Monday, 24 August 2009

David Gersten at Cooper Union.

David was himself a graduate in architecture at Cooper Union and he now lectures at the school. It was interesting to discuss design education within the building that David himself has had such a close and long history with, having spent over half his life there. David considered the building itself as a space that was engineered for the right creative environment and as a place for the three creative disciplines of: Engineering, Architecture and Art to collide within. David began his talk with us, with his theory of Cooper Union as the 'eight story house'. He took us on a tour of the school which began in the foundations of the building where there was a great lecture space, where Abraham Lincoln had spoken and many other notable orators. David proposed that this gave the school a foundation in free speech, that filters up the school. He describes how all creative energies flow upwards through the space and the negative impact of walking down into a dark dingy basement is never felt, as it maybe in other institutions. We then walked up to the second floor where knowledge and context were realised with a library that looked outwards through vast glass windows. This was designed to allow an infinite plane of cultural memory and a preservation of history. Then at the heart of the building was a shared working environment where a gallery forces the intrigued into the belly of the school. These analogies between architectural design and their application within education was very interesting and was consistent with David's predominant influence and point of reference: Literature. In this instance the school itself was an instrument capable of telling a story.
We also discussed the implications of the small numbers of students at Cooper Union and the fact that they were all there with a full scholarship. He described his development and use of the 'listening crit' and showed us a project he had been working on extensively to be published by Didot.
David is an extremely intelligent man who's fervour and philosophies are reflected within the course he teaches and upon the space he lectures in.
I look forward to relaying more of what I learnt from David to you in the future.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Welcome to Legs

Georgie G at legs was amazing showing us around this beautiful studio and also talking for us. This is a fairly new studio and its main area is film, its a unique place where they have everything they need on site therefore the design ideas do not need to be diluted as they can do it all, its really inspirational to see how that can be a reality. She was so passionate and was also able to try many areas and work with amazing people. The studio has aspirations to break international boundaries and I wish them good luck and thank you.

Hunter Tura (2x4) and Yoonjai Choi

Hunter Tura recieved a degree in Architecture from Havard and now is the managing director at 2x4 which is a multidisciplinary studio focusing on design for art, architecture, fashion and cultural clients worldwide. He had a really interesting slant for our project where by he sees many portfolios from a number of different areas and places wanting jobs or interns at 2x4 and therefore has a certain idea of design inside and outside the US. He was extremely welcoming, he had his little girl at work and always had one eye on her checking she was ok it was lovely, yet he still had all his attention for us. Conversation seemed so easy yet so interesting, he expressed how his education in architecture led him to have a different sort of education however he has no regrets as there are skills he has learnt that he may only have got from his education. Also 2x4 is a multidisciplinary studio and therefore needs people with a variety of skills and maybe by having a broader design education it will enable us to have a better perspective of design, and maybe using design inspiration for a piece of design is not the best way to do it? He opened up a number of questions for us so thank you. He also then introduced us to Yoonjai Choi who was newer in 2x4, she too had had an unusual education, she had grown up outside of the US and had strong attachments to England where she had spent some years growing up, after she completed her degree she wanted more education and it was either the RCA or Yale and it eventually was Yale and she said shes so glad it worked out that way as more then anything its the peer group you learn around that enhances who you are and she had an amazing graduate class and has no doubt that it was them that has helped her get to where she is today. Both had really great insights and are at a brilliant studio so thank you and good luck to you both.

Pablo A. Medina

Pablo grew up between Washington and New Jersey and is the founder of Cubanica, he is an exceptionally talented designer and typographer you can check out some of his typefaces here. He had just got off a 10 hour flight from Buenos Aries and Claire and I were literally waiting outside his door before we had even got there, he had sort of forgotten but was so pleased that fate or something had meant we were there waiting for him the moment he arrived home, he let us in his house and within minutes had changed and got ready and took us for the most amazing hot chocolate and Coffee either of us had ever had, the decoration on top was beautiful and as designers led us all off onto a tangent for a while. He expressed how his role as a lecturer at Pratt and also at an affiliate school gave him a great insight into design and that further his visit to Buenos Aries had all given him a fresh outlook on our project. He seemed to feel like students in the US worked really hard but they also expected a lot from their lecturers, then his experience in Buenos Aries was more of a street scene it was more free and in a way exciting. Really it is down to the individual to succeed and a great student will be great anywhere as long as they have the drive to do well. He had a fine art background and expressed how that has definitely had a huge imact on the way he works and that he will always fight for students to have a more "hands on approach" how can you learn anything unless you can do it by hand? This is exactly what Milton Glaser had said and its a very valuable point - by seeing something you simply see it but by drawing it you analyse and learn to appreciate it. Computers and the hand need to be used together and neither one or the other can replace each-other. Although he must have felt exhausted Pablo never slowed down, his enthusiasm for our project was great to hear and he even then came to lunch with us with Ian Wright and Ritta Ikonen. I cant wait to transcribe this interview and reveal more - so look out, Thank you Pablo and good luck in your travels.

Milton Glaser

Everyone in the design world and many people not even in that field will have heard of the name "Milton Glaser" he is among the most celebrated graphic designer in the united states. "The founder of Push Pin design in 1954 was his first big step in the design world, their design was well received internationally. He then in 1968 along with Felker they founded the New York Magazine, then in 1983 Milton was part of WBMG a publication design firm and now its Milton inc. This man seems unstoppable, he still had such enthusiasm for the design field which could have easily been lost in todays day and age of the computer "making everyone a designer". He expressed how a computer is like a microwave to cooking" and also that Talent was only going to go as far as you were willing to push it. He was very wise and I feel we all felt very nervous when we first went to talk to him, however we sat around in a smallish room full of beautiful artifacts and pieces of his design, it felt homely yet inspiring. He sat down and just began listening carefully and then answering concisely our questions. One of the most memorable things he said was that it is important to listen to others but really his opinion was only really relevant to him and therefore people need to learn their own views and opinions - if you were to live your life in agreement with someone else you would really just be living their life. It was very interesting to here from such an influential man but important to remember. Thank you.