Sustainability News

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 Wednesday, April 18, 2012 by Allison Byers

And now for something completely different: a San Francisco pier that harvests fog and uses its moisture to grow vegetables and raise fish.

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Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 by Allison Byers

Anna Wintour was right: Geeks can be chic. Bone up on the startling facts beneath the fashion industry's glitzy facade with our recommended reading list. From illustrated compendiums of emerging ethical designers to erudite theses on design as a catalyst for change, here are 13 volumes worth hoarding.

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Posted on Thursday, April 5, 2012 by Allison Byers

WHEN you are a practicing alchemist, as Sasha Duerr is, strangers will often ask you to demonstrate your powers by heating up a caldron in the yard. It’s a living, and Ms. Duerr is usually happy to give it a try. On a recent Monday afternoon, she had arranged to spark up three propane camp stoves and scavenge a few things to boil.

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Posted on Monday, April 2, 2012 by Allison Byers

In a new twist on sustainable fashion, designers aren't just embracing new fabrics made from organic cotton, hemp or bamboo, they're pawing through piles of clothing waste, crafting high-fashion, hand-made items from old cashmere sweaters, T- shirts and other castoffs.

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Posted on Thursday, March 15, 2012 by Allison Byers

As we searched for the right image to feature on this month’s cover—something timely, and unusually provocative, smart, and beautiful—we realized that all our descriptors still apply, but that “beauty” has become an elusive ideal. Design’s expressions—product design in this case, but we may as well be talking about design at every scale—have become more complex than the foreground objects we celebrated in the last century.

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Posted on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 by Jim Norrena

2nd Alumination Table, 36" (h) x 23" (w) x 23" (d); cherry, aluminum, glass, 2011 (in the collection of Simon Blatner)View slideshow 

Posted at Core77.com February 14, 2012: "We like San Francisco-based furniture designer Andrew Perkins's take on sustainability: 'Sustainable design is foremost about the quality and emotional longevity of the object,' he writes. '[I know] that if the idea isn't present then the object will not persist.'"

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Who Is Furniture Alumnus Andrew Perkins?

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Posted on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 by Allison Byers

On a tiny, windswept island off the San Mateo County coast, a team of scientists and art designers has engineered a creative solution to give mating seabirds a boost: ceramic "love shacks."
These handcrafted underground nests are one piece of the Año Nuevo Island Restoration Project, a unique collaboration between scientists and artists that hopes to reverse some of the human damage done to the island since the 1800s.

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Posted on Thursday, January 19, 2012 by Jim Norrena

Sustainable materials and design processes are weaved into the Fashion Design curriculum. [photo: Jim Norrena]

Source4Style, an online marketplace for trendsetting designers who seek cutting-edge materials for their design needs, called out CCA's Fashion Design Program as an innovative leader in the sustainability movement, ranking the college's design program fourth in its "Top 10 Sustainable Design Universities" December post!

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Posted on Tuesday, January 17, 2012 by Allison Byers

CAREERS AND EDUCATION: Innovative degree programs for Bay Area changemakers
According to the Princeton Review, that bicep-straining tome of college rankings responsible for many a young adult's breakdown, most of the perennially popular majors (psychology, economics, communications, political science) are still alive and kicking. But plenty of alternative, even radical fields of study are blossoming that meld academic inquiry with tangible work towards change.

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