Last night's panel discussion, nicely moderated by Kimberly Oliver and featuring Paul Rowan, Mary McBride, Aric Chen, Carl Alviani, and Jason Miller, was a fun and affectionate evening hosted at Sublime and attended by some usual and some unusual suspects. The theme was potent enough and the panelists did their best to tackle the premise but the whole question of what "American Design" is (or should be, or might be) is a slippery beast for sure. The most interesting bits revealed themselves when panelists fought against the term entirely, and Mary McBride, Professor of Business and Public Policy at NYU, and Director of Design management Graduate Program at Pratt, brought in the big guns by questioning what the real metrics (and destiny) of American design are. There wasn't enough talk about the perceived value of design versus the real costs of design (human, fuel, waste, etc.), but at least the panelists owned up to the fact that, at least last night, they were talking about housewares & furniture rather than a broader spectrum of design or design thinking or design strategy. Still, some good commentary by the group, a couple impassioned questions/speeches from the audience, and a nice way to spend a gorgeous Wednesday evening in New York City. American design indeed.
Allan Chochinov is a partner of Core77, a New York-based design network serving a global community of designers and design enthusiasts, and Chair of the new MFA in Products of Design graduate program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Allan lectures around the world and at professional conferences including IDSA, AIGA and IxDA, has been a guest critic at various design schools in including Yale University, IIT, Carnegie Mellon, Ravensbourne, RMIT, University of Minnesota, Emily Carr, and RISD. He has moderated and led workshops and symposia at the Aspen Design Conference, the Rockefeller Center at Bellagio, Compost Modern, and Winterhouse, and is a frequent design competition juror. Prior to Core77, his work in product design focused on the medical, surgical, and diagnostic fields, as well as on consumer products and workplace systems. He has been named on numerous design and utility patents and has received awards from The Art Directors Club, I.D. Magazine, Communication Arts, and The One Club.