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ISSUE 1 | FALL 2018
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BEYOND PRINT Visit Rhode Island’s Most Advanced and Complete Printing Facility at our
OPEN HOUSE Cocktails and Hors d’ oeuvres
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2018 3:00 to 7:00 PM 5 Almeida Ave, East Providence, RI Join us for Networking, Ongoing Plant Tours and Mini Seminars including: • • • •
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BRING YOUR BUSINESS CARDS TO WIN PRIZES! • Omni-Channel Marketing Campaign (a $5000 value) • Dr Dre Wireless Headphones • $100 Gift Card
Please visit www.SignatureOpenHouse.com by September 25th to RSVP OFFSET • DIGITAL • LARGE FORMAT • MAILING AND FULFILLMENT • eSERVICES
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DESIGN IS presents the conversation of design and design’s impact through the lens of the Rhode Island design community. Co-Publisher, Content DESIGNxRI Co-Publisher, Printer Signature Printing Editorial Director/Editor Lisa Carnevale Creative Director/Designer Carrie Chatterson, CC:S Contributors Nicole King Katherine Magee John Taraborelli DESIGN IS is published bi-annually in Fall and Spring. Please direct correspondence to: DESIGNxRI 333 Westminster Street, 2nd Fl. Providence, RI 02903 (401) 427.0811 email@example.com DESIGNxRI Staff Lisa Carnevale Catherine Chung Carolina Clark Kelsey Houlihan DESIGNxRI Board Kirtley Fisher Mark Guarraia Philip Hawthorne James Lehouiller Deb McDonough Kate Petrie
Louis Raymond © Copyright 2018 DESIGNxRI Print Specs: Press 40” 8 color LED UV Komori Perfector Cover 80# Cougar Smooth Opaque White Text 80# Cougar Smooth Opaque White Inks UV 4 Color Process 2 Sides LED Dried Plates Proprietary Uncoated Curve Applied
ISSUE 1 | FALL 2018
02 Letter from the Editor 03 Letter from Co-Publisher 06 The Opportunity Makers 12 Today’s Revolution and the Design Workforce that Follows 15 5th Annual DESIGN WEEK RI 2018 Schedule of Events 19 Spotlight: Designer’s Ball 20 Profiles: Sproutel and RA HA Jewelry 22 Profile: Studio Rainwater 24 Quoted: Thoughts on the Future 26 Profile: PellOverton Architects 28 Profile: Tellart 32 About DESIGNxRI
Cover Photo: Sit inside the social mobility of the future — concept car immersive experience by Tellart, 2017. Photo courtesy Toyota.
designxri.com @designxri @designisrhodeisland 1
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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
FIVE YEARS AGO, when we set out to shine a light on
design in Rhode Island, we knew the talent was there — brewing under the surface, innovating and leading in amazing ways throughout the world. It didn’t take long to get glimpses of what this looked like. Indeed, the community revealed itself in the light before our eyes and continues to excite and impress all those who come to look. At the time we knew design was on the cusp of something, a movement perhaps, a moment. Clearly this was a global happening, and yet, the more we shined a light locally, the more we saw how much the RI talent was playing their part. None of this was surprising really. Rhode Island — from a design lens — has always been keen to global change and revolution. We are afterall a lively experiment, by design. In these years, the design industry has evolved and evolved again. It shifts rapidly — as the minds of those who dedicate themselves to solving problems daily do as well. Design is not a stagnant approach. It’s constantly moving and adopting; innovating and inventing. It’s at once: blazing the trail of tomorrow and feeding our today; always part of the conversation of our lives, even if people don’t know it. In this inaugural issue of DESIGN IS, John Taraborelli explores how designers are collaborating across industries
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to solve real world problems. From climate change to health, human comforts to technology, he finds The Opportunity Makers are the thinkers behind our experiences. And speaking of thinkers, as talk of a Fourth Industrial Revolution grows more real, design and education leaders feel the shifts. Katherine Magee captured their comments on design’s future thought leaders in Today’s Revolution and the Design Workforce that Follows. And finally, we take a brief look into what a handful of RI design businesses are digging into in their work. (Tellart’s concept car on the front cover? Yes, today’s conversation about the not so far off tomorrow.) In 2013, DESIGNxRI hadn’t yet planned to produce a magazine to help illuminate the RI design community and design’s impact. But when Signature Printing approached us with the idea and Carrie Chatterson Studio was game to make it happen — we couldn’t pass it up! We are grateful for the energy, interest and support from our many partners and collaborators over the years. It’s a truly engaging and thoughtful experiment, thanks to all of you. We hope this first issue wets your appetite for more like this in the future. Until then, see you around — and for sure, at DESIGN WEEK RI. Lisa Carnevale Executive Director, DESIGNxRI
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LETTER FROM THE CO-PUBLISHER
SIGNATURE PRINTING and the Andrade family, are excited and proud to be co-publishers of the inaugural issue of DESIGN IS.
Signature has been serving the creative community for over 35 years. We’ve been entrusted by so many successful designers to execute their vision with our veteran print staff. We believe this relationship has and will continue to be a mutually beneficial one. DESIGN IS creates another opportunity for Signature to partner with Rhode Island’s growing and talented design community. We truly believe this community is one of the most fertile creative environments in the nation. The caliber of our local universities’ design graduates is consistently praised and recruited by some of the area’s, nation’s and world’s most successful companies. The visions and creations of these designers consistently provide the stimulus for their company’s success. RI designers are the risk takers whose entrepreneurial spirit is responsible for many of the new companies and jobs which drive our economy.
Signature takes pride in being part of this synergy. We appreciate and understand the designer’s vision and offer our support and resources to make their creations come to life. We offer collaboration. And we welcome the challenge of turning great design into amazing results. Signature is also proud to partner with the team at DESIGNxRI. Their leadership has provided energy to our design community. There is an excitement and pride their voice is generating. And, corporate and institutional entities are taking note! DESIGNxRI is helping to attract companies needing great design to relocate and start in RI. RI is a great place to be. And RI designers are playing an integral part in this success. We ask the design community to embrace DESIGN IS and make it their own. With this, we all win! Thank you. Sincerely, Signature Printing and the Andrade family
Former RI School of Design President, John Maeda, said “art and design are poised to transform our economy in the 21st century like science and technology did in the last century.” We understand that all things start with design. Great design leads to great results.
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The Opportunity Makers
by John Taraborelli
Where will the water go? Searle Design Group is tackling stormwater and sea level rise issues in the Blackstone section of Providence. Photo courtesy Searle Design Group.
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The idea that design impacts the world around us is hardly news to anyone within the design community. Buzzwords like “design thinking,” “iterative process,” and “human-centered” have become part of the business and academic lexicon. The “design is in everything” mantra has been repeated chapter and verse in think pieces and TED Talks, perhaps most encapsulated in one title: “Design is One of the Most Powerful Forces in Our Lives.” This is all great news for the industry, as professionals ranging from architects to graphic designers to industrial and interior designers are now no longer just considered contractors brought in to make things look pretty, they’re being sought out as collaborators, thought leaders and problem solvers. They are tasked with adding that most intangible yet important quality to a project: the human touch. We know this already. But what really interests us is how does it all come together? Yes, design affects us profoundly, but how does a designer work with a client to create that effect? How can an architect change a person’s daily routine in a positive way? How can an interior designer help a family cope with a sick child? How does smart design turn a technological breakthrough into a marketable product? That’s the stuff that gets our juices flowing. To find out, we talked to design professionals from multiple disciplines as well as someone that frequently collaborates with designers to get a better sense of how their processes work. In short, we wanted to know how these people apply their talents to solve problems across other industries. One of the most obvious starting points is architecture. Buildings are big and tangible and we interact with them every day, so it should seem obvious that the people who design them can have a profound impact on our daily lives. A growing body of data bears that out. A 2003 study by the California Energy Commission found that students in classrooms that receive the most daylight did dramatically better than the peers in classrooms that receive little or no daylight — to the tune of a 20 percent better learning rate in math and 26 percent in reading. Another study out of the United Kingdom found that a school’s physical design can improve or worsen academic performance by as much as 25 percent.
How designers are collaborating across industries to solve real world problems
“Similar results can be found with productivity of workers in well-designed offices and health outcomes in hospitals,” adds Christine West, principal at KITE Architects. “We all know when we are in a great space or building, but sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint why — and that’s where architects come in. We understand how numerous factors come together to create this positive experience.”
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Ben Willis of Union Studio Architecture & Community Design is another architect who is thinking about how physical spaces impact people — not just individuals, but entire communities. Willis points to a current project that is designed around several community needs: Sea Captain’s Row in Hyannis, Massachusetts is intended to address the affordable housing shortage, particularly for young families and professionals, but the development also needs to revitalize an area of crumbling historic homes while respecting the architectural history of the area.
A global campaign to encourage healthy choices with youth meant a strategic social campaign for CVS Health by (add)ventures. Photo courtesy (add)ventures.
KITE’s portfolio demonstrates this. In 2017 West and her firm collaborated with Kelly Taylor Interior Design (KTID) to solve a problem that had nothing to do with making a building taller, stronger or more energy efficient. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) wanted to improve the experience of people seeking help with their insurance needs. While this might normally sound like a job for people in customer service or IT, it was a problem that was happening in — and often affected by — physical space. Indeed, customers often enter the space with anxiety and concerns about their healthcare. Solving this problem involved conversations with everyone from senior executives to customer service associates, as well as observing current stores in action, the type of work that might typically fall to
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marketing consultants or customer service specialists. “BCBSRI already were familiar with thinking strategically about their services, but didn’t necessarily understand what that had to do with their physical environment,” West explains. KITE and KTID together recognized that the waiting experience was one of the major pain points for customers and associates alike. They addressed the challenge by creating waiting areas with lots of natural light, comfortable furniture and educational stations, openly visible community space that now houses yoga and conversations on health, and a circular flow in the back office layout that encourages ease of workflow and employee/customer interactions. The result has been dramatically reduced wait times and a better experience for both members and associates.
After an extensive community process, including partnering with the Cape Cod Young Professionals to find out what the target demographic wants and needs, they settled on a plan: eight new two-and-a-half story buildings with two common courtyards, offering a mix of floor plans suitable to both families and single professionals with roommates. The buildings use the architectural language that’s native to the area — think steep-pitched gable roofs and cedar shingles — and engage the street level. Best of all, they’re built using modular construction, which reduces cost, time, and construction waste. Says Willis on the effectiveness of this kind of community design: “Our most meaningful evaluations come from the end users, when they comment about the ways that a project has positively impacted their daily routines, or allowed them to get to know their neighbors in new ways, or when they take a different route home from work so they can walk through the space.”
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It’s not just the buildings that are solving real world problems, however. Landscape architects like Colgate Searle of Searle Design Group are working with clients who need more than just rolling green lawns and beautiful gardens; they need to address environmental challenges that exist now and anticipate ones that are still to come. This means that water, not earth, is increasingly at the center of their work, as issues like stormwater management, sea level rise and flooding caused by extreme weather events are at play. “We look at the strategies that can be employed to create resiliency in communities that face these challenges; what changes do we need to make now and what level of adaptation do we need to plan for in the future,” he says.
of climate change, designers are also proving that health is no longer the exclusive province of medical professionals. “The interior of a space profoundly impacts the way people act, feel, behave — and heal,” notes Janelle Photopoulos, principal of Blakeley Interior Design. “I wish people understood the impact it has on their happiness and wellbeing.” She’s a firm believer that good health and good design are inextricably linked, which is why she founded the Rhode Island chapter of Savvy Giving
by Design, a San Diego-based nonprofit “whose mission is to provide comfort, support, and healing to families with a child facing medical crisis by transforming the spaces of their home at no cost to them,” Photopolous explains. “We create spaces that promote healing by removing materials that have health consequences (i.e., replacing carpeting that traps dust and pathogens with hard surface flooring), but we also create spaces that become an oasis for these children that are many times
Searle Design is currently engaged in a project to study the watershed area around Blackstone Boulevard and York Pond in Providence. The area is caught between the twin threats of increasing storm water runoff from the boulevard and rising waters along River Road. “We’re looking at the impact of sea level rise and at the same time addressing water quality and quantity of the upstream watershed before it gets to the pond,” Searle explains. “It’s a full re-envisioning of Blackstone Boulevard to treat this storm water, improve pedestrian and bicycle safety, and increase the tree canopy while preserving the historic character of the Boulevard.” Sometimes it takes a designer’s eye to see those big problems at the human scale. Just as landscape architects are working alongside environmental scientists and civil engineers to deal with the problems Ximedica’s Director of Human-Centered Industrial Design, Tom Lutzow, discusses a wearable therapeutic device they helped develop that amplifies the brain’s ability to heal itself from neurological trauma. Photo by Jonathan Waugh at DESIGN WEEK RI 2017. DESIGN IS
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confined to their rooms.” The impact is holistic, improving both the physiological and emotional wellbeing of children — benefits that extend to their parents, as well. “No field benefits from design more than the medical space,” agrees Aidan Petrie, industrial designer, chief innovation officer emeritus at medical device company Ximedica, and most recently, founding partner of the New England Medical Innovation Center. He expounds that technological breakthroughs don’t help unless they’re designed with living, breathing humans in mind. “Technology that is not well fitted to human needs, desires, and aspirations adds very little. We are living at a time when more human technology
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will bring greater benefits than just more technology,” he says. For Petrie, thoughtful, safer or easier to use medical devices also help ailing patients reclaim their dignity. “Most people want to be party to their health, they want to be part of the solution, they don’t want to be perceived as sick,” he explains. “As more and more medical solutions reside in our homes, or are wearable, they have to align with the expectations that are commonplace in our daily lives.” Examples of this range from the simple — instructions written in plain English that prioritize the actionable information — to the high-tech, such as home dialysis units that take a formerly challenging medical
treatment and “reduce the steps to the equivalent of making a piece of toast.” While designers like Petrie are dealing with healthcare challenges at the patient level, branding and marketing gurus like those at (add) ventures are approaching health from the macro level. When CVS Health launched a major effort to prevent youth smoking, Mary Sadlier, (add)ventures’ Chief Strategy Officer, was at the table. “One of our guiding principles is to ‘simplify complexity for humanity,’” she explains. “The challenge is figuring out the best way to take complex information and design the best way to inform and inspire the key audiences.” FALL 2018
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Natural light, open floor plan, and comfortable interaction spaces dramatically reduced wait times and customer stress at the renovated Your Blue Store in East Providence. Photo by Nat Rea. Courtesy KITE Architects and KTID.
Sometimes it takes a designer’s eye to see those big problems at the human scale. does that process look from the other side?
In the case of CVS Health’s youth anti-smoking campaign, that meant identifying the influences that hold sway over the target audience. “Research proved that seeing pictures of tobacco use on social media can make kids more likely to smoke,” Sadlier says. “We concepted and executed a multiphase strategy that leveraged social content in the form of powerful imagery, impactful graphics, and engaging animations to connect with current and potential tobacco users in the digital space.” The resulting campaign, which is ongoing, has reached four million youth and counting. These are all insightful perspectives on the ways that designers can have an impact across industries, but how DESIGN IS
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Christian Cowan is the Center Director for Polaris MEP, a nonprofit initiative to grow and improve Rhode Island’s manufacturing industry. He has helped spread the gospel of design, iteration and collaboration among local manufacturers. “The design thinking paradigm was difficult for long established manufacturers to embrace,” he notes, “but they are now seeing the rewards of a mindset that encourages an iterative and customer-focused approach.” He notes that many Rhode Island manufacturers produce components of the end products, therefore they have to think about how their products will eventually fit into another company’s big picture. For example, he points to Mearthane Products Corporation, which makes the urethane rollers that move paper bills through ATMs. “It’s important for a company like Mearthane to find ways to communicate with the designers and engineers who are developing the next generation of ATM machines, and help define the
problems and create the solutions,” Cowan says. To that end, Mearthane developed a sample kit that invites designers and engineers to interact and experiment with the company’s products. In a state with a lot of intellectual property just waiting to be turned into marketable products, Cowan believes that more cross-pollination between designers and manufacturers will benefit everyone. “There is a need to bridge the communication gap between the two parties,” he says. “Those with expertise in the manufacturing process need to understand the language of the designer and designers need to understand how stuff is made and how their design choices can help keep the production costs down.” In the end, it’s all about solving problems. Or is it? Aidan Petrie believes even this is too small a window through which to look at the potential impact of design. “I have never loved the ‘problem solving’ motif,” he says. “I’d rather focus on the ability to create better, to improve, to humanize. Problems are too narrow. We are inherently opportunity makers.”
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Today’s Revolution and the Design Workforce that Follows by Katherine Magee
Fueled by a growing global market, changing industries, and advancing technologies, design is on the cusp of an evolving world economy and an evolving human experience. But what does this mean for the future of design and more importantly, the workforce behind it? Among traditional fields such as architecture, graphic design, and industrial design — design disciplines that have been around over a century (indeed the American Institute of Architecture was established in 1857) — a new crop of design jobs are taking root. A 2014 study of online job-matching service TheLadders showed the fastest growing jobs were user experience (UX) design, app development, and business intelligence — job titles noted in the report as not existing fifteen years ago. More recently, when Fast Company Magazine asked designers at Google, Microsoft, IDEO, and other large design drivers in the economy — what are the future design jobs? — they suggested an evolution of the UX designer and app developer, and expressed titles such as augmented reality designer, chief drone experience designer, cybernetic director and even — wait for it — human organ designer. These would surface by 2021. Perhaps the advent of this brazen movement around design can be pointed to the so-called “Fourth Industrial Revolution”, a term explored at the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos that describes the current “fusion of technologies that is blurring the line between the physical, digital and biological spheres.” In recent years, design has delivered problem-solving value, as it’s been employed more and more to tackle big world challenges
(and business bottom lines) through a human-centered design and design-thinking approach. And it’s seen as the key to synchronizing the exponential changes this revolution will and is having on the way we live, work and relate in the world. Here and throughout the world, the design profession is at once helping to drive the revolution while also growing in reaction to it. No matter what we face next, problem-solving is key. And problem-solving is what designers do. So, what does this really come down to in the design jobs of today? Rapid shifts are putting pressure on all design disciplines to adopt technology, consider the user perspective, and “translate” new products, experiences, and futures. Designers today need not deliver only an aesthetic-driven approach, but a data and user driven strategy as well. Solving problems means a lot more than a simple one sided solution. And with this, the needed skill sets are expanding. According to the 2017 Design Census reported by the AIGA, the most valuable design skills today are predominantly soft skills, including empathy, communication, the ability to ask good questions, and,
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significantly, the ability to adapt to and interact with technology and the changing world. Employers today need designers with a broad and diverse skill set, with both technical knowledge and the ability to think dynamically.
conversation. He further explained, in order to participate collaboratively and succeed in design business, “It’s not enough to be a great designer. You need to be able to communicate the value of your work.”
At a recent roundtable hosted by DESIGNxRI to discuss the industry and workforce, a group of Rhode Island designers and educators concurred: considering the user, being thoughtful and strategic, telling a story well (both visually and verbally), and understanding and utilizing technology appropriately (to direct the robots before they direct us) are all key. The greatest themes though at both the roundtable and in conversations afterwards were: communication and range of thinking are essential.
These may seem like simple qualities to expect of an employee, but the nuances are significant, and local educational institutions are feeling the demand. Deana Marzocchi, department chair of Johnson & Wales University (JWU) College of Engineering & Design, says there is more demand on a designer’s ability to succeed in constantly changing environments while still delivering a single solution.
“For UX, it really is more about the thought process.” J Hogue, Director of Design and UX at digital strategy company Oomph reflected on what makes a good Oomph designer. “I don’t want to give someone a task and just have them execute it. I want to give them something that’s really kind of general, then see where they take it. What kind of questions do they ask?” Kristine Merz, founder of Pawtucket-based strategic design and consulting firm Orange Square says she’s looking for disruptors — people with a strong way of thinking that can change other people’s way of thinking. “The most important thing we need in our work is diversity in thinking.” She expressed further that while on a basic level, designers need a broad set of skills, including traditional design skills as well as the digital and coding capabilities, on a dynamic level, “Designers need to invite others to the conversation and work to broaden the thinking. I see the team of the future needing to be trained very differently.” “For our practice — we feel strongly that great design is rarely the product of singular or unique genius. We look for designers that have the right balance of confidence in their ability, and awareness of how much there is to learn from others,” shared Doug Kallfelz, principal architect at Union Studio Architecture & Community Design, in a follow up
“The design field is asking a lot of designers,” Marzocchi explained, “Not only great design skills in the traditional sense, but problem-solving, questioning, a good work ethic, the ability to collaborate and multi-task, and strong leadership.” In order to meet the demand, JWU modifies the design curriculum as industry needs change: consulting with local companies, preparing new courses, and adding new programs. At Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), design students are put through a vigorous critique environment where students need to prepare an idea, lead its development, and defend it in front of others. According to Kevin Jankowski, director of the RISD Career Center, “It requires strong, disruptive thoughts. With the rapid changes in the field today, if a designer is not thinking like this — in new ways — business may not survive.” As economies and industries continue to shift with user interface and technology driving our every day, design becomes more and more powerful and in demand. With the shifting presence of design globally comes the shifting skills sets within the workforce. Today’s design is a leader and connection to change, invention, and experience — all within a very public and social domain. The revolution has just begun, but with the right skills in place, the opportunities for impact are exponential.
DESIGNxRI is engaging a cross-section of leaders in an ongoing conversation about the design workforce and working to strengthen the ecosystem of support for today’s designers and employers. See more at designforwardri.com.
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SEPTEMBER 13-22, 2018 | SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
10 Days of Design Throughout Rhode Island A multi-day celebration of design, innovation, inspiration and more featuring RI designers and designâ€™s impact.
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Solving the Housing Crisis AS220 | PROVIDENCE 8:30-10 AM | FREE
Collage Creators Providence Children’s Museum PROVIDENCE 11 AM - 2 PM FREE or $12
Inclusive Design: Beyond Accessibility & Across Industries EveryWear PROVIDENCE 12-1:30 PM | FREE
SAT, SEPT 15
SUN, SEPT 16
Open Day for Personal Garden Louis Raymond Design HOPKINTON 12-4 PM | FREE
A Pollinator’s Garden Landscape Elements + Empowerment Factory PAWTUCKET 12-3 PM | FREE
MON, SEPT 17
*AIA CEU approved
Changing Health by Design NEMIC PROVIDENCE Female in a Masculine Domain McKenzie Gibson WARREN
Calligraphy Workshop MojoTech PROVIDENCE 2-4 PM | FREE
Transformation of a Mill Libby Slader Design + LLAMAproduct W. WARWICK
Inflatable Lawn Party: August Lehrecke NEWPORT ART MUSEUM 5-9 PM | FREE
FRI, SEPT 14
MOVE (RI) Public Art + Transit The Avenue Concept PROVIDENCE 8-10 AM | FREE
THU, SEPT 13
Drink + Ink AS220 PRINT 6:30-8 PM | $25
DESIGN WEEK RI Kickoff Party Ft. Designers in Bands RATHBONE STUDIOS 7-11PM $15 suggested
TYPE x DESIGN AIGA RI PROVIDENCE 6-9 PM | FREE
Featured Speaker: Alex Hornstein Chasing the Hologram HOPE ARTISTE VILLAGE 6 PM
BIF SUMMIT | TRINITY REP | ALL DAY
DESIGN WEEK KICKOFF PARTY
Featuring designers in bands!
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EAT + SPEAK LUNCHEONS
Statewide talks + tour
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WED, SEPT 19
THU, SEPT 20
FRI, SEPT 21
SAT, SEPT 22
Good Design, Local Design Providence ACT Southlight Pavillion 9-11 AM | $10
EAT AND SPEAK (12 PM-1:30 PM) | FREE OR $10 Vacant to Vibrant Elaine Fredrick Photography PROVIDENCE
Landscape Open Studio TL Studio PROVIDENCE
Scrappy Meets Savvy KITE Architects + The Steel Yard PROVIDENCE
Protecting the Design Economy Lippincott IP PROVIDENCE
*AIA CEU approved
Whose design is it? OCTO PD PAWTUCKET
Applying Innovation to Addiction Ximedica PROVIDENCE
Storytelling for Innovation Business Innovation Factory PROVIDENCE A RISD Redesign Oomph PROVIDENCE Food and Design RISD Food Lab PROVIDENCE
Textile Design in Manufacturing POLARIS MEP + RITIN PROVIDENCE The Art of Praxis Tiverton designers TIVERTON Fabric Factory Tour Accurate Services FALL RIVER, MA
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
TUE, SEPT 18
Oyster Fest PROVIDENCE 1-7 PM | $25
MID-AFTERNOON (4-6 PM) | FREE Why Design in Olneyville? STUDIO MEJA PROVIDENCE 4-6 PM
A Curator’s Tour at Rough Point Newport Restoration NEWPORT 4:30-7 PM
SPEAKER SERIES | FREE Keynote Speaker: Ashleigh Axios Still Hopey, Changey RISD METCALF AUDITORIUM 7 PM
Shaping Experience & Community Through Design PellOverton + iolabs E. PROVIDENCE 5:30-7:30 PM | FREE
Marathon THE PLANT COURTYARD 6-8 PM Making a Grand Entrance ASID NE HOPE ARTISTE VILLAGE 5-8 PM
RI DESIGN HALL OF FAME THE FOUNDRY 6-9 PM | $75/$80
FEATURED SPEAKER SERIES Local designers, global reach
Growing Your Design Business GS10KSB PROVIDENCE 4-6 PM
WaterFire Providence PROVIDENCE 6:30-11 PM
* AIA CEU approved
Small Builds, Big Futures ONE NB PROVIDENCE 5-8 PM | $65 Studio Open House Elmwood Studios PROVIDENCE 7-9 PM | FREE
RI DESIGN HALL OF FAME PARTY
Honoring Rhode Island’s distinguished designers
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in partnership with
with support from
DESIGNxRI (DxRI) is a nonprofit economic development organization with a mission to create an opportunity-driven environment for RI designers, design businesses, and the design sector to thrive. Rhode Island is Design. With a high concentration of design businesses and leaders, the RI design sector is a critical economic force that drives change globally, socially, and locally. As the only statewide organization for design in RI, DESIGNxRI works to build value in this sector by investing in RI design talent, increasing strategic assets in the field, and connecting this talent to key opportunities. DESIGN WEEK RI is our annual celebration of design, bringing together design-related gatherings and activities that showcase the innovation and impact of RI design across the state.
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IN APRIL 2018, DESIGNxRI hosted their first Designer’s
Ball, an event to raise funds for the organization, as well as bring alive design in Rhode Island. The theme this year was the Bauhaus Bash and over 425 attendees came out in style! With wildly inspired costumes, great music, a ballet performance, and celebration, the first annual Designer’s Ball was a major hit!
Save the Date 2nd Annual Designer’s Ball April 6, 2019 The Designer’s Ball aims to bring celebration and party to design concepts and themes. As with the Bauhaus Bash, which served to educate about this influential movement — this year celebrating it’s Centennial — the Ball helps shed light (and fun) on eras of design that made great impact on the field then and now. Stay tuned for the 2019 theme — to be announced soon! Photos: John Jacobson
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PROFILE / DESIGN CATALYST
Started: 2012 Location: Providence Focus: Product Design, Health
Hannah Chung and Aaron Horowitz founded Sproutel to focus on the human side of healthcare, and soon after created their first product, Jerry the Bear. Jerry the Bear uses game play to provide comfort to children with Type 1 Diabetes. By checking Jerry’s blood sugar with his glucometer, administering insulin with his pen, and controlling Jerry’s diet, children feel less alone in their journey while also learning about how to take care of themselves with their condition. After many iterations, Jerry the Bear had proven impact, yet a change was needed for the product to get in the hands of more patients. The timing was right then to be accepted in the
2016 Design Catalyst program. With funding, mentorship and peer-to-peer support from the program, Chung and Horowitz could dig into some changes they had been exploring, and the result has been significant.
Sproutel’s growing partnership base has even resulted in Jerry being distributed to all newly diagnosed children in New Zealand through nationwide pediatrics thanks to a partnership with Diabetes New Zealand.
The funding allowed Chung and Horowitz to offset engineering costs and redesign Jerry the Bear. This significantly decrease the price of their product from $300 to a more affordable $55. At the same time, they gained the support they needed to shift from a business to consumer model to a business to business model, ultimately extending reach for the product. The combination has since helped get Jerry the Bear to thousands of families worldwide.
Since the program, Sproutel has progressed rapidly in their B2B model, building new partnerships and expanding distribution channels, while also diving into new product development. They recently launched the My Special Aflac Duck™ — a product developed in collaboration with the Aflac Cancer Center for kids with childhood cancer.
Story by Nicole King. Photos courtesy of Sproutel. RA HA photo: Catherine Chung.
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RA HA Jewelry Started: 2016 Location: Providence Focus: Jewelry Design
RA HA Jewelry is a burgeoning design company making earrings, necklaces and other jewelry with gold, silver and brass. Started by Julia Sullivan, each piece aims to start a conversation, showing the whimsical side of “adornment”. Sullivan didn’t set out to be a jeweler; she studied printmaking at RISD and has always been interested in the quality of a line in her artwork. RA HA Jewelry is a further exploration of this interest.
The healthcare industry is beginning to think about patients’ lives holistically, according to Chung and Horowitz, and [Sproutel’s] aim is to continue with their mission of giving joy and comfort through products. Despite recently growing their team to eight people, their goal to continue expanding their products has challenged them to rapidly produce while maintaining quality. They are dedicated to proving success in a burgeoning industry and assert that distribution will always be a challenge until 100% of children can receive their products.
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In the future, Sproutel is looking at designing products that will serve patients with stress and anxiety, autism, and the elderly. The healthcare industry is beginning to think about patients’ lives holistically, according to Chung and Horowitz, and their aim is to continue with their mission of giving joy and comfort through products.
For this new business, the 2018 Design Catalyst program provided funding and logistical tools needed for Sullivan to develop a business plan. She is dedicated to building more wholesale relationships, selling at craft fairs, and creating new designs. Ultimately, Sullivan gained the know-how to get her business off the ground. RA HA Jewelry is now sold at nearly a dozen stores nationwide.
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Started: 2008 Location: East Providence Focus: Graphic Design, Branding, UX
Ten years ago, working in her home office with her laundry basket next to her computer, Sarah Rainwater founded Studio Rainwater. While her dedication to creating visual experiences for brands has remained the same, she now works with a team in a professional studio space and has grown to deliver in both design impact and business strategy. For Rainwater, an integrated experience across all platforms has become more important than ever. She explains viewers appreciate a clear, comprehensive and cohesive experience overall. And that this begins with a client’s
vision and goals. Here, Rainwater has shifted from design as a deliverable to creative assets as a strategy. Rainwater works with clients to understand their personal and/or business goals. They then establish a creative strategy that’s aligned with these goals. This strategy dictates the designs and ensures all creative assets — such as websites, print pieces, brand, etc. — create a cohesive user experience and message. Sarah is originally from Rhode Island, though spent a number of years outside of the state in both NY and LA. When she wanted to
start her own firm, she decided Providence had the right mix to make it happen. She emphasizes that firms produce better work when working collectively and finds the Providence community is more collaborative than competitive. Ultimately, Rainwater explains, Providence designers complement each other. Her dream for the future is to make her space more collaborative, whether through making Studio Rainwater a shared space or hosting more joint events. She’s excited to help highlight the unique design community that propels Providence forward.
Story by Nicole King. Photos: Rachel Hulin (for Rainwater)
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â€œDesign has the ability to create unpleasant experiences. Having distinct objectives generates consistency across many different platforms which, in turn, builds trust with an audience.â€?
Studio Rainwater will host Clambake, the monthly speaker series for design in RI, on November 6 in East Providence. See designxri.com for details coming soon.
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We asked RI designers their thoughts on these two questions. Here’s what we heard back. What are the future trends in design? Human factors are getting more attention in all design realms — and especially architecture. Its an exciting opportunity to tune our efforts so that people work better, learn better, are happier, and are healthier. It is also a refreshing break from style and form-based conversations which are divisive, and ultimately not helpful in gauging whether the buildings we design are having a positive impact. CHRISTINE WEST
“Design Feeling” is replacing “Design Thinking”. Putting humanity back into design solutions. Inclusivity will go mainstream. MARTIN KEEN
The typeface Blur is going to make a big come-back as well as the color avocado.
I hesitate to call sustainability a trend, but there it is. People are finally catching on, and I am watching more and more manufacturers give careful consideration to what they are putting into design products, and more consumers worried about the chemicals going into the products they use— in their homes, businesses, bodies, etc. It’s only going to ramp up in 2019.
U.S. trade relations with other countries are going to have a nearly immediate impact on design. American businesses now relying on cheap Chinese made goods are probably already working on bringing design manufacturing back home, which is a relief in so many ways. How that will affect pricing remains to be seen.
Since I work primarily on the web and on digital platforms, my focus naturally falls toward that landscape. What’s most exciting to me is the development of layout and typographic capabilities that bring together good graphic design and techniques that are unique to the digital world. While we have work to do in catching up from an educational perspective from both the design school and ‘code camp’ points of view, the potential for a whole new era of design on the web is really exciting. JASON PAMENTAL
Spaces designed to touch all of our senses, drawing us away from our devices and encouraging us to actively engage and create meaningful experiences. LIA DILEONARDO
Trends die fast–successful design is timeless. In my corner of the world, what rings true isn’t trending, it’s about the concept you’ve created and whether or not it can last for the duration you intended…also Fight Club, orange, and anything Beyonce will start trending in March of 2019. JAY BIETHAN
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What design changes, challenges, and/or opportunities will surface in your industry in 2019?
It is impossible to separate architecture from the political turbulence and economic landscape we see today. We need creative solutions to affordable housing, and impacts of climate change on how and what we build. Having said that, never have we had so much access to information resources and communication, and the economy is strong in Rhode Island. It gives me hope that we will remain innovators and produce architecture that benefits the greater good.
All design is changing rapidly because of technology. What presents itself as a challenge better get turned into an opportunity quickly. For interior design, whether through 24 hour design turnarounds on HGTV or do-ityourself design apps, many design enthusiasts have become more certain than ever that they can just “do it themselves.” Proving design value to people with this mentality can be tricky until they fail. I see challenge and opportunity in this as I think about 2019 and the future: we must repeatedly show value through brand identity, marketing and performance. Millennials are growing up and becoming our clients, which is forcing smart designers to diversify: we must widen our offerings to the people we want to call clients—understand them and cater to their specific needs more than ever. It’s a change-driven generation that is unusually used to the instant gratification of a web search. KELLY TAYLOR
We need to do more with less.
The urgency of climate change will continue effect everything we do. Good design solutions will be on the forefront of how we adapt to the changing environment and provide positive solutions for moving forward. This will continue to open up opportunities for new methods, materials and collaboration between disciplines to design and disseminate information.
evolution vs. extinction JAY BIETHAN
My focus over the past couple years has been on the evolution and emergence of variable fonts as a technology and a way of rethinking what we mean by ‘good typography’—and that seems only to be accelerating as events and inquiries start to ramp up for 2019. By enabling far greater design ‘vocal range’, improving performance for the viewer, and unlocking new abilities to tailor the typography to the viewer’s context of use and needs (think type size and contrast for older viewers for example)—I think of this as the most exciting and challenging evolution in designing for the web and devices since responsive design itself.
Remaining acutely aware of unintended consequences of poor product design that can result in negative changes in long term human behavior.
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PellOverton Architects Started: 2003 Location: Providence, New York City Focus: Architecture
Ben Pell believes architecture can be more than a silent backdrop for activity. He works to design spaces that are active participants in our lives, interactions, and communities. By playing with color, materials, and lighting, Pell is interested in how design stimulates different relations between people and their physical environments. After co-founding PellOverton Architects with Tate Overton in New York City during 2003, Pell initially worked on residential spaces. But as his work evolved, he saw opportunity in larger community spaces: places where groups gather, intervene and engage. With this interest, Pell began creating multi-faceted
domestic spaces that encourage people to notice the unique character of surroundings. Pell explains that this develops a space that responds to us, rather than one that simply listens. Determined to curate engagement through spaces, he sought to redesign areas that are often forgotten or neglected, like stairwells and hallways, to encourage previously unanticipated interactions. For instance, Pell designed integrated surfaces throughout a school building for students to display work as a way of establishing a holistic learning environment outside the classroom. Manipulating these boundaries of inside and outside helps Pell achieve his
goals to support and reflect the values of the entire community. By designing spaces that increase opportunities for people to connect, he believes his work is participating in the act of strengthening networks and communities. Many of Pellâ€™s projects are adaptive reuse, which poses unique challenges to accomplishing these goals. When working with the qualities and conditions of existing buildings, environmental hazards and other structural limitations are often present. But, they provide critical resistance which forces Pell to think in innovative ways. These projects encourage him to generate ideas that he would not have otherwise.
Story by Nicole King. Photos courtesy of PellOverton Architects.
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By designing spaces that increase opportunities for people to connect, [Pell] believes his work is participating in the act of strengthening networks and communities. With offices in New York City and Providence, Pell must adapt his approach for these distinct urban contexts. Providenceâ€™s small size allows him the flexibility to think of design in a different scale. According to Pell, creative partnership seems to be the trajectory of the architecture and design industry as a whole: with the expansion of technology, people are more connected, allowing diverse design fields to connect and innovate together.
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Pell is committed to working with institutions that are creative in their nature, and remains dedicated to working with centers of community, such as museums and small cultural spaces. Having been in Providence for only a year, he is excited to get more involved in the collaborative and dynamic creative community heâ€™s found here.
Ben Pell is partnering with Ted Peffer at IOLabs to host a talk during DESIGN WEEK RI 2018. See the schedule and website for more details. AIA CEU apply.
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Started: 2000 Location: Providence, Amsterdam, San Francisco Focus: Experience Design
In an evolving high-tech environment, Nick Scappaticci remains dedicated to designing culturally meaningful experiences using emerging technology. Eighteen years ago, when Tellart was founded in Providence, Scappaticci and his design partners caught the emergence of experience design and its’ potential to fuel consumer and brand experience. They’ve since been working with clients to invent products, innovate, and tell stories that inspire an audience towards actionable outcomes. In an experience economy, Scappaticci explains, businesses must orchestrate memorable events for customers where the memory of these events becomes
the product. Tellart interprets businesses’ content to design an immersive experience that optimizes the consumers’ interaction with their product or brand. By pushing the limits of tools and platforms, Tellart’s work plays a crucial role in establishing the customer’s relationship to their clients by focusing on the entire arc of their visual, physical and virtual engagement. Thus, technology creates opportunities to change the way brands tell their stories. But it also creates challenges as it rapidly shifts and grows. The pace with which we adopt new technologies, Scappaticci explains, produces a cycle of constant evolution: the moment one platform becomes
comfortable and familiar, it will likely be outdated. With this, Tellart works to build more multidisciplinary teams to understand new materials and use future foresight to get ahead of challenges. Currently, the Tellart team is interested in thinking about future projects that tap machine learning that can pick up patterns and behaviors to become more predictive, and in turn work to present new information quickly to affect a person’s experience. Scappaticci believes that the rapid advancement of the experiences available to us has as much to do with culture and shared beliefs as with technology.
Story by Nicole King. Photos courtesy of Tellart.
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In an experience economy, the memory of events becomes the product.
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SHAPE PERCEPTIONS BUILD RELATIONSHIPS INSPIRE CHANGE
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Thank you to our many collaborators and funders that have taken active part in advancing DxRI initiatives since our founding: A Better World by Design (add)ventures AIA RI AIGA RI
An economic builder, collaborator and communicator for the design sector in RI
ASID New England / RI Chapter Blue Cross Blue Shield of RI Bradford Soap Business Innovation Factory Carrie Chatterson Studio City of Providence DownCity Design DYNAMO Governor’s Workforce Board Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses at CCRI IIDA New England Johnson & Wales University Kelly Taylor Interior Design KITE Architects Libby Slader Interior Design New England Institute of Technology Orange Square
DESIGNxRI (DxRI) celebrates, promotes and empowers Rhode Island’s rich design community — fueling innovation, enhancing business, and raising the quality of life locally and globally. As the go-to hub for design in Rhode Island, we coalesce, invest in and grow design businesses in our state, helping design create ripple effects throughout the world.
Providence Tourism Council RI ASLA RI Commerce Corporation RI Foundation RI Department of Labor & Training RI School of Design RI State Council on the Arts Signature Printing Social Enterprise Greenhouse Taylor Box Company Ximedica Also including: Clambake Committee, Partners Designer’s Ball Committee, Partners, Sponsors
Providence’s Department of Art, Culture & Tourism
events and programs
attendees and participants
designers and design businesses showcased
invested in RI design *through 2017
Design Catalyst Mentors DESIGN FORWARD RI Employer Partners DESIGN WEEK RI Committee, Partners, Sponsors Our numerous interns and volunteers! Designers, design business, design-driven employers, and the community at large.
“Rhode Island may be small, but the size of the design community is great and palpable. The talent is local, but the impact is global.” designxri.com
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Design. It’s Here. The Rhode Island design community’s platform for global engagement. designisrhodeisland.com
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