As aspiring designers prepare to graduate in May 2013 from top design schools around the U.S., Interior Design got the insider perspective from students in their final semester - and from notable alumni - at four leading schools: Pratt Institute and Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York, the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in Providence, School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), and California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco.
Posted on Thursday, January 3, 2013 by Allison Byers
Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 by Jim Norrena
With the first semester behind us, we sat down with Veikos to check in and hear firsthand about what she brings to the program and how she plans to use her expertise in her future endeavors.
Posted on Friday, December 14, 2012 by Allison Byers
It’s not uncommon for jewelers to draw inspiration from architecture, but Christopher Baas actually was a modeler of buildings before segueing into jewelry.
As an architecture student at California College of the Arts, he began experimenting with the digital software typically employed to design steel building frameworks, using it to create miniature edifices in the form of sculptural geometric cuffs. He teamed up with CCA interior design student Carleigh Wamberg to found Fathom and Form, and in May the Outer Richmond–based pair introduced their first full collection.
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.
Posted on Tuesday, July 3, 2012 by Lindsey Westbrook
Watching their Carnaval float moving down Mission Street as part of San Francisco's massive annual parade, laden with dancers from the Brazilian troupe Sambaxé, accompanied by the vibrant beats of the Brazilian musical group Blocura and the powerful moves of the Brazilian ABADA Capoeira troupe, TV cameras rolling, people cheering from the sidewalks and the rooftops high above. . . It was a triumphant moment for CCA faculty member Sandra Vivanco and the 15 students in her Body and Spectacle course.
The Carnaval parade was the culmination of a semester of hard work and intensive collaboration -- not only among the CCA students, but also in coordination with a group of high school students enrolled in the Out of Site Youth Arts Center, the city of San Francisco, experts in construction and transportation, and beyond. The CCA course was offered under the auspices of Diversity Studies and attracted a correspondingly wide-ranging bunch, from Architecture and Interior Design to Graphic Design, Illustration, Fashion Design, and Painting/Drawing.
The students designed not only the Carnaval float structure, but also the costumes and props that made its appearance in the parade a real performance rather than just a potential site for one. They had done as much work as they could in the CCA shops, and then transported the pieces to Pier 40, where the city graciously donated space for final assembly.
Posted on Wednesday, May 30, 2012 by Christina Linden
Amy Campos and CCA students at the Dolores Shelter Program
In fall 2011, CCA faculty member Amy Campos and a group of Interior Design students worked with Dolores Shelter Program (DSP) as part of an ENGAGE at CCA course. Their brief: to generate ideas for the renovation of DSP's homeless shelter on South Van Ness in the Mission District of San Francisco.
The facility's residents are in great need of an empowering and supportive sense of place, hope, and safety, and the aspiration was to facilitate this via better space planning and organization, and the creation of more durable and usable furnishings and storage.
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.
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.
Posted on Wednesday, October 12, 2011 by Chris Bliss
Film faculty member Lynn Marie Kirby with students at CAFA
What began in 2008 as a visit by CCA President Stephen Beal to the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing is now blossoming into a productive relationship between the two schools. This fall CCA enrolled six more undergraduate students from CAFA’s International Foundation Course; they join the first four students who began their studies at CCA in fall 2010.
In the first foray into faculty exchanges, David Hisaya Asari (Graphic Design) and Lynn Marie Kirby (Film) spent spring break 2011 at CAFA. An IFC instructor visited CCA in August. And Furniture faculty member Christopher Loomis is in Beijing now teaching for the semester.
What inspired this relationship between the two schools and what are the plans for the future?
Laying the Groundwork
In October 2008 President Beal was invited to participate in a forum on international art education, as part of CAFA's 90th anniversary celebration. He was impressed with the 4,000-student institution and its leaders, many of whom have ties with U.S. institutions. President Pang Gongkai was a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley. Vice President Xu Bing, well-known artist and recipient of the prestigious MacArthur “genius” award, lived and worked in New York for more than 10 years. Dean of Design Min Wang completed his graduate work in design at Yale and worked for more than 20 years in the United States, including a stint at Adobe before forming his own firm in San Francisco.
Posted on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook
Handcrafted Modern: At Home with Mid-Century Designers
Hardcover, 224 pages, $45.00
Volume Inc., of which Eric Heiman (Graphic Design faculty) is a principal, designed this book of newly commissioned photographs by Leslie Williamson. The book is unique in that it presents interiors designed by significant architects and designers for themselves to live in. Many have never been published before. The featured designers include Russel Wright, George Nakashima, Harry Bertoia, Charles and Ray Eames, and Eva Zeisel, among other iconic names. Williamson's photographs show these creative homes as they were inhabited by their creators: Walter Gropius's historic Bauhaus home in Massachusetts; Albert Frey's floating modernist aerie on a Palm Springs rock outcropping; Wharton Esherick's completely handmade (including a hand-carved staircase) Pennsylvania house.
Posted on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook
Model Making (The Architecture Brief Series)
Princeton Architectural Press, 2011
Paperback, 160 pages, $24.95
Megan Werner (Interior Design faculty) is the founder of zDp Models, a San Francisco-based model-making firm. Her client list includes Microsoft, SOM, Renzo Piano, Gensler, IDEO, and Stanford University. Here she presents the nuts and bolts of model making in the latest addition to Princeton Architectural Press's Architecture Briefs series. In 33 "concept blocks" she explores a wide range of possible types, including laser-scored acrylic models, basswood topography models, acid-etched metal blocks, peeled paper blocks, D-print models, cement pour blocks, and many more. Model Making includes handy appendices on materials, tools, tips, and techniques, as well as a glossary of design concepts.