Featured News

Posted on Tuesday, March 18, 2008 by Sarah Owens

Joanna Paull, Interior Design

Interior design student Joanna Paull is the recipient of the IIDA Northern California Chapter's 2007–08 Student Scholarship. The $7,500 scholarship was awarded to the student who best responded to the theme "cultural authenticity," a topic chosen by current IIDA Chapter Honor Award recipient Steven McCollom of Gary Lee Partners. The competition is open to all final-year students who are enrolled in Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA)-approved interior design programs.

Titled Build It Green, Joanna's entry was a multipurpose project located at California and Van Ness streets. It featured offices, classrooms, a library, café, lecture hall, and housing. The project was originally a CCA studio assignment.

Judge Steven McCollom explained why he selected Joanna, saying not only that the presentation itself was "well executed" and "visually appealing," but also that "the jury got the distinct impression that the designer inherently understood the issue of homelessness and its impact on society—and created a design solution that served the homeless population, as well as the surrounding neighborhood and the city of San Francisco."

Joanna would like to stay in the Bay Area after graduating and join a firm that "fosters the enrichment of individuals, site, and community—whether that is office design, retail, civic projects, or larger housing projects."

Posted on Thursday, March 6, 2008 by Brenda Tucker

CCA is one of just four design schools that have been selected to exhibit student work at the 2008 International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York in May. ICFF is one of the most prestigious design events in the world and the premier showcase for contemporary design in North America. Each year ICFF invites the world's leading design schools to participate in a competition juried by industry leaders. This year's other winners are Savannah College of Art and Design, the School of Visual Arts, and Yale University.

Both the Furniture and Industrial Design programs will be represented at the booth. The Furniture project represents the outcomes of the Bevara Design House / Walmart.com sponsored studio that was run by faculty member Oblio Jenkins in the fall 2007 semester. That interdisciplinary furniture studio addressed a "sustainable design for mass production" theme. After researching the complex issues associated with sustainability and the wide range of locally available production technologies, students worked with Bevara Design House and Wal-Mart to develop those designs with market potential.

CCA's Industrial Design Program coordinated two projects which will also be featured at the booth: Glass+, a collaboration with the Glass Program, and the Kitchen Sink, a joint effort with the Ceramics Program. The students worked individually and in teams to design and develop a wide range of products for the home, from cocktail sets to kitchen sinks, using real-world production techniques such as blow-molded glass and slip-cast ceramics.

For more information please visit ICFF's website at www.icff.com.

Posted on Friday, February 29, 2008 by Sarah Owens

Technology never tasted so good

Industrial Design Program senior Noah Balmer tied for second place in the 2008 International Housewares Association student design competition. Noah will receive a $1,800 cash prize, as well as an all-expenses-paid trip to Chicago, where he will present his winning design, KitchenSync, at the 2008 International Home and Housewares Show.

The show is expected to attract 60,000 visitors from more than 100 countries all focused on buying and selling the latest products at the world's largest home-goods marketplace.

KitchenSync is a durable, hand-washable, portable wi-fi device that allows the user to look up recipes via a touch screen, thereby eliminating the risk of having a computer in the kitchen, as well as preventing the loss of smudged recipes printed in water-soluble ink. Slim and easy to use, the waterproof, book-shaped device ships with a stationary dock that it magnetically attaches to and through which it charges via induction. KitchenSync can remain in its dock or placed on a counter or even kept in one's hand.

Noah attended Lewis and Clark College, then transferred to California College of the Arts to pursue his design career. Regarding his choice to attend CCA, he explains it was because of its "great teachers, future thinking, and emphasis on sustainability."

In 2006 Noah also won an International Housewares award for his design of a kitchen scale manufactured with zinc. Studying industrial design is a natural progression for Noah, who has sculpted and created objects since childhood. He believes industrial design is "psychology of form," or the study of how "a person chooses a simple, sleek object over a complex mechanical one."

Noah will further advance his design career as an intern with designer Karim Rashid in the spring.

Additional press coverage available at the International Housewares Association website.

Posted on Friday, February 29, 2008 by Brenda Tucker

Ryan Duke of CCA's Industrial Design Program presents to Gucci

PPR French worldwide group is sponsoring a series of design studios at California College of the Arts (CCA) during the 2007–8 academic year. Students in CCA's Architecture, Industrial Design, and Graduate Design programs are examining a variety of design issues while working with representatives from three PPR brands: Gucci, Puma, and Redcats.

"We are delighted to be working with PPR," stated Stephen Beal, provost of CCA. "This partnership enriches our design curriculum considerably and provides our students with unique opportunities to interact with top international professionals."

Sponsored studio courses at CCA give students the prospect of conceptualizing design within the context of a particular brand. They also give the retail, manufacturing, and design industries access to the fresh perspectives of next-generation designers. Other recent sponsored studio collaborations at CCA have included a sustainability studio with the international design firm IDEO and a pet product studio with the Turkish design firm Gaia&Gino.

About PPR
PPR develops a portfolio of high-growth global brands. Through its general consumer brands and luxury brands, PPR generated sales of EUR 19.8 billion in 2007. The group is present in 90 countries with approximately 93,000 employees. PPR brands include Fnac, Redcats Group (La Redoute, Vertbaudet, Somewhere, Cyrillus, Daxon, Ellos, The Sportsman's Guide, The Golf Warehouse and brands of the plus-size division), Conforama, CFAO, Puma, and the luxury brands of Gucci Group (Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Yves Saint Laurent, YSL Beauté, Balenciaga, Boucheron, Sergio Rossi, Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney). Explore the universe of PPR brands at www.ppr.com.

Founded in 1907, CCA offers studies in 20 undergraduate and eight graduate majors in the areas of architecture, business, curatorial practice, design, film, fine arts, and writing. The college offers bachelor of architecture, bachelor of arts, bachelor of fine arts, master of architecture, master of arts, master of business administration, and master of fine arts degrees.

Posted on Friday, February 22, 2008 by Jim Norrena

On Wednesday, February 20, Bay Area news broadcaster ABC-7 (KGO) featured California College of the Arts as a contributing influence to a growing trend among local artists—creating art that reflects ecologically responsible, sustainable practices.

The broadcast segment, "The Bay Area Gives Birth to New Renaissance," is posted on its website at ABCNews7.com. Local artists and professionals who embrace eco-friendly awareness discuss why this issue is relevant to today's art buyers.

According to Kim Anno, a featured CCA faculty member: "They want to see how art and design can give a glimpse of what's happening and straddle contradictions in a way that science couldn't. They want to be part of, I think, a movement of change, that provides a kind of tipping point for our culture."

Sustainability awareness is a critical component of a well-rounded curriculum for preparing students as innovators of the future. CCA offers such a focus on sustainability throughout its various design programs (industrial design, architecture, fashion, and others).

The Summer Institute in Sustainable Design (June 15–27), a two-week, hands-on opportunity that includes fieldwork and in-class lectures with instructors and innovators in sustainable design, illustrates CCA's applaudable commitment to incorporate green into its curricula.

To learn more about the Summer Institute in Sustainable Design, visit the newly launched website at www.cca.edu/sustainable.

Posted on Monday, February 4, 2008 by Sarah Owens

The History Channel's "City of the Future" Competition

Faculty members of California College of the Arts Architecture Program shared their visions of what San Francisco might look like 100 years from now in a nationwide "City of the Future" design competition. CCA faculty were involved in five of the eight teams, with IwamotoScott, a firm co-owned by CCA associate professor Craig Scott, placing first.

Also, Pfau Architecture, owned by CCA adjunct professor Peter Pfau, received the IBM Innovation and Technology award, as well as an honorable mention.

The "City of the Future" competition is sponsored by The History Channel, IBM, and Infiniti with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) as partners. The annual competition takes place in three U.S. cities. This year featured Washington, DC, San Francisco, and Atlanta. Each city has eight design firms that compete regionally for a $10,000 first prize, including the chance to advance to the national level of the competition (decided by online vote). Successful teams were invited to participate following an initial competition jury's selection of their design portfolios.

While several of the firms were robust enough to handle the extra workload the competition created, intensified by its one-week time limit, others recruited additional assistance from CCA students. The pressure accelerated as the teams had only three hours to assemble their 3D models and set up their public presentations at the San Francisco Ferry Building. The event was filmed for The History Channel.

The featured design work, including last year's competition that included New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, will likely be presented in a forthcoming book supported by the event's sponsors.

Honorable mention recipient and CCA adjunct professor Peter Pfau found this a refreshing experience to step back from routine architectural design and explore the future of San Francisco's makeup was refreshing: "Speculating on the possible future allowed us to leave behind our usual world of complex approvals processes, codes issues and tight budgets . . . and focus on broader thinking about the city."

The competition had a few stipulations that required competitors take into account such issues as infrastructure, transportation, commerce, housing, security, and the environment. CCA's newly appointed Chair of Architecture, Ila Berman, says, "The proposals were innovative, provocative, and extremely compelling, allowing us to imagine the future of San Francisco at the juncture of ecology, technology, and urbanism."

IwamotoScott united ecology, technology, and urbanism in its winning design that addressed the problems of the whole, with a specific focus on water and energy collection and distribution. IwanmotoScott's vision of the future presents a new nano-tube system, called "HYDRO-NET," featuring an underground network for hydrogen-powered cars, energy-producing algae ponds, and fog harvesters. Iwanmotoscott co-owner and CCA professor Craig Scott explains: "At key waterfront and neighborhood locales, HYDRO-NET emerges to form linkages between the terrestrial and subterranean worlds.

The eight San Francisco entries will be on display at CCA San Francisco campus February 4–15, 2008. An opening reception and panel discussion is scheduled for Wednesday, February 6 from 7–9:30 p.m.

The work of the competing teams and competition winners will be on view on the History Channel's website on February 4, 2008. The national-level competition will be decided online later in February.

To vote in the national competition visit The History Channel's website.

Posted on Wednesday, January 16, 2008 by Kim Lessard

CCA fashion student Cydney Morris gets in touch with a module of seed cottton

Cotton, a natural fiber, brings to mind images of whiteness, cleanliness, crisp bed sheets, sterile puffs in a clear glass jar. But it is actually one of the most toxic crops grown in the United States.

Every year, Fashion Design faculty member Lynda Grose travels with the Sustainable Cotton Project (SCP) farm tour, taking several CCA students and as well as several professionals through California's San Joaquin Valley to expose them to the big-picture questions surrounding cotton cultivation and to help them connect these issues to their individual practices. This last October the tour was also attended by a member of the Environmental Protection Agency and representatives from Gap, Horny Toad, and the local San Francisco company Blue Marlin. Grose, a pioneer in the sustainable fashion movement, is a consultant for the SCP and devotes much of her time to advocacy and outreach, convincing clothing manufacturers to use more sustainable and locally grown cotton in their products.

The first stop was an organic cotton farm—one of only two in the entire state—in the small town of Firebaugh. After a short presentation on alternative pest management, each participant received a small muslin bag of ladybugs. Minutes later they were waist-deep in a field of cotton blooms, unleashing their bags of natural aphid predators.

Despite its obvious earth-friendly appeal, making the transition to organic growing is economically difficult for many American cotton farmers. They have to compete with growers in China and India, where the hand labor to weed and check for bug infestations is much cheaper, and pesticides are so expensive that they have never come to be relied upon to the degree they are here. The SCP helps these farmers convert to biological farming methods and significantly decrease their use of chemicals, which has great environmental benefits (in 2006, almost six million pounds of chemicals were applied to cotton in California) as well as health benefits (the San Joaquin Valley has the third-highest rate of asthma in the nation as well as disproportionate cancer rates, largely due to all of the farming chemicals).

Some SCP farmers are experimenting with varieties of colored cotton. In the United States these are rare, highly regulated crops that must be cultivated far away from fields of white cotton to avoid contamination (students were warned, even, not to take any samples with them for fear they would accidentally disperse the seeds). Right now the fibers of the colored cotton do not grow as long as those of the white, but the benefits of experimenting to perfect them could eventually be significant, since they eliminate one of the most impactful steps in the textile manufacturing process: dyeing. Grose utilized them in some of her early-1990s Ecollection designs for Esprit.

At another farm, a harvest was under way. While the farmer explained what was happening, massive harvesting machines moved through the field, pouring and compressing the crop into freight-car-size blocks called modules. Individual workers moved among the machines, shoveling up stray clumps that resembled fluffy snowdrifts. In a distant field, a crop-duster airplane dipped and released a dramatic plume of pesticides in what seemed like the final gesture of a grand, synchronized performance.

After lunch the tour concluded with a visit to a local cotton gin. Amid the deafening roar of the machinery, the group walked through wall-to-wall stacks of 500-pound cotton bales. Each bale can produce 750 men's dress shirts, 240 women's dresses, 215 pairs of jeans, 4,321 socks, 690 bath towels, 230 bedsheets, 1,256 pillowcases, or 313,500 dollar bills.

Crystal Titus, one of the students on the tour, was awed by scale of it all: "Some of this information I knew already, but actually seeing how large an acre or a bale is, right there in front of you, is eye-opening. It's important to understand how and where the materials you're using come from, whether it's fabric, wood, or technology. That knowledge can only benefit you and your practice."

Finding truly sustainable solutions for the fashion industry requires a holistic understanding of everything from the economics of raw commodities such as cotton to the cultural values of consumers.

"Understanding end-user behavior and emotions is key," says Grose, who focuses not just on organic growing methods but the entire life cycle of the fashion industry. "Buying vintage is one of the most sustainable things a person can do, even more than dropping off their used clothes at thrift stores, since that doesn't change the way our culture manufactures clothes or our attitudes about consuming them. Buying vintage is a cyclical process, with a single garment used over and over. We hope to inspire students to research all kinds of new ideas for products and businesses that are cyclical rather than linear—that have the potential to influence our culture of consumption, from the fashion industry to prevailing business models and the cultural needs and wants of end consumers."

Titus agrees: "The apparel industry is so focused on being new and exciting and ever-changing because people get bored with their clothes easily. I can understand that. But clothing can be reused, and people need to open themselves up to bearing some of the responsibility for recycling fabric waste. The mindset of both the industry and the consumer is at odds with sustainability, and that has to change."

The 2007 Sustainable Cotton Project Farm Tour was made possible in part by the California Initiative, a program generously funded by a CCA trustee who wishes to remain anonymous. Grose received a grant for her class that allowed CCA to cosponsor this year's tour with the Gap and provided funding for students to make the trip.

Posted on Thursday, November 29, 2007 by Kim Lessard

Boat ride, West Lake, Hangzhou

CCA's first study-abroad program in China took place in summer 2007, with an interdisciplinary group of 13 undergraduate and grad students led by faculty member Pauline Yao and the Beijing-based independent curator and critic Carol Yinghua Lu. Yao and Lu's insider knowledge of cutting-edge artists and architects working in China enabled the students to get an intimate look at the dynamic, thriving art scene in Shanghai, Beijing, and beyond.

During the three-week program, the group attended morning lectures by a wide array of artists, curators, designers, and architects working at the forefront of their respective fields. In the afternoons they visited museums, galleries, studios, and architectural sites.

"We also gave the students individual field assignments in Beijing and Shanghai," said Yao. "The end results were quite successful despite some initial fears with going out alone in such a large and unfamiliar place."

The group was granted special entree into private openings at art spaces both mainstream and off the beaten path. They attended screenings of student films and viewed new-media installation work at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, and they visited an NGO (nongovernmental organization) working on architectural preservation in Beijing. They also, of course, made time for the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and other major attractions.

"One of my favorite experiences," says MFA student Danielle Colen, "was seeing Pauline Yao perform in a conceptual art band called the Contractors at Borderline Festival for Moving Images in Beijing. They used music and images to describe the close relationship in China between the art market and real estate and consumerism. It was amazing having teachers who knew Beijing so well and were so involved with local artists and curators and could help educate us about the cultural and political issues operating both in the art world and outside of it."

One of the students' most exciting encounters with the new Chinese architecture was made possible through Yao's connection with the office of the prominent architect Steven Holl. They got an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the construction site of the Grand MOMA housing complex in Beijing, one of the few such projects being designed and built inside and out—interior design as well as exterior and construction—by an American architectural firm (most major foreign building projects in China are commercial real estate or Olympic venues).

Says Peter Hyer, an Architecture student: "With more than 80 percent of all the building in the world taking place in China, there is no place more volatile and exciting in architecture. The sheer volume of construction is both exciting and terrifying. The cities of the 21st century are being formed now; they operate on a different scale and under different rules."

Other summer 2007 CCA study-abroad programs took students to Amsterdam, Argentina, Italy, Mexico, and Switzerland. "Study abroad is incredibly important and I highly recommend it," Hyer continues. "As artists, designers, and practitioners we aim to engage the larger world through our work. Since we can never be truly free of our own cultural, social, economic, and physical perspective, it makes this kind of interaction even more valuable and productive."

For more photos and commentary on the 2007 Art & Culture in China course, visit Pauline Yao's photo album and Kristin Murtagh's blog.

For information about studying abroad in summer 2008 or to inquire about CCA's semester study-abroad options, contact the Office of Special Programs at 510.594.3710 or visit www.cca.edu/academics/abroad.

Posted on Thursday, November 15, 2007 by Sarah Owens

Micah Landworth, Lab Coat, 2007

Lab coat designs by CCA students took the runway on October 11, 2007, at the first annual Above & Beyond Gala at the San Francisco Design Center. The creatively reinterpreted hospital garments, worn by live models, were designed by CCA students in courses led by Textiles adjunct professor Richard Elliott and students from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. The coats were bold conflations of art and science, ranging from bright green to pink with patterns mimicking cancer cells, bacteria, and stitches.

The Above & Beyond Gala also featured a performance by Gregangelo and Velocity Circus, a theatrical and acrobatic troupe led by CCA alumnus Gregangelo Herrera (Individualized Major 1989). Their spectacular show invoked the beauties of science with acrobats and dancers decked out in costumes whose patterns, under black light, showed images of the inside of the human body. Their props were inspired by iconic scientific images such as the double helix.

The gala benefited NCIRE, the Veterans Health Research Institute, the country's largest nonprofit research institute associated with a Veterans Administration medical center. For more information on the NCIRE please visit www.ncire.org.

Photos by Gitty Duncan

Posted on Tuesday, November 13, 2007 by Chris Bliss

Simone LeBlanc

Simone LeBlanc, who was a CCA Fashion Design student from 1995 to 1998, is a featured designer this season on Bravo's Project Runway. The popular television reality show begins its fourth season on Wednesday, November 14.

Simone was raised in the Bay Area and transferred to CCA from the College of Marin. She was among the first class of students in CCA's Fashion Design program, which launched in fall 1995. In summer 1998 she participated in an exchange program in Paris and stayed there to finish her fashion education at Parsons Paris School of Art and Design.