Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Observing NEOCON 2009

Neocon is ironic for me. I live in Vermont. Chicago is skyscrapers and hard materials. I live in a horizontal place with softer textures and cuves. Face it, we're close to the land in Vermont. Not here though. They are close to the water. It's different.

Much of the furniture, equipment and building materials, finishes on display here don't resonate with where I come from with our homespun progressive values, mud season and blackflies socio-cultural themes.

However, what is totally great about attending are the aesthetics and the style of everything here. Most everything is built or configured with clean crisp lines and or combinations of interesting organic materials, patterns and finishes. It's kind of an aesthetic tune up if you will. This is always helpful in design. This place is inspirational.

Also, there are great glasses here as designers including myself where somewhat unusual eyewear. It's like a holiday for eyeglass designers. I can laugh at myself can't I? Matt Penney a talented metal designer and bike builder in Burlington, Vt helped me rescue my Gaultier Glasses which broke a nose bridge a few years back. He did a bang up job reinterpreting the bridge with skinny threaded rods.

Aesthetics aside, what's been truly rewarding is meeting a wide variety of people who share similar values about the need for increased efforts in sustainbility and green thinking coupled with more effective work place design. I continue to remain interested in redesigning and reimagining behavior dovetailing with with those interests. Highlights include:
  • Attending Steelcase's Green Giants presentation Monday, June 15 where Public Architecture, Charity Water.org and Bill Strickland of the Manchester School presented their efforts to redefine public spirited pro-bono architecture, water scarcity and system solutions with a conscience and finally the story of school system helping inner city kids with their education with facilities designed with Steelcase beliefs in mind.
  • Attending Thomas Kostigen's Luncheon Seminar on You are Here and The Green Book.
  • Meeting industry systems furniture representatives from Steelcase, Herman Miller among others to continue our conversations about bettering the planet through our mutual work spheres and continuous improvement of our efforts. It's heartwarming to carry on these conversations. Also, they help me grow in my desire to learn about work place strategies and organizational behavior and how these interact with sustainbility notions.
  • Dan Pink's key note address on his new work seeking to understand new notions regarding Motivation and what does or doesn't get us going, to act or not to act.
  • Paola Antonelli's address on the wide lense of design thinking she sees at the MOMA in New York. Lots of unsual suggestions of inspirations to look up and write about. She's also a TedTalks speaker.
So that's my brief set of observations. There's more but I've run out of writing and thinking energy. I'll be back though. You can count on me.

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