Art of Life — Produced by Karen Smyles
This month Art of Life features DesignPhiladelphia as we approach the upcoming event running October 10th through October 18th. The 2013 DesignPhiladelphia Festival is a citywide event that unites the region’s dynamic creative community by bringing together individuals and organizations from across the design spectrum, placing a spotlight on Philadelphia as a hub of creativity and innovation. The Festival, attended by thousands of design aficionados celebrates the past, present and future of Philadelphia design, while highlighting the region’s dynamic creative economy and increasing awareness of the role design plays in our everyday lives.
This year’s theme, EXPERIENCEdesign! will spark emotions and engage the senses. There will be opportunities to see, touch, smell, hear, and feel the design that surrounds us, including lectures, talks, workshops, tours, openings and exhibitions. During the 2012 festival, Friday Arts had the opportunity to talk with several of the talented designer participants.
Philly Works had a fantastic 2012 exhibition “Qualities of Life in Philadelphia” at the Philadelphia Art Alliance. Philly Works aims to empower creative individuals and industries in Philadelphia through collaboration, creative partnerships, and fostering public dialogue. Scott White, one of the exhibit participants, spoke about his design of a fully electric recumbent tricycle, that he hopes will one day become a regular fixture on local trails. Marc Krawintz shared with us the Urban Void Project which focused on how space can best be used by filling voids like the thousands of empty lots around the city with structures like inflatable playgrounds and vertical cemetaries.
Four Corners: Design from Philly Surrounds, curated by designer, Royce Epstein, and design writer Caroline Tiger, was on display in 2012 at Minima Gallery in Old City. It featured an amazing collaboration of furniture, lighting and art objects from some of the areas hottest new designers, as well as pieces by some of the areas most famous, like chairs by Wharton Esherick and George Nakashima. If you weren’t fortunate enough to have seen it in person, you can visit their website and learn how it all came together.
Our segment also features Public Workshop, an organization that creates uniquely engaging opportunities for youth and their communities to shape the design of their cities. They are redefining the way that youth participate as citizens and leaders in the design of their communities, and addressing the most pressing challenges in the world around them. In 2012 artist Alex Gilliam spent a couple of days creating a “Popup Playground” across from Rittenhouse Square, with high school students from throughout the city.
Lastly, Friday Arts had a chance to learn more about an exciting project premiering during the 2013 DesignPhiladelphia festival, involving three Philadelphia-based companies. We talked with Ernie Sesskin and Brian Foster of Groundwork Home and highlighted several of their incredible furniture designs. We also featured the work of lighting designer Robert True Ogden. Adam Kamens of Amuneal Manufacturing Corp shared with us how they plan to turn a former PECO substation building located at 2200 North American Street, into a fabulous showroom for all three design businesses, that will be opening during the festival.