2012)

The economic downturn has produced an economic squeeze within most of our disciplines. Art directors, as Alexis Mahrus remarks, have diminished roles in shaping an illustration. Smaller profit margins reduce the flexibility and time given over to experimentation. Branding and celebrity worship take up a larger slice of the creative pie. Some presenters, like Sue Redding of Industrial Design, see no problem in this conflation of art and business and, furthermore, dispute the notion of a crisis. Yet many presenters feel that the economic crisis is not only real but wielding dangerously asymmetrical impacts. Demand remains strong for high-end craft goods and blue-chip fine art. Some small nonprofits are struggling to survive. To Ignacio Valero of Critical Studies, the priority given over to luxury items can be attributed to the ongoing influence of classical economic policies that privilege individual decision making over collective social and natural needs. Likewise, Sandra Vivanco of Diversity Studies notes that economic inequalities have greatly worsened over the past few years, especially in the developing world. Contemporary society is forging a timeless, spaceless way of conducting business, a race for lucrative and short-term gains that concentrates investment more than ever in the hands of a few.

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Posted on Monday, March 12, 2012 by Allison Byers

It may seem incomprehensible to the latest generation, but we used to choose what art schools we'd apply to by looking at printed paper brochures that came in the mail. In an era before social media and the internet, a school's reputation wasn't easy to ascertain, particularly if you lived far away from it; your high school art teacher—who might've been anything from an out-of-work landscaper to a bored housewife—would tell you they heard RISD was good, for instance, and that was about the extent of it.

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Posted on Thursday, December 15, 2011 by Samantha Braman

Delphi Digital Optics, designed by Lucas Ainsworth

What do Delphi Optics (special wilderness goggles that use satellite info to provide specific information about your surroundings), Jungle Walkers (100 percent sustainable cardboard puzzle animals), and the Snowkite (a kite that pulls you across snowy slopes) all have in common? They're all the brainchildren of alumnus Lucas Ainsworth (Industrial Design 2010), and they're all in one way or another expressions of Ainsworth's passion for the outdoors.

Before he came to CCA's Industrial Design Program, Ainsworth studied environmental science at UC Davis. "I always intrinsically loved design, but I was never exposed to it growing up. I thought products were designed by mechanical engineers. Then, during my time at UC Davis I was a whitewater guide in their outdoor program on weekends. The guy who runs the program was a designer at Black Diamond, and he used to tell stories about designing and testing outdoor gear. After graduating and working for a few years, I called him up and asked what it takes to be a designer at Black Diamond. He introduced me to the field of industrial design and said, basically, 'Your only chance is to get into a top-notch design school and rock it.'"

While at CCA, Ainsworth developed and marketed all kinds of products, from toys to high-end electronic devices. It was in Jay Baldwin's Industrial Design 1 class that he conceived the Jungle Walker, an environmentally conscious toy elephant made of cardboard that, when assembled, walks and moves its head with surprising realism.

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