T HE D ESIGNPHIL A DEL PHI A I S S UE
A community of bold thinkers and makers based at one of the nationâ€™s leading urban public research universities.
Tyler School of Art and Architecture Temple University Philadelphia, PA 19122 tyler.temple.edu
Fall 2019 – IN THIS ISSUE We focus on the provocation that Design is a Dirty Word.
FEATURES 12 Designing for Body Fluids, Part I: Human Milk Interview with Diane Spatz
16 XXII Triennale: Broken Nature Interview with Ala Tannir, Erica Petrillo, and Laura Maeran
5 EDITOR’S LETTER 6 COMMUNITY 34 EXPRESSION Maurice Cox and Repairing Urban Ecosystems in Detroit
36 OPINION Orkan Telhan on the Human Diet as Design
40 DESIGN PROFILES Fábio Duarte — Underworlds
24 Designing for Body Fluids, Part II: Urine Interview with Bethany Edwards
ON THE COVER 2016 DesignPhiladelphia Festival: Moto Designshop's pop-up art exhibition "Outbound."
28 Curious Territories: Craft In and Out of the Museum Interview with Glenn Adamson and Sarah Archer
CONTEXT is published by
AIA Philadelphia A Chapter of the American Institute of Architects 1218 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107 215-569-3186, www.aiaphiladelphia.com. The opinions expressed in this – or the representations made by advertisers, including copyrights and warranties, are not those of the editorial staff, publisher, AIA Philadelphia, or AIA Philadelphia’s Board of Directors. All rights reserved. Reproduction in part or whole without written permission is strictly prohibited.
Postmaster: send change of address to AIA Philadelphia, 1218 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107 Published SEPTEMBER 2019
Suggestions? Comments? Questions? Tell us what you think about the latest issue of CONTEXT magazine by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. A member of the CONTEXT editorial committee will be sure to get back to you.
AIA Philadelphia | context | FALL 2019 3
5 23 19 Context Media Ad.pdf 1 5/23/2019 9:55:20 AM
2019 BOARD OF DIRECTORS John B. Campbell, AIA, ARIAS, RIBA, LEED AP, President Paul Avazier, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, NCARB, President-Elect Robert Shuman, AIA, LEED AP, Treasurer Karen Blanchard, AIA, Past President Soha St. Juste, AIA, Secretary Chris Blakelock, AIA, Director of Advocacy Catherine (Katie) Broh, AIA, LEED AP, Director of Prosperity and Firm Culture
Danielle DiLeo Kim, AIA, Director of Strategic Engagement Y
Rob Fleming, AIA, Director of Education
Jeff Goldstein, AIA, Director of Design
Clarissa Kelsey, Assoc. AIA, Associate Director of PEA
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Timoth A. Kerner, AIA, Director of Professional Development Stephen Kuttner Potts, AIA, Director of Technology + Innovation Erin Roark, AIA, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Alesa Rubendall, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, PA Director Rich Vilabrera, Jr., Assoc. AIA, Associate Director of PEA Kelly Vresilovic, AIA, LEED AP, Director of Sustainability Tya Winn, Public Member Rebecca Johnson, Executive Director
CONTEXT EDITORIAL BOARD CO-CHAIRS Harris M. Steinberg, FAIA, Drexel University Todd Woodward, AIA, SMP Architects
BOARD MEMBERS Wolfram Arendt, AIA, LAYER Architecture William W. Braham, Ph.D., FAIA, University of Pennsylvania David Brownlee, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania Jon Coddington, AIA, Drexel University Susan Miller Davis, AIA
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Daryn Edwards, AIA, CICADA Architecture Planning Sally Harrison, AIA, Temple University Timothy Kerner, AIA, Terra Studio Elizabeth Miller, Community Design Collaborative Stephen P. Mullin, Econsult Solutions, Inc. Rashida Ng, RA, Temple University Jeff Pastva, AIA, Bright Common Richard Roark, ASLA, Olin Rachel Simmons Schade, AIA, Drexel University David Zaiser, AIA, Whitman Requardt and Associates LLP
Rebecca Johnson, AIA Philadelphia Executive Director Elizabeth Paul, Managing Editor Tiffany Mercer-Robbins, Layout Designer Laurie Churchman, Designlore, Art Director
4 FALL 2019 | context | AIA Philadelphia
MICHELLE MILLAR FISHER is the guest editor for the first DesignPhiladelphia issue of CONTEXT magazine. She is a curator and historian whose work investigates the intersection of power, people, and design. She is the Ronald C. and Anita L. Wornick Curator of Contemporary Decorative Arts at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She was formerly the Louis C. Madeira IV Assistant Curator of European Decorative Arts and Design at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where she co-organized the exhibition Designs for Different Futures, and a Curatorial Assistant at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Breast milk. Urine. Soil. Kitchen waste. Poop. Whether product,
dynamic work helps us all understand architecture, craft, and design
industrial, architectural, speculative, or otherwise, design often helps
as not only worthy of deep consideration, but as central and universal
us to deal with the messy, dirty, unresolved parts of everyday life. Who
aspects of human life across cultures, ages, and interests.
chooses to take this on as their practice? How do they design in this
Ultimately, their perspectives celebrate design as a “dirty” discipline—
arena? And why is dealing with mucky stuff so often cast as a niche
one which gets stuck into knotty questions at the ground level. This
area of focus? This issue dives into these questions through a handful of
ties into the collaborative curatorial research with which I have been
carefully chosen interviews and profiles. October is the time of year in
engaged for the last two years on an exhibition and book, Designs for
which this city celebrates the power of design through DesignPhiladelphia.
Different Futures. The project is the very definition of the phrase “team
Yet, the rest of the year, here and in much of the rest of the (art) world,
work makes the dream work,” realized through the interdisciplinary
design itself — let alone the solids and liquids it mediates — is often a
work of a team of colleagues across a range of specializations at the
dirty word. It is often stereotyped (wrongly and lazily) as attracting less
Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and
attention from funders, audiences, and writers across arenas, and is
the Art Institute of Chicago. Opening on October 22, 2019 at the PMA,
maligned as a “minor art,” as commercial product rather than conceptual
the project has taught me more about the difficult parts of design than
pursuit, and as a service-oriented rather than truly creative profession.
any other on which I have worked. From negotiating collaboration across
This issue of CONTEXT takes on the dirtiness of design through several
three institutions to trying to connect the pasts, presents, and futures of
lenses, from city mapping using human effluent, to environmental
a discipline that undergirds all our lived experiences yet, try as it might,
reparations via design, to examining craft’s position on the fringes of
is still not accessible to all, I am more than ever aware of the slippery,
the art world. I encountered all of the interviewees and profiles in this
evasive, difficult-to-grasp parts of design. They’re where I have found
issue in the last two years while living and working in Philadelphia, and
the most interesting projects to research, and simultaneously where the
the majority of them are based in this great city. They include lactation
most work remains to be done.
specialist and CHOP professor Diane Spatz, LIA Diagnostics co-founder Bethany Edwards, bio-designer Orkan Telhan, design writer Sarah Archer,
To all those who do the messy and exciting work of designing for and within difficult circumstances, I salute you. n
craft historian and curator Glenn Adamson, MIT architect Fabio Duarte, and Detroit City Planning Director Maurice Cox. Their practices traverse
design, craft, technology, science, and healthcare. Their diverse and
AIA Philadelphia | context | FALL 2019 5
COMMUNITY HEL LO F R I EN DS A N D COL L E AG U ES
Happy Fall! As I write this, I’m trying to enjoy
East Allen Street in the Fishtown neighborhood.
the last moments of summer before the exciting
The venue is the perfect space for us to host
and busy times of our September and October
our end of year festivities and celebrate 150
season. There is a lot to be excited about with the
years of AIA Philadelphia. We would love for
upcoming DesignPhiladelphia Festival, the Forum
you to consider sponsoring the Design Awards
on Architecture and Design, and our Annual
Celebration or purchasing a 10-pack of tickets
Design Awards Celebration.
for your team. Sponsorship opportunities start at $750.
DesignPhiladelphia issue that includes an insert
AIA Philadelphia Member Exhibition. Even
with festival highlights (to date, but events are
if you don’t have a project you want to submit
still coming in so be sure to download the app
to the Design Awards Competition, I encourage
or check the website daily for new programs to
you to submit a project board for the annual
attend.). We made the decision to use the Fall issue
AIA Philadelphia Member Exhibition, which will
of CONTEXT to broaden, and arguably stretch
be on display at Cherry Street Pier during the
how design impacts each of us individually and
DesignPhiladelphia Festival (Oct. 2 - 13), at The
as a society. We are thrilled that Michelle Millar
Fillmore for the Design Awards Celebration
Fisher, The Louis C. Madeira IV Assistant Curator
(Dec. 5, 2019) and at the Center for Architecture
of European Decorative Arts at the Philadelphia
+ Design (dates TBD).
Museum of Art, agreed to curate this issue. Her take on design enthralls me and her curation of
A City By Design. This year AIA Philadelphia
this issue is impressive. Thank you, Michelle, for
will showcase an exhibit during the 2019
all of your efforts. I hope you all enjoy.
DesignPhiladelphia festival. Our goal is to share with the public 150 years of architecture in
Forum on Architecture and Design. As a
Philadelphia with a marquee exhibit at Cherry
chapter, we spend a significant amount of time
Street Pier during the 2019 DesignPhiladelphia
and resources planning and executing a regional
Festival, and then again at the Center for
conference that provides quality programming
Architecture and Design during the 2021 AIA
close to home for our members. So this fall, we
are excited to be back in Center City at Convene CityView, 30 S. 17th Street — hopefully making
Hope you all have a great fall season and I hope
it easier for folks taking transit into the City and
to see you at one of the many programs and
for those of you who work downtown. NEW
for this year, we are introducing the Flex-Pass registation option for firms who want to share
five interchangeable full conference tickets amongst their staff, encouraging them to attend the conference with more freedom. Design Awards Celebration. Another change this year is that our annual Design Awards Celebration is moving to December 5, 2019 and we have a new venue, The Fillmore! We also will have live music and the jury has committed to come to Philadelphia and share their thoughts on the winning projects. We are excited to host this year’s celebration at The Fillmore, located at 29
6 FALL 2019 | context | AIA Philadelphia
Rebecca Johnson Executive Director AIA Philadelphia Center / Architecture + Design
To DAG, design isn’t a dirty word. It’s our first name and our mission to promote quality and equity in architectural and urban design in Philadelphia. Design gets its bad rep when it’s viewed as an elitist luxury item. In fact, “good” design can help solve an array of problems — social, economic and otherwise — and contribute mightily to quality of life. But the perennial question remains: just what is “good” design? That’s where DAG’s role as a public forum comes in. Join the conversation at our free, public monthly meetings or on social media. Learn more at designadvocacy.org.
PHOTO: JOE KACZMAREK
MEET. PARTY. CREATE. INNOVATE. PARTICIPATE.
2019 DESIGNPHILLY FESTIVALHUBS
CELEBRATING ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN THROUGHOUT PHILADELPHIA
OCTOBER 2 - 13
This month is shaping up to be a busy one for the design set. For the second year, DesignPhiladelphia will kick off their 10-day festival with the second annual AIA Philadelphia’s Forum on Architecture + Design.
CHERRY STREET PIER. One of the newest public
DesignPhiladelphia is proud to have the support of Jefferson University as the Festival presenting sponsor. Don't forget to grab the DesignPhiladelphia insert between pages 22 - 23 with fun festival highlights to begin planning your schedule.
showcase of innovative design solutions by local talent.
spaces in Philadelphia along the Delaware River waterfront, Cherry Street Pier will be filled with experiential design installations and our Best In Design
BEST IN DESIGN Presented by B. PHL Innovation Fest, this juried challenge features regional designers and design companies showcasing their innovative, design solutions being produced right here in the greater Philadelphia region.
AIA PHILADELPHIA'S 150 YEARS
AIA Philadelphia celebrates 150 years in the City with a retrospective exhibit focused on how innovation and history shaped Philadelphia and asking visitors to ponder what's possible in the future.
FORUM ON ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN
OCTOBER 2 - 4 Convene CityView
Focused on curating educational content for designers, civic leaders, product manufacturers, technology suppliers and real estate developers, the Forum provides a platform where civic and community leaders and designers can come together, collaborate and exchange ideas with the Philadelphia architecture, engineering, and construction community. This year our new Center City venue (Convene CityView) and our new Flex Pass option, allows AEC firms to have the flexibility to attend, in both a convenient location to most downtown firms and regional transit, and the ability to buy 5 or more full conference passes and share those passes amongst the firm employees. The Flex Pass allows one employee to attend a morning session and another to attend an afternoon session, all using the same “pass.” The Flex Pass is only available if a firm buys 5 or more passes.
INSTALLATIONS BY... Jefferson, Lyft, Newton Brown Urban Design, University of the Arts, This Makes Me Happy, Temple University, Coscia Moos + Keast & Hood, Coexist / Hemp House on Wheels, Drexel University, Claudia Mills Design, The Paper Space, Fairmount Park Conservancy, Architectural Glass Institute, PennDesign, and many more to come! THE CENTER / ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN.
Center City FestivalHub location, the Center for Architecture and Design dedicated to year-round programming
professionals, the public, and children, will be an inspirational site for exhibitions, symposiums, talks, hands-on workshops, and other programming. DesignPhiladelphia
installations at the Center include:
ONE THING A new annual exhibition offering designers the opportunity to redesign and reimagine everyday objects. This year's object, the ice cream scoop.
DESIGN IS INCLUSIVE An exhibition highlighting the varied backgrounds of local designers and what proud Philadelphia
We are thrilled with our keynotes this year: Bryan Lee, Colloqate Design; Nader Tehrani, NADAAA; J. Meejin Yoon and Eric Howeler; and Julie Eizenberg, FAIA, RAIA. These individuals will speak to some of the most fundamental issues facing architecture today: equitable communities; climate change; and technology and practice.” Says Johnson.
neighborhood their work or studio reigns from. Festival attendees and our young audience of future designers are encouraged to preview their medium and their stories.
SHHH! IT'S A SECRET A secret garden themed room plays host to the One Thing exhibition, a pop-up speakeasy, and an
For attendance options and pricing breakdown, visit www.forum-arch-design.org
afternoon meditation room to ease the chaos of life in the city.
AIA Philadelphia | context | FALL 2019 7
PHOTO: CHRIS KENDIG
2019 DESIGNPHILLY DESIGN DINNERS OCTOBER 2 - 11
2019 DESIGNPHILLY KICKOFF PARTY
Various Locations Throughout Philadelphia
OCTOBER 2 Cherry Street Pier We thought the rooftop party at Bok last year would be hard to beat and hopefully we are lucky to have the same weather this year as we did last year. But we are E.X.C.I.T.E.D. to show off and celebrate the DesignPhiladelphia exhibitions and installations at Cherry Street Pier with an incredible
Dine with Design events are a brand new concept for
party to Kickoff our 15th Festival.
this year's DesignPhiladelphia Festival. Coinciding with most of the neighborhood DesignCrawls, Dine with Design
We will be celebrating throughout Cherry Street
offers small group dining experiences at some of the best and
Pier — general admission ticket holders and our VIP
most exciting restaurants in the City, as well as some locations
Design Advocates will have access to the incredible
not typically open to the general public. Each Dine with Design
open-air end of the pier, delicious bites, and refreshing
evening will have several hosts who will facilitate conversations
beverages. In the event of rain, the party will move
about design and its impact on our City and region. For its
under the covered portion of the pier.
inaugural year, Dine with Design will have 6 locations:
DesignPhiladelphia is the oldest design festival in the
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 3
country, celebrating it’s 15th year. Our Kickoff Party
Manayunk DesignCrawl Location - TBD
is where we throw a fabulous party for our event partners and volunteers — who make the festival the community celebration that it is — as well as, with our sponsors, our design enthusiastic public, and many civic and community leaders to celebrate the design community in Philadelphia. Our Kickoff Party is a fundraiser to support the festival and the massive
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4 Old City DesignCrawl Location - TBD Fishtown DesignCrawl Location - Suraya
amount of programming and promotion that happens up to and throughout the festival. We invite you to
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 8
consider becoming a Design Advocate, which entitles
Ardmore, PA Location - Tredici
you to 2 VIP tickets to the Kickoff Party with special bar and food offerings, along with an exclusive lounge area, sponsored by Parallel Edge, all for $500.
For more information, please check out www.designphiladelphia.org/kickoff-party
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 10 Center City DesignCrawl Location - Roost Amenity Level at East Market
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11 South Philly DesignCrawl Location - Scout Offices @ Bok Locations and special guests will be announced soon, so please check www.designphiladelphia.org and download the Festival App to find out all of the juicy details and instructions to purchase Dine with Design tickets. Cheers!
8 FALL 2019 | context | AIA Philadelphia
best in design LE T'S MEE T THE 2019 FINA LISTS
Best in Design Finalists Announced! Now in its second year, DesignPhiladelphia’s Best in Design challenge asks regional designers and design companies to submit innovative, high-quality products or design solutions that make life better.
COLAB PHILADELPHIA Building Healthier Communities Through Creative Placemaking
PIPPY SIPS A better way to store and cool breastmilk
This year’s competition is sponsored by the three-day B. PHL festival — designed to build the city’s reputation as the most innovative city on the East Coast — a true place of choice for those looking to inspire new ideas, make connections, and ignite novel ways of doing things. B. PHL will hold interactive workshops, sessions, exhibits, and events highlighting innovation in fields like health care, technology, engineering, art, music, film, and more. Our jury had an incredibly difficult decision to make, and we are happy to announce our seven finalists. We would like to thank all of this year's applicants for their participation. You can learn more about each finalist's entry on the DesignPhiladelphia website.
HAPTI A wearable fitness tracker
that provides real-time
via an intuitive haptic
within families affect by
SMART ADAPTIVE CLOTHING easy fasten | effortless style | changing lives daily
THOMAS JEFFERSON UNIVERSITY "Park in a Truck" is a simple, fast and costeffective community effort that beautifies our neighborhoods, one lot at a time
LOYALTY LEATHER Handcrafter bags to accompany you on your lifelong journey-hand painted classic silhouettes
This year’s jury panel of esteemed designers and design enthusiasts includes: Kurt Dammermann
My Design Life
Senior Technical Director, Mechanical Engineering
Design Collector, Promoter, and Connoisseur
Independence Blue Cross
Jefferson Industrial Design
Director of Innovation
Professor and Special Projects
AIA Philadelphia | context | FALL 2019 9
COMMUNITY How can historic sacred places support civic engagement, social cohesion, and neighborhood equity? Historic sacred places have long served as anchors in Philadelphia's neighborhoods. They stand out as beacons for their distinctive architecture, large gathering spaces, cultural significance, strong sense of community, and charitable works. Currently, historic sacred places in Philadelphia are being presented with both challenges and opportunities. Philadelphia's Historic Sacred Places (The Pew Charitable Trusts, 2017) reports that nearly 10% of Philadelphia's 839 historic sacred places have been repurposed as housing, offices, schools, and childcare facilities through adaptive reuse. An additional 5% are vacant. Between 2011 and 2015, more than 20 were demolished to make way for new development. Philadelphia also has hundreds of active congregations in purpose-built religious properties acting as stewards of underutilized spaces. Whether it is a vacant sanctuary, sparselyused meeting hall, or mothballed Sunday School wing, these spaces offer real opportunities for congregations to fulfill their missions and build stronger bonds between places of worship and the surrounding community. The Community Design Collaborative and Partners for Sacred Places created the Sacred Places/Civic Spaces design initiative to re-envision underutilized, purpose-built religious properties as community hubs. Through generous support from the William Penn Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, Sacred Places/Civic Spaces added the design and development community's voice to a growing dialogue about the intersection between historic sacred places and communities. It fostered new relationships between sacred places, community organizations, and service providers with a mutual interest in co-location. The Community Design Collaborative and Partners for Sacred Places selected three pairs of congregations and community organizations to participate in Sacred Places/Civic Spaces, matching them with multidisciplinary design teams led by local architecture firms. Here is a first introduction to the concepts and designs they created together for expanding the civic commons. 10 FALL 2019 | context | AIA Philadelphia
Affordable housing, workforce training classrooms, and a public plaza foster deeper connections between The Philadelphia Masjidâ€™s campus and residents of the Mill Creek community.
Wharton-Wesley United Methodist Church | ACHIEVEability Brawer & Hauptman Architects with Alderson Engineering, Inc.; Orndorf & Associates, Inc.; Powers & Company, Inc.; and The Sullivan Company
An accessible entrance and new wayfinding system invite the Cobbs Creek community inside the sanctuary, fellowship hall, and classrooms for musical performances, meals, and other programs.
Zion Baptist Church | Called To Serve CDC Studio 6mm with Kate Cowing Architect; LLC; Keast & Hood; Burns Engineering, Inc.; and International Consultants, Inc.
Repurposing the Zion Baptist Church Annex on North Broad Street reclaims its legacy of social activism with wellness, workforce development, entrepreneurship, and educational programming.
RENDERINGS COURTESY OF COMMUNITY DESIGN COLLABORATIVE
The Philadelphia Masjid | People's Emergency Center HOK with J+M Engineering; Tutor Perini Building Corp; and Alisa McCann
PHOTO: CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL FOR ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN
TURNING 20! WITH BIG PLANS FOR POSTERITY.
It’s fall. A new class of graduates of The Charter High School for Architecture + Design head to college, many with significant support garnered through their design education. Meanwhile, the first generations of alumni have finished college and are establishing their careers. If you look on LinkedIn, the breadth is astonishing. The education climate is radically different from 1999, when this specialized, standalone school began. The dialogues over public and charter schools, often a political hot button, continue. Through the tumult, CHAD has endured and continued to live into its mission, even as charter schools have become something of an industry and education is as much about the business of compliance as it is about the difficult work of learning. Given this shifting climate, CHAD’s fate has been in jeopardy. To secure the future of the school for posterity and to continue providing underserved communities with access to design education, this past spring CHAD’s Board of Trustees made a bold decision. Following the 2019-2020 school
year, CHAD will cease to be a Charter school in order to become a public school with specialized admission criteria. Through the summer of 2019, CHAD and the School District of Philadelphia have been working together on an agreement that establishes the process of this transition. The goal is to re-establish CHAD as a Citywide High School for Architecture and Design, beginning the 2020-2021 school year. This school will be governed and managed by the School District of Philadelphia. This agreement, a Memorandum of Understanding, is to be completed around September 30th, with ratification by both the CHAD Board and The School District of Philadelphia Board. Please do not allow rumor, gossip, or negatively worded articles to distract from the vision and what is a very positive story. Our re-established architecture and design school will be a permanent, long-term educational opportunity for generations of Philadelphia's students and families. As this new vision has become public,
CHAD’s Board has heard from many in the community: families, students, supporters, the design and construction industries. Many have offered words of pleasant surprise and encouragement. A new school or program will continue to require support from our entire community. Now more than ever, please maintain and strengthen your relationships with our school. The CHAD Board firmly believes this path forward will result in the AIA’s original vision being institutionalized into the School District of Philadelphia’s system. It will result in many more years of design thinking being infused into the education of so many deserving Philadelphia children.
CHAD engages and educates Philadelphia students through the power of design thinking and introducing them to creative career opportunities. As CHAD celebrates its 20th anniversary during the 2019-2020 school year, please support our work as the flagship of K-12 design education. For continued updates upon our transition into a Citywide School, please see our website: www.chadphila.org.
AIA Philadelphia | context | FALL 2019 11
PHOTO: VANESSA SIMMONS
M A K E
T H E
breast pump NOT SUCK
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DESIGNING FOR BODY FLUIDS, PART I: HUMAN MILK INTERVIEW WITH DIANE SPATZ
Design for womxn has been historically overlooked. Though it’s 2019, design is still a profession dominated by men, and womxn are still too often seen as consumers rather than active shapers of their own destinies. This has prompted many people across different fields to roll up their sleeves and take things into their own hands. Diane Spatz is a legend in the nursing program at the renowned Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). As a Professor of Perinatal Nursing, Professor of Nutrition, a Faculty Advisor to Student Nurses at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, and Clinical Coordinator of the CHOP’s Mothers’ Milk Bank, she’s multilaureled and dedicated to encouraging the next generation of inquiring minds to take on design issues related to birth and breastfeeding. Here, she talks about how and why she came to this task. – MMF
AIA Philadelphia | context | FALL 2019 13
Michelle Millar Fisher: How does what you do intersect with design? Diane Spatz: It's only been really recently, I would say even within the past five years, that more people [inside and outside the field of mother-baby health] are getting interested in this area. Currently from a design perspective, it’s often about improving lactation product functionality. It's a very different world than when I got my Ph.D. in 1995. MMF: How did you end up coming into this field? DS: It was not a planned trajectory. When I graduated with my baccalaureate degree I went to work at Pennsylvania hospital on 8th and Spruce. It was not owned by Penn at that time. It was a community hospital, but 14 FALL 2019 | context | AIA Philadelphia
it was one of the busiest birthing hospitals in Philadelphia, over five thousand deliveries [a year]. And I graduated at the height of the nursing shortage. In my first weekend after orientation I had nine mother-infant dyads to take care of. So, eighteen patients. One of the things I was expected to do, as a brand new nurse, was help a mom breastfeed. I never had any education or training in school in doing that. It was not comfortable. MMF: What was the protocol at the time? What were you meant to do? DS: We were meant to try to figure out how to get the baby on the breast and to help with milk expression. And if you think about pump technology that was around then, it looked terrible, sounded terrible, everything was terrible about it. I subsequently went to
school half-time for my master's degree in perinatal nursing learning how to look after high-risk moms and babies. There, one of my professors asked if I’d like to work on a study on factors influencing breastfeeding with low birth weight infants. The hospital wouldn't even let us into the neonatal intensive care unit to talk to the moms because we might stress them out. So, in order to collect their pump logs of their milk expressions, I had to go do home visits. And I would go to do home visits and the moms would pretty much lock their doors and barricade me in their houses because they wanted to talk about the fact that they had a critically ill baby and no one was helping them. It just made me super sad. Later, Dorothy Brooten, who was a professor at Penn, established something called the transitional care model that basically replaces traditional medical care with care by advanced
PHOTO: KEN RICHARDSON
Dedication to design for breastfeeding and parenthood is also center stage in Cambridge, at the MIT Media Lab. The images that accompany Diane’s interview are from the 2018 “Make the Breast Pump Not Suck” hackathon at the MIT Media Lab which brought together designers, engineers, community organizers, policymakers, health practitioners, and more to re-imagine technologies, services, and policies to support breastfeeding parents and work towards equitable postpartum health outcomes in the United States. Find out more: www.makethebreastpumpnotsuck.com
practice nurses and that leads to improved outcomes. While I was getting my Ph.D, another faculty member, Dr. Linda Brown and I, wrote the grant to implement this model with moms who had babies in the NICU. And there you go. Here's my career, 25 years later. MMF: The theme of the issue is “design is a dirty word” and we're looking at that from a range of different angles. How might that fit your work? DS: Well, I sometimes think that people think breastfeeding is a dirty word. They think that milk is weird, you know? Do you think of human milk as a food or do you think of it as a body fluid? I think certainly how people view breasts or how people view human milk, and their solutions for them, fits into that paradigm of design as a dirty word. They’ve been dirty words in medicine and in the design profession, for sure, until very recently. In terms of women and breastfeeding, we haven't ever paid much attention to them [one of the first real in-depth study of breastpumps that didn’t think of design for lactation in relation to bovine subjects rather than women was carried out by Medela in 2005]. This year, I just published a study with the Society for College and University Planning. It is really evident that there are some universities — and many workplaces — who have thought about lactation at work, and there are others who just have no idea. It's also interesting to see even at the University of Pennsylvania, where we have a lot of lactation spaces, the consistency of design is not the same. Some of the rooms are really quite atrocious from a design standpoint. MMF: Do you think this would ever be set as the design problem within a design course? How do we encourage design teachers, instructors, professors, to start thinking about this as a problem to set their students? DS: I think it’s interesting to look at who's coming up with the solutions. Is it breastfeeding moms, like with the Mamava pods? It's interesting because with the two Penn startups that I have helped guide [Lulu and Keriton], the founders of Lulu don't have kids. And Keriton's founder got interested because his sister had a preterm baby and it was in the NICU.
MMF: What about the design of systems, rather than just products? DS: It's interesting because I was in Australia in February which is considered to be a good country for breastfeeding where initiation rates are high. But, what I was really surprised to learn about is that their exclusive rates at six months are only 15%, so they're actually lower than the U.S. More women are breastfeeding in the U.S. We don’t have great continuation rates, but at 25% they're better than the U.K. where only 1% of women are still exclusively breastfeeding at six months. As we see more women breastfeeding and for longer periods, that should also drive design questions. I asked my colleagues in Australia and they saw their national breastfeeding rates correspond to the 16 to 20 weeks paid maternity leave that birth mothers get there. They just quit breastfeeding before they go back to work. At CHOP, we set up comprehensive resources for moms to be able to continue to breastfeed when they go back to work. But, in a lot of countries that has not happened, so then people are like, "Okay, well I started, I did it for that long, but back to work, done." MMF: So, design really is key in this process. DS: Oh my gosh, absolutely! My first doctoral student from Thailand did her dissertation research with mothers who had to go back to work on a factory line and thought about how you build in breastfeeding space, and a pumping space. Design of space and policy and norms, and not just products, is key. MMF: What about here, at home? Philly is a place where there have been real benchmarks in women's reproductive health. This feels like a good place to be able to do the work that you do because there is a history and environment and ecosystem for it. DS: It's a very rich environment. We've got Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The first children's hospital in this nation. Pennsylvania hospital was our nation's first birth hospital.
MMF: Who are the people that you've worked with who have been inspiring to you? DS: Peter Hartmann stands out. MMF: Tell me about him. DS: So, Peter Hartmann will always be my favorite hero. Peter's at the University of Western Australia. He is a biochemist by background and did his postdoctoral work at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School. His lab is the one that designed the computer chips for the Symphony pump. When I finished my Ph.D., and we had our first NIH grant funded, it was 1995. I had read all of Peter's work, and my number one goal was — whenever I was able to take my first sabbatical — to study at UWA with him. I had to work for 12 years. In 2007, I spent the whole semester at UWA alongside Donna Geddes, who is the person in his lab who does all the ultrasound on the breast, who's taught us everything we know about how milk ejection occurs and how the baby drinks milk from the breast, and Danielle Prime who was one of Peter's doctoral students at the time. You know the part of the breastpump that attaches to the breast, the shield, or the flange? Before 2007, there was only one size. One size fits all. MMF: It didn't account for what size your nipple diameter is? DS: No, and it didn't care about what your nipple looks like at all. When I was in Peter's lab, all day long I got to measure nipples which led us to having different sizes of the shield. Recently, Danielle has just come up with a new shield design which is curved. It's called a flex shield, and moms got out 11% more available milk when they pumped with it. MMF: So, it really is again about design! DS: For all these years, no one's ever thought, "Gee, maybe we should look at that part that attaches to the breast…maybe we need to reconfigure how that works.” n
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PHOTO: GIANLUCA DI IOIA
16 FALL 2019 | context | AIA Philadelphia
MILAN TRIENNALE XXII BROKEN NATURE INTERVIEW WITH ALA TANNIR, ERICA PETRILLO, AND LAURA MAERAN
Design has long been in dialogue with sustainability and environmental concerns at all scales, though its “dirty secret” is that, despite the best efforts of many of its practitioners, the field has caused as many problems as it has offered solutions. The 2019 Milan Triennale exhibition, Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival, on view from March 1 - September 1, 2019, approaches this topic in new ways and engages age-old questions, too. Shortly after its opening three of the curatorial team members — Beirut-born designer and curator Ala Tannir, Italian researcher Erica Petrillo, and longtime Triennale staffer Laura Maeran — sat down to reflect on the genesis of restorative design, how public dialogue shapes exhibitions and wider society, and whether design will make or break our planet. – MMF
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PHOTO: GIANLUCA DI IOIA
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Michelle Millar Fisher: Can you describe Broken Nature in a few sentences? Ala Tannir: Broken Nature investigates the role of design and the repair of the broken and stranded bonds that we have with different environments. For us, “environment” is as much cultural and social as it is natural. We highlight the notion of restorative design. The exhibition is an incomplete survey of design's role in renegotiating the way we live, and will continue to exist, in this world. We hope it prompts us all to assess not only the problems that we're surrounded by but what to do next. Erica Petrillo: We want to encourage people to think in the long term and to think in terms of big, complex systems. One of the things that the exhibition does is to spotlight how we live in systems that are entangled, and how each of our actions have reverberations that go beyond our realities and our immediate surroundings. Another goal [of this project] is offering concrete solutions that people can employ in their quotidian lives to repair the broken bonds that Ala was talking about. Laura Maeran: The exhibition site is important to describe, too. The Triennale is an old lady, as we sometimes call her — she was born in 1933. The history of the Triennale exhibition started ten years before that, in Monza, and then settled in Milan at the Palazzo dell'Arte, the name of this building, designed by Giovanni Muzio in a rationalist style. I’ve worked here for ten years, and I think it has grandeur, but at the same time, the capability of getting to a human scale. The building is surrounded by the Parco Sempione and there is a relation with the external that is possible because of the beautiful windows that we have. The architects for Broken Nature, Studio Folder and Matilde Cassani, thought about this relationship in their design. MMF: What were each of your roles on the exhibition? How did you come together as a team? AT: My role was to really delve into the research since its initial stages, and I was involved in each of the different parts that make up the whole project: writing the catalogue and looking for projects to include in the show, tying the narrative together with Paola Antonelli [longtime design visionary at MoMA, and the senior curator for Broken Nature]. LM: I worked on the initial research with Ala and Paola, and then I became more focused on the production parts of the exhibition. EP: And I came into the picture later on, diving in and getting my hands dirty. I was assigned the task of taking care of the online platform [brokennature.org], a digital transposition of the exhibition. It is a tool that we've used to make the research process more transparent, but also like a container in which we have put different kinds of content that enriches the discourse going on in the galleries. We were all involved in the organization of the public programs that accompany the exhibition. MMF: You’ve done a huge amount of public programming. Why?
EP: The first symposium in June 2018 set the tone methodologically. It brought on stage the members of the advisory board. The second one examined the notion of restorative design [described by the BN team as interrogating “the issues threatening our planet and our collective existence, stimulating an appreciation of the systems in which individuals live and operate, and galvanizing attitudes that consider life beyond the next few generations.”] And the third one gave the designers a platform to talk about themselves about their works. AT: We decided to hold them at key moments in the project process. The first one was really very honest, putting ourselves out in the world and saying, “This is Broken Nature,” let's discuss with the public, and gather feedback, let’s use that as a research tool. The programs were pivotal in the whole curatorial process — things changed, or were dropped, or became more honed. The feedback we got was really, really important. In the context of “design as a dirty word,” the dirtiest version was that first symposium where we were giving our first prototype. Our sketch model. And then the symposium in January 2019 was more of a second iteration, and I guess the March 2019 symposium [which coincided with the opening of Broken Nature] was like a functioning model. MMF: I want to ask you more about the term “restorative design.” It is a term that is understood very differently depending on social location, and if we’re talking about the term reparation, too, it can be understood not only through design but through many different contexts — for example, in the U.S., I think of author Ta-Nehisi Coates’ writing on race, history, and inherited property. What was your through line? What were your touchstones when you were thinking about how to research and develop the idea of restorative design? Who were you looking to? Were there writers, particular schools of thought, traditions or things that are completely unnamed in an institutional context that were North Stars? AT: Before we even thought about restorative design, we thought about what design is, and who we consider designers. And then we began to think about the exhibition context. Should we be showcasing only real pragmatic approaches to design, to veer away from the super speculative? Does that mean that restorative design is only a problem-solution binary? How does that problem-solution situation vary from context to context? I think this was very central for us, to start understanding what the term restorative design means before even pretending to find projects that deal with that notion of reparation or restoring something that is broken. Those we eventually included are not always designers in the traditional, institutionalized sense. We looked at a broader history than just design, in presents, futures, and pasts. By doing so, we tried to open up the notion of design, and as such this prompted us to look for examples of "restorative design" in drastically varied contexts, often engaging different disciplines from the social sciences, to political activism, to engineering, and many others in between. As much as the work of Donna Haraway, Bruno Latour, and Isabelle Stengers, for instance, was really instrumental in getting us into this mindset to understand restorative design, we also looked at, to name a few examples, the work of a master sea silk seamstress who comes from a dying down tradition that spans millennia or the work of a group reflecting on the relationship between land, identity,
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"I THINK THAT THIS IDEA OF LONG TERM, BOTH IN THE FUTURE BUT IN THE PAST AS WELL, IS ONE OF THE MAJOR POINTS OF THIS IDEA OF RESTORATIVE DESIGN, THE EXHIBITION REALLY CAME FROM IDEAS OF TIME, WHERE OUR PRESENT IS FORMED BY THE PAST AND THE FUTURE." - LAURA MAERAN
PHOTO: GIANLUCA DI IOIA
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PHOTO: GIANLUCA DI IOIA
occupation, and creative resistance in the Syrian context, or even the process of engineers creating artificial glaciers in the Himalayas to ensure access to water to native communities year-round. What does it mean for us to include projects like this in the galleries, in this context, in the Triennale? Is that in itself — and it's an open question — an act of restoration? We understand these galleries speak a certain history, and we will not pretend to say that we can cover everything that might fall under the idea of restorative design practice. There are still questions to be asked. And so in that sense, you know, brokenness, or a form of incompleteness, became very important to the notion of restorative design, and highlighting and understanding an idea was an act of restoration itself. The moment that you start recognizing this, you can start thinking of next steps to be taken afterwards. LM: I think that this idea of long term, both in the future but in the past as well, is one of the major points of this idea of restorative design. The exhibition really came from ideas of time, where our present is formed by the past and the future. AT: And the ability to, as Haraway would say, imagine different pasts, presents, and futures. MMF: Design — often, but not always, in close dialogue with its sister, craft — has long been in dialogue with sustainability. Can design make or break our planet? Are you optimistic? Are we designing ourselves to what Paola [Antonelli] often talks about as a “beautiful extinction”? Or will we be able to bring ourselves back from the brink of disastrous climate change, and really repair our interpersonal relationships with people, cultures, and places? And do projects like Broken Nature offer a real platform, rather than just the illusion of participation? I know you all care really deeply about these questions. Are they possible to solve for, at least in part, through design?
AT: I would like to think so. I don't think that design can go as far as making or breaking, I don't think it is that dichotomy in that sense. But I do think that design has a way of speaking to people when done well, when it can communicate to and with people. And I think designers have the ability and the responsibility to try to grapple with what is going on in the world around them, to understand it, look into it, and then rehash it in a way that inspires a conversation to happen. They are mediators, with one foot in theory and one foot in practice. In terms of climate change, if design can't save us from a projected disaster, the revolutionary potential of imagination can at the very least inspire attitudes toward positive change. Of course this is the optimistic version, but maybe today I'm in an optimistic mood. So there is a responsibility, a huge responsibility that also comes with this. But I personally think good designers don't shy away from it. MMF: And good design curators, too. I think facilitating and mediating is often done, in my mind, in the most selfless ways by really great teachers who just offer the platform or the tools but then let people have the space to do their own thing. That's true of the best public programs and exhibitions, too. EP: I studied political philosophy and political sciences. For the longest time I thought I would have worked in the realm of NGOs, or intergovernmental organizations, where change might have been achieved in a more direct way, less mediated. But then I had to step away from that word because I had the impression that the change it was trying to achieve was inserted into society in a top down way that was not subtle. And this for me was replicating the problems as opposed to solving them. There was something wrong, I thought, in the methodology that was being used. Now, I think the thing that keeps me optimistic is the potential that design has to have this subtle approach, this openness, to actually change things for the better. n
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SEP 13–DEC 22, 2019
arms ache avid aeon: Nancy Brooks Brody/ Joy Episalla/Zoe Leonard/ Carrie Yamaoka: fierce pussy amplified
SEP 13, 2019–MAY 10, 2020 Michelle Lopez: Ballast & Barricades
118 S. 36th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 icaphila.org Free. For All.
IMAGE: Carrie Yamaoka, A is for Angel, 1991, Letraset and rubber cement on vellum, 17 × 14 inches framed. Installation view, Chapters One — Four of arms ache avid aeon: Nancy Brooks Brody/ Joy Episalla/Zoe Leonard/Carrie Yamaoka: fierce pussy amplified, Beeler Gallery at Columbus College of Art & Design, Oct 2, 2018–March 17, 2019. Photo: Stephen Takacs. Major support for Colored People Time: Banal Presents has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Additional support has been provided by Arthur Cohen & Daryl Otte, Cheri & Steven Friedman, and Brett & Daniel Sundheim. Support for arms ache avid aeon: Nancy Brooks Brody/Joy Episalla/Zoe Leonard/ Carrie Yamaoka: fierce pussy amplified programming has been generously provided by the Sachs Contemporary Art Fund. Programming support for Michelle Lopez: Ballast & Barricades has been provided by the Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation, and support for the catalogue publication has been provided by the Daniel W. Dietrich II Foundation. Trevor Shimizu: Performance Artist is an extension of I is for Institute, a landmark international initiative researched and developed with support from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. ICA is always Free. For All. Free admission is courtesy of Amanda and Glenn Fuhrman. Funding for programming and operations at ICA is provided by the ICA Board of Overseers, friends and members of ICA, foundations and government agencies, and the University 22 FALL 2019 | context | AIA Philadelphia of Pennsylvania.
SEP 13–DEC 22, 2019
Colored People Time: Banal Presents
NOV 20, 2019–FEB 1, 2020 Trevor Shimizu: Performance Artist ICA at Kunsthalle Lissabon
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Following in Diane Spatz's footsteps is another Philadelphiabased changemaker, Bethany Edwards, who co-founded startup LIA Diagnostics in 2015 while still a design student, and recently secured $2.6 million in venture capital funding for the first biodegradable, flushable pregnancy test. â€” MMF 24 FALL 2019 | context | AIA Philadelphia
PHOTOS: MAX GRUDZINSKI
DESIGNING FOR BODY FLUIDS, PART II: URINE INTERVIEW WITH BETHANY EDWARDS
Michelle Millar Fisher: Can you describe in a sentence or two what it is you do on a daily basis and how it connects to design? Bethany Edwards: On a high-level, I’m building, problem solving, and generating value for the company I co-founded. Those actions and the details vary greatly depending on the day and depending on the quarter — though design is always involved in some way. One of our early guiding principles was: Design even the smallest things
impeccably. So whether it’s designing an Excel file, a presentation, a scientific study, an industrial mold, our packaging or manufacturing line the daily questioning of “How can design’s rigor and refinement create improved systems?” is embedded into our everyday operations. MMF: You developed Lia, the first flushable, biodegradable pregnancy test, in 2015 and it goes to market this year. What elements of this project — and others — are you working on right now? BE: LIA Diagnostics develops, manufactures, and is commercializing water-dispersible, biodegradable assays and diagnostic test kits. To make these test kits a reality, we’ve also developed custom coatings and new materials. The majority of my efforts and our team’s efforts are currently focused on scaling our manufacturing and getting Lia into as many women’s hands as possible. To do this requires multi-layered tasks that involve building custom equipment, developing industrial coating processes, rigorous scientific testing, regulatory approvals and documentation, and creating marketing campaigns — to name a few. MMF: The theme of this issue is “design as a dirty word” and we’re looking at that from a range of different angles. How might your work fit this bill? BE: LIA Diagnostics is the result of combining and iterating across several disciplines (i.e. art, design, science, engineering, and business) and asking “why not” and “what if" while simultaneously having the problem solving ability to know when to call upon and when to intermix each discipline’s strengths to generate answers and push forward innovative solutions. Design can have different connotations in different fields of application and I think the rapid expansion of cross-disciplinary work, as well as the proliferation of design concepts various disciplines allows people to become practitioners of design, whether knowingly or unknowingly.
I think the idea of “design as a dirty word” plays to the acknowledgement/reconciliation of the widely expanding scope that design is becoming applied to/synonymous with/associated with, and consequently the cultural implications of those acknowledgements and associations. The acceptance of design into the business world (ex. Tim Brown from IDEO summarized it by stating “CEOs will need to be designers in order to be successful”) and the shift from analytical to creative problem solving has facilitated the rise of the creative economy. Perhaps the current ubiquity of design in society leads us to question what defines it. MMF: How long have you been in Philadelphia? Is Philadelphia a good place to do what you do just now? What are the benefits and/or limitations of this location? BE: I moved to Philadelphia in 2002 to attend Temple University and stayed; worked in the city for 10 years and then attended UPenn for my masters — which is where I initially conceptualized Lia. Philadelphia has a growing, unique mix of disciplines among its core academic institutions which creates a strong, cross-disciplinary ecosystem. This innovation will need to be supported by innovative investors who are open to risk and patient capital. It will be interesting to watch the capital options grow and how they respond to the multidisciplinary strength that the city’s institutions are cultivating. MMF: Who are the people — in your field or outside of it — who you look up to, and how have they informed your work? BE: There are so many… Cindy Eckert for her dedication to uplifting health-tech female entrepreneurs and rightfully getting more money into the hands of women leaders. Polly Rodriguez for being a fearless leader for women’s sexuality and entrepreneurship. Brendan O’Farrell and George Whitesides for their work in diagnostics. The founders of IDEO; the founders of Method soap for proving that design can be for the masses, applied to commodities, and improve sales. Meg Crane for designing and inventing the first at-home pregnancy test. Janine Benyus, the founder of the Biomimicry Institute. Algae Geographies and Neri Oxman. The founders of Ecovative Design, Modern Meadow, and Bolt Threads for creating and commercially proving that mass-growing sustainable materials is a viable, new form of manufacturing with the potential to solve our pollution problems. n
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26 FALL 2019 | context | AIA Philadelphia
Introducing the 2019 Keynotes
Bryan Lee, Collogate Design
Nader Tehrani, NADAAA
J. Meejin Yoon + Eric Höweler Höweler + Yoon Architecture
Julie Eizenberg, FAIA, RAIA Koning Eizenberg
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2018 CITY OF THE YEAR
CREATIVE LOVE AIA Philadelphia | context | FALL 2019 27
PHOTO: BUTCHER WALSH , COURTESY OF THE MUSEUM OF ARTS AND DESIGN
28 FALL 2019 | context | AIA Philadelphia
CURIOUS TERRITORIES: CRAFT IN (AND OUT) OF THE ART MUSEUM INTERVIEW WITH GLENN ADAMSON AND SARAH ARCHER
Design in all its expansive and interconnected forms — from industrial and product, to speculative, fashion, architecture, and decorative arts — is so intrinsically important to every scale of existence. To those who have made it their life’s work, whether as a historian or practicing professional, this fact is so immediately apparent that it is perhaps not obvious the rest of the world doesn’t see things the same way. The overlapping field of craft similarly gets short shrift, even within design circles that might be more sensitive to their often-shared plight. Here, two highly regarded voices in the world of craft and design — Glenn Adamson, the former Director of the Museum of Art and Design, New York, and Philadelphia-based design author and historian Sarah Archer — contemplate the ways in which we often find it difficult to wrestle with the practice and products of the field of craft, and why transgressing (or entirely ignoring) disciplinary boundaries are the way forward. – MMF
Left: Installation View of 'Ebony G. Pattersnon: Dead Treez' at The Museum of Arts and Design.
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Installation View of 'NYC Makers: The MAD Biennial' at The Museum of Arts and Design. 2014.
Sarah Archer: The world we occupy, by which I mean the three of us, and maybe 1,000 other people [who write about histories that include craft], is pretty narrow. Most people, including people in the [fine] arts, have no idea craft exists. They don't know what it is, they just don't see it or engage it. When they hear words like “craft museum,” there's immediate assumptions made, and an immediate association with amateurism. I find it's exhausting to have to endlessly explain craft to people. The craft world with a capital C, the academic craft world, is almost hiding in plain sight. It feels like you can see this thing that other people can't see. As a writer, sometimes I can assume some familiarity, and but most of the time I have to assume zero familiarity. How do you do that without insulting the intelligence of the reader and insulting the people you're writing about? MMF: I hear you, Sarah! I went back to your book, Glenn, The
Invention of Craft. One of the reviews at its publication in 2013 talks about craft occupying “a curious territory between design, art, and ethnography, a kind of curatorial hole.” (And I think sometimes that's the same with design, especially in the art museum.) Glenn Adamson: This is such a complicated thing for me. I try to embrace craft as a mission without falling into the trap of it being a restrictive niche. I strongly believe that craft is an artistic variable or capability, rather than a category or a discipline. So my first
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reaction is to say that craft is more an aspect of design practice than it is a separate and distinct category. Then the other thing to say is that to be honest, I've gotten a lot less interested in that capital-C, professionalized, conceptual, niche Studio Craft phenomenon- and more interested in the broad cultural phenomenon of craft. I'm writing a book right now about the general history of craft in America, from the Revolutionary War to today. So it covers 200-plus years. Through that long history, I am most interested in what I might call ‘real’ craft skill, like unionized laborers or agricultural workers with very broad skill sets, ideologies of self-sufficiency, as well as amateur practitioners. This has less orientation towards art history, and more orientation towards material culture studies, perhaps. MMF: If craft and design and decorative arts are slightly dirty words in art museum institutions — it’s often difficult to find the right department in which to “put them,” for example — then do you think that the interesting parts of the conversation can now only happen outside institutions? GA: Both the strength and weakness of institutions are that they are dependent on constituencies. And the problem with constituencies is that they're not always very flexible. So, it's quite difficult — or at least I've found it difficult — to get people to rally around an understanding of craft as I would wish them to see it. So many stakeholders want craft to be 200 people whose names they can write down on a piece of paper. It's quite narrow. And I feel like it's quite difficult, in general, for institutions to cope with the interdisciplinary nature of contemporary thinking about craft, and for that matter the arts in general. I do think in contemporary art there's been an exception to that, perhaps because the marketplace enabled it. But I think if you didn't have art as an unregulated asset class, with a lot of money flowing through it, they would have the same problem. And obviously, we don't have that in craft.
Right: Installation View of 'Volulkos: The Breakthrough Years', 2016 at The Museum of Arts and Design.
PHOTO: BENOIT PAILLEY
Michelle Millar Fisher: I want to ask you about your work as it relates to craft and its histories. I’m actually sitting in the MoMA garden right now, and while it was unintentional (I had to visit the archives here today for another project), it’s ironic because the term itself was (and probably still is) quite contentious in the museum’s Architecture and Design department when I worked there a few years ago. It was definitely a proverbial dirty word, difficult to mention in this temple to modern design. Have you found the same in your working lives?
PHOTO: NICLAS WARIUS
SA: As Glenn said, craft evades categorization. That's something that makes it interesting. That's a nightmare from a registrarial or museum point of view. But if you're writing, like we are, you have more freedom. I think it is hard for museums to be nimble in that way. Especially encyclopedic museums because it's about the history of their entire collection and all the people who take care of it. GA: Seconding that. When I was at MAD, it was always a question in my mind as to whether the collection was an asset or an albatross. It's both. It's clearly very, very interesting and historically significant. But it was also a huge drag, financially and programmatically, because you need to represent a past that is no longer relevant to most audiences, or indeed, most prospective funders. It also gets the institution sucked back into questions of taxonomy, which is a false lead – it gets people focused on the wrong thing. I've never, ever been interested in defining craft. I think it's a total waste of time. If you’re using a definition of craft any different from daily usage, you’ve already made a mistake. Instead of debating terms, we need to think about structure in which creativity happens and is distributed.
Untitled, ca. 1970s, Rut Bryk, Ceramic, Collection Kakkonen from'Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft and Design, Midcentury and Today' at The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD)
PHOTO: BUTCHER WALSH, COURTSEY OF THE MUSEUM OF ARTS AND DESIGN
SA: That sounds right to me. Because I'm out of it now institutionally, I enjoy that language almost anthropologically. I'm curious to know what people think of when you say craft ... Is it like hot glue or is it something else... ? It triggers different things for different people. It invokes radically different modes of creativity, different notches on the class hierarchy, and all sorts of different things depending on who you ask. I think from that perspective it can be fun. But I agree that the fixation with what are we doing, what category are we in, can't be solved. With younger artists and scholars generally, categories have fallen out of favor. They are much more interested in just researching, rather than obsessively categorizing, and I appreciate that. It makes for better work, better writing, better everything. n
AIA Philadelphia | context | FALL 2019 31
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EXPRESSION MAURICE COX AND REPAIRING URBAN ECOSYSTEMS IN DETROIT If you don’t yet know about the work of Maurice Cox, now is the time to start reading. Director of the City of Detroit’s Planning Department since 2015, Cox was a beloved tenured professor at Tulane University in New Orleans (and before that, former mayor of the City of Charlottesville, VA). He brings his innate gift for engaging broad communities in design discussions to his role in Detroit where he has been part of tackling that city’s bankruptcy and population decline head-on through innovative and inclusive projects. At a public symposium held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, as part of the public research presentation for the Milan Triennale’s Broken Nature project, he spoke of hundreds of meetings with city residents to listen to their concerns, and of making space for such conversations by attending to their current, pressing needs — trash removal, demolishing burned out houses, and getting street lights functional. One project, in particular, is in the low-income Livernois-McNichols neighborhood, seven miles from downtown Detroit, renovating 100 vacant homes and pairing them with adjacent vacant land planted to become flowering meadows and urban gardens. A partnership between the local city developers, Fitz Forward, and landscape architects Spackman Mossop and Michaels, it tackled the vacancy rate in the locality, which was at 40%, with over 300 vacant parcels in a quarter mile area. It created a community park, bicycle greenway, and pedestrian walkways to provide connective tissue between local landmarks, including two universities. — MMF Photo Credit: Spackman Mossop and Michaels
Ariel View Fitzgerald Neighborhood Plan Ariel view with greenway connecting University of Detroit-Mercy, new city park single family housing rehabs and productive vacant lots
Fitzgerald Neighborhood Landscape
Graphic: Spackman Mossop and Michaels
Strategy diagram illustrating options for accessing different community landscapes with primary greenway and neighborhood park
Ariel View of Proposed Ella Fitzgerald Park
Rendering: Spackman Mossop and Michaels Photo Credit: Matty Williams
Ariel View of Completed Ella Fitzgerald Park
Photo Credit: Matty Williams
Ella Fitzgerald Park Streetscape Super graphics used for traffic calming, under construction
34 FALL 2019 | context | AIA Philadelphia
Proposed Design of Ella Fitzgerald Park, Street View
Photo Credit: Alexa Bush
Ella Fitzgerald Park After housing demolition and clearing of 26 neighborhood vacant lots Rendering: Spackman Mossop and Michaels
Ella Fitzgerald Park
(left) Fitzgerald residents install 100 foot long ceramic tile seating-wall mural by Hubert Massey (right) Fitzgerald resident strolling by completed mural seating-wall Photo Credit: Bree Gant
Rendering: Spackman Mossop and Michaels
Ariel view of greenway connection proposed on neighborhood vacant lots
Productive vacant lot option, community garden
Rendering: Spackman Mossop and Michaels
Landscape typology of neighborhood vacant lots
Productive vacant lot strategy, crops and orchards typology
Renderings: Spackman Mossop and Michaels Rendering: Spackman Mossop and Michaels
Photo Credit: Spackman Mossop and Michaels
Existing single family house and vacant lot before revitalization
Photo Credit: Spackman Mossop and Michaels
Affordable single family housing rehab before and after Photo Credit: Fitz Forward
Rehabbed single family house with flowering meadow garden after revitalization
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PHOTO: ENGIN GERCEK
DESIGNING DINNER: ORKAN TELHAN ON THE HUMAN DIET AS DESIGN
36 FALL 2019 | context | AIA Philadelphia
OPINION ORKAN TELHAN is an associate professor of fine arts — emerging design practices at the University of Pennsylvania, and exhibits his work internationally in museums, galleries, and conferences that explore the confluence of design, technology, science, and humanities. A true interdisciplinary designer, he started out studying graphic design, traversed critical theory, product design, architecture, and has ultimately incorporated biological design into his practice. One evening before dinner, we discussed the human diet as a messy and provocative design endeavor.
Michelle Millar Fisher: I could ask you about so many different parts of your practice, but I want to ask you specifically about the way that it intersects with food. Can you tell me a little bit about how you ended up working in that area? Orkan Telhan: I'm actually not interested in food itself — I'm interested in the human diet, how humans use food and nutrition to change themselves and change their mental conditions, performance, and their body image. I'm interested in how humans have designed themselves using food as the tool. MMF: How did you end up getting to that place as a designer? OT: My PhD [at MIT] was in synthetic biology, and that's a field where you really use the lenses of design and engineering as toolkits that have the potential to shape living organisms. Those living organisms could be bacteria, yeast, artificial cells and so on. I started to look at the idea of designing inside the body. We build buildings around us, we design clothes around us. But we don't, as designers, often think of designing anything internal. Of course, there are pacemakers and prosthetics in medicine, but I am interested in how we have been designing our bodies through food for thousands of years. MMF: Can you describe one project of yours in which food was front and center? OT: When I was commissioned for the 2016 Istanbul Design Biennial by Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley I was interested in looking at how people designed themselves using the human diet. And not the very evident ideas of how you become skinnier, or how you become smarter through food. I looked at the future of recreational probiotics in augmenting the human body—not by just imbibing vitamins and supplements, but by ingesting other peoples' microorganisms, their “microbial genes,” as a way of transferring other people's features, traits, and characteristics. I imagined this process and asked what a human diet might look like in the future if these augmentations became mainstream. Diets are usually planned for set amounts of time, like ten days or three months. I created a simit [Turkish ringed
Left: The 30-day Simit Diet designed with probiotic, GMO, and non-GMO organisms that are either lab-grown or obtained from the feces of people. The diet explores the concept of "recreational probiotics" by asking the audience how far we can go to improve our health, performance, and mental capabilities by designing our bodies with food.
sesame bread] diet that incorporated different kinds of organisms, probiotics, prebiotics, GMO and non-GMO, and produced different kinds of recipes for different outcomes. Ultimately this project and others like it are critical explorations that ask what it means to ingest somebody else's organisms. I made a couple of controversial cases. For example, I sampled organisms from Kurdish people because there's a certain kind of ethnic segregation in Turkey. Regardless of how much people officially talk about their relationship to Kurdish people, there's an implicit segregation in society. What happens to this sense and experience of segregation if you are Turkish and you ingest organisms from a Kurdish person, or vice versa? MMF: In terms of thinking about food design and its many intersections with literal and metaphorical notions of dirtiness, there are some immediate references like food growing in soil, as well as the process of food digested and then ejected from our bodies. But what you're really getting at with the criticality of your work in this area is the dirtiness of issues of sustainability, whether that's social relationships or environments and ecosystems. I'm wondering if you're interested in food and diet because it’s a place where design has perhaps one of the greatest possibilities for impact on our lives? OT: That's a really good question. The dirtiest thing that comes to my mind is that the simit project is all about making people eat each other's shit. That's the dirtiest part. Microbes are ingested through fecal transplants. MMF: Very literally dirty design! OT: Yeah, literally. It's fecal matter. You can build an entire design language to justify people eating shit, but ultimately they’re eating each other's shit. In terms of whether a project like this one has any potential to make us rethink some of our relationships with the environment or social systems … I believe that there's a certain potential, but I am also very skeptical of homo-sapiens. We are very hypocritical. We really want to be very kind to the environment, kind to nature. We are worried about biodiversity loss. But then we do nothing to change the way we educate our children — or even have less kids to reduce the population on the planet — or change in any of our food behaviors. There's a lot of difficult things that we massage, manicure, and make digestible for our audiences when they see the final results of a design project in a museum setting or a beautiful meal in a restaurant, but ultimately a lot of people don't think about these things. People might care about how food is consumed, they might care about preservatives, non-GMO and so on, but they only care about feeding themselves or the people around them. They don't really think about what are the other seven, eight, nine, 10 billion people are going to do. I’m satisfied if my projects can ask some questions about what it means for larger populations to feed themselves ... About consumption patterns rather than just the resources themselves. That’s what I am after. n
AIA Philadelphia | context | FALL 2019 37
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38 FALL 2019 | context | AIA Philadelphia
THE SPIRIT OF MODERN DESIGN LIVES ON
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Every product is designed to meet the exacting principles and standards of true modern architecture. With large expanses of glass and narrow sightlines, the Modern collection fosters a deeper sense of connection to the outdoors.
Contact: Chris Beahan Super Enterprises, Architectural Consultant firstname.lastname@example.org 267-608-8391 AIA Philadelphia | context | FALL 2019 39
Sometimes design gets dirty in very literal ways. A professor at the Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Parana in Brazil, Fábio Duarte is also currently a research scientist at the Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he and a team of colleagues are mapping cities through sewers and human effluent using a probe called Luigi in a project titled Underworlds. As they point out, “A vast reservoir of information on human health and behavior lives in our sewage. And this resource is untapped.” Here, Duarte explains the impetus behind an urban epidemiology project that goes where few designers dare. — MMF
40 FALL 2019 | context | AIA Philadelphia
Michelle Millar Fisher: Can you describe in a few sentences what it is you do on a daily basis and how it connects to design? Fábio Duarte: At the Senseable City Lab we focus on how digital technologies change how we live and design cities. With more sensors carried by people (cellphones, for example) and embedded in cities, urban environments generate a huge amount of data. Making sense of this data helps us to understand cities in novel ways, and propel new forms of data-driven design. My daily activities involve working with graduate and post-doctoral researchers at MIT, along with cities and companies, to investigate new methods and propose solutions to current urban problems, fostered by digital technologies. MMF: For readers unfamiliar with the Senseable City Lab at MIT, can you describe it a little — how long has it been around and what kinds of projects does it house? FD: The Senseable City Lab was founded by Carlo Ratti and Assaf Biderman 12 years ago. From the beginning their proposal was to appropriate data generated by digital technologies to have a scientific understanding of cities, and to use this knowledge to propose new ways to design our interactions with cities.
PHOTOS COURTSEY OF FABIO DUARTE
MMF: How does the Underworlds project work?
detecting disease outbreak, dietary habits, or medication consumption at the neighborhood level, for example infectious disease surveillance or the prediction of outbreaks. Early warnings in relation to the presence of new flu strains in urban centers could significantly reduce a community’s medical costs and even help mitigate outbreaks. In addition, smart sewage could impact the way non-communicable diseases (and the wider social inequities that are often a causal factor) are studied, because biomarkers for diseases such as obesity and diabetes can be measured at unprecedented scale and temporal resolution. MMF: What elements of this project — and others — are you working on right now? FD: We are finishing a deployment of Underworlds in Kuwait. With this, we will have samples from Boston, Seoul, and Kuwait — three different urban contexts we believe will be reflected in the sewage. Through this project, we imagine a future in which sewage is mined for realtime information that can inform policy makers, health practitioners, designers, and researchers alike. n
Fábio’s most recent book (with Rodrigo Firmino) is "Unplugging the City: The Urban Phenomenon and its Socio-Technical Controversies,” published by Routledge in 2018.
FD: Although the Lab is completely involved with digital technologies and cutting-edge methodologies, we always point out that old and existing technologies should not be neglected; on the contrary, digital technologies offer new possibilities to use existing technologies in unexpected ways. Underworlds focuses on an old and essential urban technology: sewage systems. Each flush of a toilet generates biological data about each of us, data that is discarded. With Underworlds we collect chemical data related to human activities that exists in sewage which allows us to have a better understanding of public health. Deploying small robots — the Luigi probe is composed of small electronic sensors and micro-controllers, pumping system and filters — we can sample sewage, which gives us the possibility of AIA Philadelphia | context | FALL 2019 41
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42 FALL 2019 | context | AIA Philadelphia
MR WAFFLES LOVES DESIGN Pet owners and design aﬁcionados will adore Mr. Waffles Loves Design.
THIS GEM OF A BOOK features 60 stunning photographs of a shelter cat exploring museumquality designs by such luminaries and their well-known designs like Frank Gehry’s Wiggle Chair, Karim Rashid’s Garbo Trash Can, Michael Grave’s Whistling Bird Teakettle and Philippe Starck’s Excalibur Toilet Brush. Publisher: Canoe Tree Press List Price: $24.95 Hardcover 7 x 7 Available on Amazon
Ron Arad’s ﬂexible bookshelf
is a strip of plastic that can be shaped into a circular spiral, a wiggly worm, or just about anything sinuous. The more bends and curves in the conﬁguration, the more weight the shelf can handle. Bookworm does have its limitations—it cannot be bent into right angles or go in a straight line.
“I only see design books, anything on cats?”
When noted design collector and published author Lisa S. Roberts discovered her new shelter cat climbing, jumping, rubbing and
Toilet brushes have become
sleeping on her contemporary furniture and
a badge of honor, maybe an obsession
products, rather than freaking out, she began
for many designers. Merdolino, created by Stefano Giovannoni, resembles a leaﬂess potted plant. This whimsical design removes any stigma or preconceived notion about a toilet cleaner. So what’s the connection to its function? Nothing! That’s the point! It remains a mystery until the handle is pulled from the pot.
snapping photos. This became the inspiration for this whimsical and lavishly illustrated book.
I wouldn’t do that Mr. Waffles.
Design just got a whole lot more entertaining with Mr. Waffles leading the way. Follow Mr. Waffles on Instagram @mrwaffleslovesdesign
OPENS OCT 22
Designs for Different Futures is organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center, and the Art Institute of Chicago. In Philadelphia, this exhibition is generously supported by the Annenberg Foundation Fund for Major Exhibitions, the Robert Montgomery Scott Endowment for Exhibitions, the Kathleen C. and John J.F. Sherrerd Fund for Exhibitions, the Lisa Roberts and David W. Seltzer Endowment Fund, the Women’s Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Exhibition Fund, and an anonymous donor.
Clockwise from top left: Raising Robotic Natives, designed 2016 by Stephen Bogner, Philipp Schmitt, and Jonas Voigt (Courtesy of the designers) Photograph © Stephan Bogner, Philipp Schmitt, and Jonas Voigt; Cricket Shelter: Modular Edible Insect Farm, designed 2016 by Mitchell Joachim (Courtesy of the designer) Photograph © Mitchell Joachim, Terreform ONE; Alien Nation: Parade 0, designed 2017 by Lisa Hartje Moura for HEAD-Genève (Private Collection) Photograph © Head-Genève, Michel Giesbrecht, 2017; Svalbard Global Seed Vault, designed 2008 by Peter W. Søderman, Barlindhaug Consulting (Exhibition display courtesy of USDA Agricultural Research Service, National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation) Photograph courtesy of Global Crop Diversity Trust; Future Library, 2014–2114, designed by Katie Paterson (Exhibition display gift of the Future Library Trust, 2018, and purchased with the European Decorative Arts Revolving Fund, 2018) Photograph © Bjørvika Utvikling by Kristin von Hirsch, 2017; Recyclable and Rehealable Electronic Skin, designed 2018 by Jianliang Xiao and Wei Zhang (Courtesy of the designer) Photograph courtesy of the designer
The Fall 2019 issue of CONTEXT is the first DesignPhiladelphia issue. It focuses on the provocation that Design is a Dirty Word.
Published on Sep 27, 2019
The Fall 2019 issue of CONTEXT is the first DesignPhiladelphia issue. It focuses on the provocation that Design is a Dirty Word.