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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The FORM Questionnaire: A Conversation with Vivian Kwok

Vivian Kwok's work at MBH include a Neiman Marcus location in Walnut Creek, California. Image courtesy, MBH.

As part of our ongoing series of interviews with designers and architects, we speak to Vivian Kwok. She's a senior designer at MBH in San Franscisco, where she's worked on projects including a recent Neiman Marcus in Walnut Creek, California. An intensely private person, as you will see below, we're delighted to have her share her thoughts on architecture—and music. 

What direction do you see the profession heading?  

Today, we are seeing more technological advances which directly impact our lifestyle. If it’s through carrying your life in your pocket with your iPhone, connecting with friends and clients on social media, or even tracking down your favorite food truck; it seems that everything is mobile and everything is shared. We see this innovation in architecture as well. The process itself is more collaborative, and clients want mobility and freedom in their architecture to suit the needs of their customers or staff. We are also seeing a wave of modular architecture, which capitalizes on the industry’s ability to design with flexibility in mind. These increasing pushes for mobility and connectivity are very exciting, as they demand innovation in architectural form from the designer.

What buildings inspire you? 

Growing up, one was the Sydney Opera House. As a visual person, I was drawn to the poetic, sculptural architecture of the building, and its incredible use of geometry to create a beautiful performance space. I was inspired by the fact that it was immediately recognizable, an icon known around the world, based not only on its location and importance to the people, but also on its architecture.  

Another place is Louis Kahn’s Salk Institute in San Diego. My appreciation of this building is not only the clean lines and the simple materials that stand the test of time, but also the experience of being in the space. Kahn created an incredible experiential environment, where one walks through the built space into a breathtaking plaza that opens onto the water. This is a structure that uses the surroundings and the coastline in a way that complements and enhances its natural beauty, rather than imposing architecture over the environment.

Recently, I have been fascinated by Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia Cathedral. I am so struck by the fact that it is still under construction today, and that Gaudi had the faith to start a building that would need to be finished by technologies not yet invented. It is an incredible monument to the continuing evolution of architecture, and a beautiful example of architecture as an evolving and living structure.

Where else do you find inspiration?

I grew up playing classical music, so I often find inspiration and reflection in music. Listening to the rhythmic, melodic patterns in the composition of classical music is beautiful and calming to me . . . a great emotional outlet. Additionally, I love nature; forests and ocean beaches are incredible spaces that allow me to relax and think.

Courtesy MBHWhat are your three favorite objects? 

My violin: Through all the years having played the violin, a hobby passed down from my dad, it has become almost like a companion in life, your trusted instrument or voice to channel your emotions. Unfortunately, it has been several years now since I’ve last touched my violin, but I do wish one day soon to be able to pick it back up, to share this passion with the next generation of my family.

My camera: I love taking photos, although these days I take a lot of iPhone photos, because it’s so convenient to use.

My triple insulated stainless steel EcoVessel water bottle! I know it’s strange, but this thing is amazing. I carry it everywhere with me. I love coming back to the car after a long hike baking in the heat and having water that’s still ice cold! 

Who are some of your favorite young architects?

Not necessarily “young,” but I really admire the work of Tod Williams and Billie Tsien; the thoughtfulness behind the materials they use and forms they construct are inspiring. I love the American Folk Museum and was so sad to hear that it may be demolished. As a Cal alum, I enjoy experiencing the majestic UC Berkeley East Asian Library, where their design not only elegantly balanced a mix of materials (stone, concrete, wood, bronze and other metals), but also integrated the use of natural light throughout.

Another favorite is Maya Lin. Although she’s in her 50s now, I think that in my mind she will forever be preserved at the age when she designed the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial. She was such an important role model to me growing up, as a young Asian woman who challenged everyone’s assumption of who could create a timeless war memorial during a very heated period in history.

Another is Thomas Heatherwick. He came to my attention when he designed the UK Pavillion for the expo in China. His whimsical “Seed Pavilion” had such incredible artistry and naturally inspired design. I recently looked him up and saw that he also designed the flower petal Cauldron for the London Summer Olympic Games! I remember watching in awe during the opening ceremony, the convergence of the separate flames representing each nation into one unified flame, symbolizing the Olympic spirit of peace and togetherness.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be (a location or specific structure)?

I love living close to the ocean, so I’m happy that the Bay Area is my home. Although it’s a little bit cliché, I would love to live in the paradise of Kaua’i. The natural beauty and the ocean are incredible there, and I find it very peaceful.

A decade from now, what trends will be cringeworthy?

There’s no specific designing trend that jumps to mind. I suppose that I dislike faux-material like the decorative exterior foam insulation that is on some buildings now. I like it when designs stay true to the material, rather than finding synthetic substitutes. 

What currents trends will stand the test of time?

The movement towards sustainable green design is gaining more and more momentum. I think that in the future it will become normalized and standard in our industry to build sustainably. As peoples’ impact on the earth becomes increasingly severe, we are going to have to develop more innovative ways of creating green and sustainable buildings.

Color—yes or no?

Yes! There is so much personality in color; it makes people happy.

What are you reading?

I just started Sheryl Sandburg’s Lean In. She’s a very inspiring figure for women, and I’m excited to read it.

What are you wearing? 

Blue jeans, a persimmon colored shirt, a flyaway grey sweater, and a floral scarf that my sister gave me.

What are you eating? 

I’m really bad at eating breakfast, but this morning I had some of those Trader Joe’s coconut chips.

Do you listen to music while you're working?

Yes, when I can, but as I manage more projects, I have to be aware of what is going on around me. If I need to focus in, I like to listen to soundtracks. Joe Hisaishi is one of my favorite classical soundtrack composers—he’s done Nausicaa and Spirited Away among many.

Are you a sketcher or a computer person? 

A mix of them both. If I’m generating ideas, I begin by sketching to draw from any inspiration and to look at the big picture. However, a computer allows you to get into the details, and so much of our work is technologically focused these days.

Social media—yes or no? 

Yes, I use social media to keep in touch with friends and to keep up on the news. However, I am a very private person, and try to minimize what I publish about myself on the internet.



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