Design School

Portland, City of Designers

Our next wave of Portland festivals celebrates design, for all of us whose passion it is to make and build deliberately, carefully and creatively.

By Kristin Belz September 17, 2012 Published in the September 2012 issue of Portland Monthly

Light Drift was an installation along the Schuykill River in Philadelphia, by Moonjin Yoon, who will speak at the Technology Symposium Friday.

 At Home seems anything but these days, between running around town to the recent summer festivals (Music Fest NW, TBA) and getting out of town for good weather getaways. But summer will fade to fall – alas, the sun is already setting noticeably early. So we’re lucky that the next festivals to hit our city will inspire us to enjoy being at home, once the rains hit and we’re hunkering down more than gadding about.

The next wave of festivals celebrates design (food and drink this week, too, at the FEAST festival, which is covered at Eat Beat and in this At Home post). Next on the full fall festival calendar is the “Technology Symposium” September 20-21,  sponsored by the Portland chapter of the American Institute of Architects and held at Portland State University. After that comes a series of special design events makes up Design Week, October 9-13, bringing together all of us designers – those of us whose job and/or passion it is to think, make and build deliberately, carefully and consciously. 

The AIA/PSU Technology Symposium begins Thursday evening, September 20th with opening remarks by Hideshi Hamaguchi, Director of Strategy at Portland's ZIBA. He'll introduce the theme of the symposium: technology in the design process as a process of "Think, Make, Tell." Those three key actions will be the focus of discussions throughout the next day that will bring together people in creative fields from film animation to architecture, digital fabrication to industrial design. 

MIT architecture professor J. Meejin Yoon (of MY Studio/Howeler + Yoon) will conclude the discussion Friday afternoon, with a talk focusing on the intersection of technology, art and architecture in her own intriguing and often beautiful work. Pictured above is her Light Drift Project; check out the video for a fuller experience of that lovely temporary piece.

Register for all or part of the two day technology symposium online here; it is open to designers of all stripes – not just architects!

Coming early in October, Design Week promises to be a party and four day parade of interesting panels and discussions. The minute-plus promo video on the website offers a taste (tongue in cheek, most likely: it includes thoughtful declarations from local curators to casual cussing from an amiable, trucker-capped, bearded creative). The schedule of speakers and topics will likely be provocative and thoughtful. For instance, PSU's Sergio Palleroni will speak about a project addressing youth homelessness, with an accompanying exhibit shown at Mercy Corps (in conjunction with the "Design with the Other 90%: Cities" show there and at the Museum of Contemporary Craft).

Design Week states that its "purpose is to explore process, craft, and practice across disciplines through our city’s vibrant design programming." Amen. Partners and participants range from PSU, PNCA, MoCC and Mercy Corps to em Space, YU, and WeMake. Check the website for more details.

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