Design for Social Impact
May 25–August 3, 2014
Based on the idea that design is a way of looking at the world with an eye for changing it, the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) presents Design for Social Impact, an original exhibition offering a look at how designers, engineers, students, professors, architects and social entrepreneurs use design to solve the problems of the 21st century.

Japanese Design Today 100
June 27–July 19, 2014
The Japan Foundation presents the World premiere of the exhibition Japanese Design Today 100, which opens at UCLA’s Department of Architecture & Urban Design at Perloff Hall. This exhibition showcases the Designscape of contemporary Japan through 100 objects of Japanese design: 89 objects created since 2010 that are well known in Japan, as well as 11 objects that represent the origin of Japanese post-war modern product design. These 100 product designs are displayed in 10 categories: Classic Japanese Design, Furniture & Housewares, Tableware & Cookware, Apparel & Accessories, Children, Stationery, Hobbies, Healthcare, Disaster Relief, and Transportation.

BAM/PFA New Building Topping Out Celebration
July 17, 2014
Construction is nearing midpoint at the downtown Berkeley site of the future home of the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA). Workers will soon be erecting the last of the steel beams that form the frame of this dynamic building. To celebrate this important milestone, BAM/PFA invites its Bay Area friends and neighbors to a “topping out” ceremony on Addison Street, between Shattuck Avenue and Oxford Street.

39th Annual American Craft Council San Francisco Show
August 8–10, 2014

The American Craft Council returns to San Francisco for its 39th Annual American Craft Council San Francisco Show this August 8-10, 2014 at Fort Mason Center. As the largest juried fine craft show on the West Coast, the 2014 San Francisco Show is expected to draw more than 12,000 fine craft collectors and design enthusiasts.

Conversations in Place 2014
August 10, 2014
ow in its third year, Conversations in Place 2014 begins another series of illuminating explorations of “Southern California – Yesterday and Tomorrow” at the historic Rancho Los Alamitos. The 4-part series begins Sunday, August 10 and continues through Sunday, November 2. The series begins with W. Richard West, Jr, President and CEO of The Autry National Center of the American West, Milford Wayne Donaldson, FAIA, chairman of the United States Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and Pamela Seager, Executive Director of Rancho Los Alamitos, and Architect Stephen Farneth, FAIA, founding partner of the award-winning historic preservation firm Architectural Resources Group, in conversation about the place of museums and historic sites in shaping the story of Southern California. Can these institutions escape the straightjacket of the time to better interpret history to the 21st century?

NOW AND NEXT 2014 Symposium on Technology for Design and Construction
August 13–15, 2014
Meet thought leaders and colleagues interested in architecture, engineering, construction, open BIM Exchange, software trends and more. Learn about the innovations that are moving companies and people forward
including: where and how design and delivery is shifting; which software applications are transformative; best practices for collaborative project delivery; how to engage with the global BIM community. Connect with and hear from the best and the brightest such as Jordan Brandt, AutoDesk; Deke Smith, buildingSMART alliance; Ray Topping, Fiatech; Bill East, Prairie  Sky Consulting (formerly of the US Army Corps of Engineers).

Archtoberfest San Diego 2014
October 1–30, 2014
Archtoberfest San Diego 2014 is a collaboratively-operated initiative aimed at establishing an annual, month-long program of public events and activities pertaining to architecture, design, planning and sustainability.

New Urbanism Film Festival
November 2014
The primary goal of the New Urbanism Film Festival is to renew the dialogue about urban planning with a broader audience. The Festival brings in movies, short films, speakers, on the topics of architecture, public health, bicycle advocacy, urban design, public transit, inner-city gardens, to name a few. 



Deadline: August 18

Deadline: September 2
Hansgrohe+Axor Das Design Competition

Deadline: September 5

2014 Designer Dream Bath Competition

Deadline: December 31
Kitchen Design Contest
Wolf and Sub-Zero 

FORM Event Images

Industry Partners




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Inspired Match - How Patronage Drives Architecture

From Medici to Marx, how patronage drives architecture and what we can learn from it today.

By John Gendall

Nottingham Science Park, Image: Martine Hamilton-KnightHistorians position the Renaissance’s birth in Florence, Italy around the year 1400. They give it this coordinate in place and time because of a perfect storm of conditions: a wealth of talent pouring out from several accomplished workshops (Lorenzo Ghiberti, Fra Angelico, and Filipo Brunelleschi), a thriving economy owing to bustling trade, and, importantly, an ambitious and tasteful patron of the arts, the Medici family, willing to invest in provocative new art and architecture. In the midst of the Bubonic Plague, the revelation of the Florentine patrons served as a guiding light, paving they way for the exquisite work of the high renaissance. In other words, without the Medicis, there would have been no Michelangelo.

The same relationship between patron and architect carries through architectural history, with nobility, religious leaders, business owners tapping architectural talent to give opportunity and, in many
cases, a sense of legitimacy to their achievements.

Then came Marx.

Though patrons have long been regarded as indispensible partners in the advancement of architectural ideas, they have spent decades as architecture’s whipping boy, sent out to the shed because of their complicity with Capitalism. In the 20th century, visionary patronage drove many now-iconic projects. Darwin D. Martin plucked a young Frank Lloyd Wright to design the Larkin Company Headquarters along with his own Prairie Style residential estates, in Buffalo, New York, encouraging
Wright to develop his novel approaches while simultaneously creating monuments of early 20th century design. The Savoye family, who took a risk with their villa in Poissy, France, enabled Le Corbusier to
create the definitive icon of High Modernism: a white box with ribbon windows elevated on pilotis.

A patron willing to believe in the designer’s artistic vision supported each of these architects. But the model soon changed: inspired by new industrial potential, architects, working largely with socialist states, took aim at creating social housing. In the 1960s and 70s, riding a wave of Marxist criticism, designers imagined a condition where the patron could be eliminated altogether, creating an architecture free from outside influence evident in much of Peter Eisenman’s early work, most notably his houses of cards. Others followed: Rem Koolhaas, Bernard Tschumi, John Hejduk and Aldo Rossi, while the preeminent Italian critic and historian Manfredo Tafuri and Harvard professor K. Michael Hays contributed to the theoretical backbone of the movement. The Autonomy Project so called because of its aspiration to design independent from the patron.

A painter or sculptor, so the theory goes, can from his or her own studio and with his or her own materials, paint or sculpt independently, without the corrupting interference of outside influences. Therefore, the product—art—is pure form, the exclusive immanence of the artist’s thought. Architecture, on the other hand, demands a sponsor with a vision—and a pocketbook—to first hire an architect, then
realize a project. In this process, an architect becomes beholden to other interests—the Church, the State, or the Corporation, known collectively by Marxist critics as the Ideological State Apparatus. It is
within this framework that architects and critics have developed an antagonistic, even contemptuous, stance toward developers.

Now that Marx’s reign over criticism is no longer hegemonic, it is possible (and indeed necessary) to reevaluate architectural patronage. Theory aside, the current economic climate carries with it a powerful reminder about the pragmatic value of patrons. Thanks to a growing group of visionary developers, this reappraisal of the patron’s role can be made readily and convincingly.

Consider Jonathan Rose, a New York-based developer whose mission is not simply to turn a profit, but rather to profit while transforming communities in a socially responsible way. To this end, he oversees
the development of mixed-use, mixed-income, transit-accessible communities with a cultural program. Entering wealthy resort communities—the Hamptons in New York, and Frisco, Colorado—and devising comprehensive plans that reconstitute the regions so that the local, lower-income workforce that serves the weekend vacationers can afford to live in the community.

In order for patronage to serve as a catalyst of great design, the patron must learn how to successfully find an architectural match.

Meanwhile in England, Igloo, a property investment firm specializing in socially responsible projects, is at work on a diverse portfolio. In 2006, the United Nations designated the company as the “world’s first
socially responsible property fund.” Igloo normally selects a team of different architects to give the design multiple voices. The firm also works with an urban designer from beginning to end, helping to guide its effort to create cohesive and meaningful spaces. The company operates under four guiding principles: outstanding design quality, environmental sustainability, social progress for its inhabitants, and the promotion of health, happiness and wellbeing.

Citing recent research into the science of happiness, chief executive Chris Brown is convinced neighborhoods are fundamental in that pursuit. Igloo’s work, however, is no simple act of altruism. “Our projects are all commercially driven,” he says. “Our values allow us to work successfully in a market niche. ” In order for patronage to serve as a catalyst of great design, the patron must learn how to successfully find an architectural match. “Good design comes from the relationship between architect and client,” says Brown. “We work hard on the brief, we do extensive community engagement, and we select architects with a certain style. “

Image: Martine Hamilton-KnightRem Koolhaas, in a memorable 2006 interview with the German newspaper Der Spiegel, said: “Today’s architecture is subservient to the market and its terms. The market has supplanted ideology. Architecture has turned into a spectacle. It has to package itself and no longer has significance as anything but a landmark.”

True, perhaps, but if the market has appropriated some of the ideologies that once drove Modern architecture—social housing, inventive formal solutions—then architecture can reclaim its significance as something more than a mere landmark. It can once again emerge from the boudoir and get back to solving the problems that once inspired the Modernist architects.

It was a medieval Florentine banking market that unlocked the Renaissance, a soap business near the busy Erie Canal that changed the game for Wright, and a thriving Parisian insurance company that permitted Le Corbusier, in his estimation, to create for Modernism what the Parthenon created for Antiquity. “We live in markets,” says Brown.“ This is an issue about markets. At the end of the day, this is a battle for people’s investment dollars, and that’s a battle we want to win.”

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