#DWPDX: Are Portland and Brooklyn Really the Same Place? (And Other Big Questions)

The major-league thinkers of Design Week ponder heavy ideas like...

By Zach Dundas September 29, 2014

1. Is "creativity" totally overrated?

Vancouver, BC designer Eric Karjaluoto delves into whether "the idea of being creative" gets in the way of, y'know, actual creativity. In a talk on using process to "hack" design, Karjaluoto examines the mythology of inspiration. (As he does, among many other subjects, on his reflective and in-depth blog, in which posts bear titles like "Just Keep Making" and "A Better Way to Fail Fast.") Is it possible to out-plan the Muse?

2. Does contemporary design actually make things better?

...or does it just exist for marketing purposes? Allan Chochinov, a partner at Core77 and chair of the product design program at New York's School of Visual Arts, breaks down the problematic relationship between authentic innovation and quality and the "relentless effort to influence and determine our ideas around value, consumption and sustainability—all through the lens of good design..."

The original model of the Portland Building

3. How should we save Portland's most architectually significant building?

The city plans to renovate the Portland Building, the landmark 1980s building considered a breakthrough for post-modernist architecture...and, in one memorable verdict, "the most hated building in America." In conversation with Portland Monthly contributor Randy Gragg, architect Michael Graves discusses "what of the Portland Building should be preserved and what might change during its upcoming renovation." Long plagued by problems stemming from its cheap construction, can Portland's most renowned structure actually become a good building?


4. Are Portland and Brooklyn Really the Same Place?

Problem: Design Week Portland always takes place the very same week as Brooklyn Beta, a likeminded gathering in the Rose City's unofficial (but incessantly cited) sister borough. Solution: a simultaneous, Internet-enabled panel discussion featuring designers, thinkers, and doers in both cities. In Portland, the ever-masterful Aaron Draplin talks with Poler's Benji Wagner, alongside artist/designer Kate Bingaman-Burt and founder of the ever-innovative Skylab Architecture, Jeff Kovel. In Brooklyn, Behance's Clement Fayadi leads the discussion. Will this bicoastal summit find common ground, or just superficial stereotyping?

5. Can Fashion Be Artistic? (Or Art Fashionable?)

A Creative Mornings session features Anna Telcs, a Seattle-based clothing designer,  straddles the world of fashion and modern high culture: she's shown her clothing in galleries, and pairs gallery shows with runway shows, and in general "reports from the center of the Venn diagram." In this talk, she looks at industrial design's reliance on fashion and the fraught intersection of couture and culture.


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