DesignPhiladelphia Marches Toward Year-Round Programming
"Urbanism or tactical urbanism, the blurring of art and design and craft, and innovation and technology,” DesignPhiladelphia’s
Executive Director Hillary Jay names these three tracts to describe the 2012 festival’s 120 events in five days
, running Wed., October 10 through Sunday, Oct. 14.
In its eighth year and three-year partnership with the University of the Arts
, DesignPhiladelphia joins organizations and individuals, presenting events and exhibitions that industry professionals, design historians, athletes, families, and even armchair architects and designers can appreciate and participate.
Festival events stretch from traditional design formats (graphic design to architecture to interiors) to physical and performative tasks (urban and mural walking tours, interactive puzzles, and bicycle outings through unchartered terrain) to mind enriching (a green housing tour, web business construction, and printmaking tutorial).
DesignPhiladelphia’ contribution to the Festival is Oct. 10’s Popup Place which creates a design playground in the architectural salvage warehouse, Provenance Architecturals, located 912 Canal Street, through projections by Nadia Hironaka and Matt Suib, a socially responsible fashion (SoReFa) show, Public Workshop’s life size cardboard puzzles for the participant to craft structures, food from 12th Street Catering, craft cocktails from Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, and an outdoor lounge area from local manufacturer, Bonsai Homes.
“One of our stronger partners this year is coming from the City of Philadelphia. We’ve got four different departments participating in DesignPhiladelphia. That’s very new and very different. It’s also an indication to us that the city sees the importance of design in what they’re working on and how it has an economic impact on the future of the city,” Jay relays.
Special Projects and Public Relations Manager Emaleigh Doley says, “The entire festival is open participation, and so for the most part, [the organizations] are independently producing them so they have their own audiences and following, and because they are all different and they cross design disciplines as well, they are looking to engage new and different audiences. So it’s really a huge cross section of people participating and audience members.”
DesignPhiladelphia 2012 marks the first year where events will continue beyond the Festival. Jay reveals, “We’re moving into a year round programming situation where there will be things going on that will hopefully inspire and educate people about what’s going on.”
Jay asserts that the time for design is powerful.
"I think that we’re moving out of a period of manufacturing into a period of innovation," she says. "So it seems to me that the more and more we prepare ourselves we prepare ourselves for innovating and creating opportunities and collaborating with each other, the more we are going to have a strong national economic force on our hands.”
Five Green Kinetic Design Events
1) Sustainable Streets Scavenger Hunt
The Mayor's Office of Transportation and Utilities and the Philadelphia Water Department
October 13 | 11:00-1:00 PM
Columbus Square Recreation Center
1200 Wharton St
One of the festival’s city partnerships, the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD), Mayor’s Office of Transportation & Utilities (MOTU) and the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability join forces to present a hunt
where foot or bike teams face a moving quizzo, touring the city’s storm water runoff and street design features Philadelphia’s urban planners installed to keep Philadelphia’s infrastructure and citizen’s fashionably protected. The educational race will preview the water department’s design pilot projects to keep Philadelphia functional for years to come. The highest scoring team can win eco prizes such as rain barrels and bicycle racks. Why else is this amazing race competing? It’s part of Mayor Nutter’s mission to make “Philadelphia the greenest city in America.”
2) Bridge + Tunnel Bike Ride
Trophy Bikes, University City
Oct 14 | 12:15 PM - 4:30 PM
30th St. Station
If you’re considering this athletic trek, Trophy Bike’s Michael McGettigan has some advice, “Bridges and tunnels are gritty, rough roads, dramatic views, gloomy overhangs. Definitely you want to bring your bike with the toughest tires. It’s not for a skinny tired race bike--hybrids, cruisers, and any kind of urban or cross bike would be good. It’s not going to be fast, a few places where you have to ride fast, if you have to jump curb, but if you’re really nervous, we’ll have somebody carry your ride up the steps. It’s an intrepid ride. You should be comfortable riding in the city. This is not for someone who has never ridden. It’s safest riding in a group.”
This design ride will showcase new and old architecture, the underground, and places that can only be accessed by bikes so one should bring a camera or sketchbook as well as an extra bicycle tube in case of flats. McGettigan philosophizes, “What makes Philadelphia great is a city with good bones, meaning the infrastructure, even though it’s a bit battered, we have strong tunnels and bridges that have been put in over a hundred years.”
3) Popup Playground
PHS & Public Workshop
Oct 13 | 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Philadelphia Horticultural Society
1905 Walnut Street
Reprising the possibilities of Pop Up place, Public Workshop’s Alex Gilliam and area teens will create a wonderland in the urban gardens. The freestanding structures will be installed one week before the event. The Horticultural Society and Public Workshop will supply some hands on building activities for children, proving that any child with materials has the potential to design buildings and monuments.
4) Green Wall Design
October 13 | 4-5:30 p.m.
1526 East Passyunk Avenue
In lofts, row homes, and other small urban spaces, designers are looking upward and into incorporating vegetation at the same time. Greening spaces vertically with textual elements is a natural alternative to toxins in wallpaper and paints. Commercial spaces and museums have included green wall design through art installations that are living and breathing. Environmentally sound, a green wall removes pollution from the air and provides more oxygen producing plants. Urban Jungle in South Philadelphia is offering an educational festival experience in this art form.
Urban Jungle’s Curt Alexander cautions intrepid wall designers to attend this workshop before they begin, “There are a lot of challenges with keeping a green wall alive, so one needs to do some research and run some trials before they take on a huge project. By attending the demonstration, you will receive a firsthand guide from a company that has installed over 40 green walls in Philadelphia. ”
5) FAST FORWARD Philly
Organization?AIA Philadelphia Associates Committee/Young Architects Forum (YAF)
October 10 |6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Center for Architecture, 1218 Arch Street
Each presenter has only twenty slides and twenty seconds to comment on the question, “What’s next for Philly?” Encouraging participation from Philadelphia’s youngest leaders, this event presents a juried response to the city’s most probing question: what is in our future? Speakers are encouraged to reveal their solutions to the problems of daily life and economic struggles as well as offer new perspectives on historically challenging circumstances to shift perceptions on the greater Philadelphia region.
BONNIE MACALLISTER is a multi-media artist, grant writer and journalist residing in West Philly. Her work has appeared in Tom Tom Magazine, Toronto Quarterly, Nth Position (U.K.) and Grasp (Czech Republic). Send feedback here.