Design Entrepreneurs:The Next Generation II: Conference Schedule

To be held Monday, May 17, 2004 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. @ the ICFF Theater in the Pavilion Hall. The conference is free with Fair admission.

By popular demand, Metropolis Magazine presents Design Entrepreneurs: the Next Generation II—a sequel to last year’s one-day conference that featured emerging designers discussing their approaches to business and creativity. This year’s edition will focuses on material and product innovations, presenting pioneers who are re-thinking and re-defining the forms and processes of design.

Bringing together individuals from all areas of the industry and academia, this event will merge the future with the past by presenting innovative work, exploring the history of materials such as plywood and carbon fiber, and examining applications of cutting-edge products like biodegradable technogel and fiber-reinforced plastic. We will also look at the entrepreneurial beginnings of some of today’s major manufacturers, and then uncover the research and ideas revolutionizing the design field.

Morning Sessions, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
I. Unconventional Approaches: Re-thinking Design, 10:00-11:00 a.m.

Industrial designers Yves Béhar and Erwan Bouroullec talk about how—with a laid-back, intellectual approach to their work—they’ve produced extraordinary pieces that have captured the attention of the design world. The pair will be interviewed by Susan S. Szenasy, Metropolis Magazine’s editor in chief.

II. Bent Ply: From Forest to Showroom, 11:00-11:30 a.m.
Technological advances dating back to the Industrial Revolution make the production of bent plywood furniture possible today. Eric Pfeiffer—co-author of Bent Ply and vice president of design at furnishings company Offi—will give a visual presentation documenting the process of making bent plywood furniture, from the harvesting of logs to the pressing of veneers.

III. Technology Transfer: Craft, Culture, and Outer Space, 11:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Dutch designer Bertjan Pot—in collaboration with Marcel Wanders—created a carbon fiber-and-resin chair for Moooi by working one-on-one with craftsmen at a Filipino rattan factory. And Swedish designer Cecilia Hertz’s work with NASA has led her to explore terrestrial applications of materials designed for outer space. Both will reveal their recent discoveries.

IV. Finding a Niche/Distorting the Norm, 12:00-12:30 p.m.
Miami-based architect Chad Oppenheim will talk about re-envisioning mundane housing developments and overcoming convention. Robin Reigi will also speak about her encounters with new materials, as well as the business of being a materials consultant.

V. Design Q & A with Jens Risom, 12:30 p.m.-1:00 p.m.
After leaving Denmark in 1938 and immigrating to the U.S., Jens Risom met Hans Knoll; soon after he began designing for Knoll’s eponymous furniture company. Working within wartime market constraints, Risom designed the now-famous web chair out of softwood and army webbing. Risom will recount his time with Knoll, as well as a look back at Knoll’s entrepreneurial early days.

Afternoon Sessions, 2-5 p.m.
I. Film: The Fiberglass Chairs: Something of How They Get the Way They Are, 2:00-2:15 p.m.

This historic film by Charles and Ray Eames takes a short look at the design, production, and manufacturing of the famous fiberglass chair the pair designed for Herman Miller.

II. Original Research, 2:15-3:00 p.m.
Mikala Holme Samsøe of the Danish architecture studio Force4 will speak about her investigations with material scientists. Also, Australian entrepreneur Geoff Germon will discuss findings from his 15 years of carbon fiber research.

III. Academic Interrogations, 3:00-3:30 p.m.
Innovative materials and methods are often born from speculative study. In this segment, students from the Pasadena, California-based Art Center School of Design will present their work with rapid-prototyping technologies.

IV. Constructive Criticism, 3:30-5:00 p.m.
Experts from the industry come together to critique prototypes being shown at the Fair. The panelists will evaluate an object’s manufacturing and marketing potential by assessing its design strengths and weaknesses. Critics include designers Yves Béhar and Marco Pasanella; Vitra, Inc. CEO Guy Geier; sustainable furniture expert Tom Newhouse; Green Marketing author Jacquelyn Ottman; French furniture designer Pierre Paulin; and Metropolis associate editor Kristi Cameron.

Special thanks to the Consulate General of Sweden, Elisabeth Halvarsson-Stapen, the Mondriaan Foundation, and Paul Makovsky.

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