Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Design Life Now

I just came back from the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Boston. I went to visit the exhibition Design Life Now. This exhibition, running from September 28, 2007 to January 6, 2008, intends to present a wide spectrum of contemporary American design, including product design, architecture, furniture, film, graphics, new technologies, animation, science, and fashion.

This is my first major contact (aside from some experiences during three visits to the MOMA in NY) with a big show that covers so many fields of design. Being an AIGA member, I had the opportunity to visit an exhibit that was part of BoNE Show 7, Best of New England Design, but that event, which was organized by AIGA Boston, focused only on graphic design.

Design Life Now showcases the work of individuals and companies like Apple, Pixar, Nike, architect Santiago Calatrava, designers Joshua Davis, Jessica Smith, and David Wiseman, and many others.

These are some of the pieces that caught my eye:

  • The Speak Up web site. According to their own description: this site "is a reader-supported community devoted to graphic design open to conversation and dialogue. It stresses and questions the importance of the profession in our culture. Speak Up challenges those who practice inside the field, in hope of more accountability for their actions and in light of the responsibility we all have as communicators. Its mission is to further the graphic design profession from within with the goal of creating a stronger and clearer sense of what our role is as professionals endowed with the duty of creating social, cultural, political and/or economical communications based on our ability and obligation to do so in a visually clear and comprehensible manner."

  • The Blik web site. In their own words: "What is blik you ask? blik is an I.D. Magazine award-winning line of surface graphics created by and for people who like to change their mind. These self-adhesive wall decals (think stickers for grown-ups) allow you to easily transform the look of a living or office space in minutes. Affix blik to any smooth, flat surface such as a wall, window, mirror, ceiling, tabletop or floor. Choose your space, plan the design you'd like to make, and literally, just peel and stick. And when you're tired of your design, say after years, a month, maybe a day - the decals are removable."

  • Howtoons: This website showcases cartoons that show kids of all ages "How To" build things. Each illustrated episode is a stand-alone fun adventure.

Other great pieces were:

I don't know if this exhibition will visit other cities, but I would sure recommend it to designers, students, architects, artists, or anyone interested in learning about contemporary design in the US.

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