The 2015 Core77 Conference kicks off in Los Angeles just nine weeks from today. Yesterday, we introduced our first conference session, Collaboration Now, featuring speakers from Google, Levi's, Sonos, The Hydrous and Future Partners. Today, we're back with a preview of our second session, Making Now, which will look into the literal making-of process behind a variety of innovative design projects.
Our first speaker is Nadine Schelbert, director of design and branding at WET, the firm responsible for spectacular water features at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, the Dubai Fountain and New York's Lincoln Center, to name just a few of its more than 200 installations. Schelbert leads a multidisciplinary team of conceptual designers, illustrators, animators, interaction designers, cinematographers, photographers and others. In her presentation she'll give us a behind-the-scenes look at how WET designs, engineers and fabricates its own plumbing, wiring, circuitry and software to realize its fiendishly complex installations.
The Dubai Fountain employs nearly 1,500 individually choreographed water jets and over a thousand fog jets.
(Conference attendees will also have the opportunity to tour the WET facility in Sun Valley, with its rich environment of studios, labs, shops and playgrounds—it's one of the optional field trips we're offering the morning after the conference.)
Next, one of Core77's editors will sit down for a conversation with the Los Angeles lighting and furniture designer Brendan Ravenhill. As he told us in a 2013 interview, Ravenhill started out as a wooden boat builder but transitioned into mass-producible objects via RISD, starting his own company after graduating in 2009 and moving it west the following year. In LA, his practice is based on finding local manufacturers to partner with, and figuring out how those manufacturers' particular skills and capabilities can drive a design. You can see the results of one recent collaboration in the following video:
A look at the making of Ravenhill's Grain Drum pendant light
After that conversation, we'll have a presentation by another prominent LA maker, Tanya Aguiñiga, an artist, designer and activist whose work spans textiles, furniture, accessories and installations. As she told us in an interview earlier this year, her work is "constantly evolving, but a lot of it is about making community and being a responsible human being—using craft and art as a way to diversify conversations in society, and to bring attention to social issues that are in need of attention."
An Aguiñiga installation for the exhibition SHEvening in Los Angeles last May
Finally, we've invited Ayse Birsel to lead an interactive conversation that interprets our Making Now theme a little differently. Birsel is the Chief De:Re Officer of Birsel + Seck—and she's also the architect of a series of Design the Life You Love workshops that teach participants how to make their lives their biggest design project. Now she's publishing a book of the same title, which comes out just a couple weeks before the conference. In her presentation, Birsel will describe how her ID practice led to these life-design activities—and lead audience members in an exercise from the new book (pens and sketchbooks will be provided).
Following her presentation, we'll break for lunch—and Birsel will be signing copies of her book. Then the afternoon will kick off with our third conference session, Business Now, featuring a design firm that gives away more than half its work to pro-bono services, and a pair of back-to-back conversations on the realities of running a design studio today. We'll have a preview of those speakers on Monday. If you're ready to buy tickets, don't forget to pull the trigger by August 31, the last day for early-bird pricing.
Mason Currey is a former Core77 editor and the author of Daily Rituals: How Artists Work. Previously, he was the executive editor of Print and the managing editor of Metropolis. His freelance writing has appeared in the New York Times and Slate, among other publications. He lives in Los Angeles.