Day one has ended at Gravity Free: 2008, and the content at Lee Knight's creative think tank has lived up to the high standards set at previous events. Billed as "The Year of Dangerous Minds," this year's conference at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry has already featured a provocative mix of multidisciplinary creatives.
The event kicked off with Charles White III, a forefather of modern illustration and experience design. White showcased an impressive body of work that spanned decades and genres, and featured a seemingly boundless imagination. Key takeaways of White's talk: show the ordinary in unexpected ways and work for dictators who will champion your cause. Well put, Mr. White.
Interaction designers Ryan Genz and Francesca Rosella followed, with a thought-provoking look at wearable experiences being developed by their firm, CuteCircuit
. Merging fashion and technology, prototypes like the Hug Shirt, Mobile Phone Dress, Skate Hoodie and Kinetic Dress seek to bring real human interaction back to the often arms-length experience of this so-called social technology. If it gets us out of our cubes again, I'm in.
, interior designer and self-professed "society decorator," took the stage next, reminding everyone why they got into the design business to begin with. His passion for his craft, and excitement for color, was infectious and inspiring. When asked what makes an experience great, Drake talked about people falling in love and recapturing a fresh point of view. Powerful stuff.
After a short break (Mr. Knight likes to keep it moving), green architect Michelle Kaufmann was up, showcasing the Smart Home designed by her firm, MKD
. Touting the benefits of modular housing (and the incredible waste of site built structures), Kaufmann showed how design and innovation meet to bring simple, green living to the masses. It's wonderful to be green, but I want one of these houses because the design is so cool!
Hat designer/milliner Rod Keenan followed Kaufmann, giving everyone a glimpse into the art and craft of hat design. Gracing the heads of celebrities including Mary J. Blige, Brad Pitt and Elvis Costello, Keenan's design has set the bar in the fashion world for years. The amazing attention to detail in Keenan's work reminded us all that great design often comes to life in the smallest details.
Day one ended with an amazing talk by graphic designer, Stefan Sagmeister
. Taking us through his latest book, "Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far
," Sagmeister punctuated the day with an incredible statement about the power of design to reach, inspire and move. His intensely personal and raw approach to design defies description. Go read his book, I am.
Well, as you can see, it was a good day in Chicago. More updates from Gravity Free: 2008 will be coming soon. If you're at the show, let me know what you think of it so far.