Industrial Design News

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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Posted on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 by Simon Hodgson

Lisa Mishima and Yvonne Mouser turn food into art at Sam's Movie Night

From painter to pastry chef, ceramicist to wine cellar owner, innovative CCA alumni are shaping creative niches across the world of food and drink.

Twenty people stand around a long butcher-block table. The lights above cast a pale glow on its surface, illuminating the ingredients piled in its recessed trough -- lemons, lettuce, flour, eggplants, bell peppers -- without lighting the faces of the diners. They are here for Hands On, a food-making experience in which they use their hands rather than utensils to create a three-course meal.

"Cooking is very much a form of art," says Lisa Mishima (Graphic Design 2005), who concocted Hands On together with her boss, Randall Stowell of the creative production company Autofuss, and friend Yvonne Mouser (Furniture 2006). "Both cooking and art involve concepting, crafting, and presenting a piece. But there is something about consuming one's creation that feels even more personal, immediate, and honest."

Initially, the guests are nervous, even clumsy. Flour falls to the floor. Slowly, the experimental chefs grow more confident. There are giggles around the room, then nods of approval as the dishes take shape. The menu features Caesar salad, handmade pasta with pesto sauce, and tiramisu. Some diners shape vegetables into utensils and use those instead of spoons or spatulas. Maybe there will be a meal at the end of this.

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Posted on Thursday, November 10, 2011 by Allison Byers

During her visit to the Orient, Editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani is selecting young emerging designers. Here’s for you the next generation of Chinese designers.

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Posted on Monday, July 25, 2011 by Simon Hodgson

Trevor Mantkus in his studio

Of all the career paths leading to Detroit's auto industry, you might think majoring in ceramics would be an unlikely route. But Trevor Mantkus (Ceramics 2008) is not your average ceramicist.

When he's not at work at General Motors as an automotive sculptor, he spends his spare time drawing, making paintings on commission, designing tattoos, and customizing a 1978 Corvette Stingray. He also customizes superfast motorbikes -- a YouTube video shows him pulling a (don't try this at home) freeway wheelie on a retooled Suzuki streetfighter with an estimated top speed north of 180 mph. His motorcycle designs have been featured in Hot Bike and Sport Bike magazines.

Shortly after being hired at GM he rushed to sign up for classes in digital modeling. "I wanted to be a candidate to do whatever the company needed. Now I move back and forth between digital and clay. There's benefits to both media. Although, obviously, I was a ceramics major, so I like working with my hands, getting dirty, and seeing something come to life in three dimensions."

The seeds of Mantkus's success were sown at CCA. "I've always been into cars, and in the Ceramics Program, I made a motorcycle. In 2007 my professors Nathan Lynch and Arthur Gonzalez came to me with the application for a summer internship at General Motors. They saw this as a good path for me even before I realized it. I knew cars were sculpted out of clay, but I had no idea what was really involved. Thousands of art students from across the country, mostly industrial and automotive design students, applied for 18 internships, and I got in. It was an amazing opportunity to work, to learn, and also to make contacts. One of the guys I met there had an automotive design degree from the San Francisco Art Institute, another was a digital designer from Howard University. It was one of these contacts I made back in 2007 who tipped me off about GM hiring in 2010. I got this job because of that internship."

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Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

NONOBJECT
The MIT Press, 2010
Hardcover / iPad app, 207 pages, $29.95/$24.99

What happens when we think beyond the object, beyond the business plan, beyond what we think we know about design? In this book that is also an iPad app, coauthors Barry Katz (Industrial Design faculty) and Branko Lukic take us on a tour of the charged spaces between people and the objects they use, the mysteries of this immaterial reality. View a series of explorations of objects from the future, derived from as-yet-undiscovered materials, imagined manufacturing processes, and invented rules. Product design meets philosophy, poetry, and the theater of the imagination.

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