Highlights and Lowlights ...
The AIA convention in Miami finished on June 12th and was mostly memorable for the 90+ degree heat and 75% humidity. There was a good crowd and, as always, many old friends in attendance but it had nothing like the energy of the good old build-fests of San Diego and Chicago. Exhibit booths this year seemed to be dominated by software and products appropriate for institutional and public work. I always salivate over the elegant Italian pavilion featuring the world's prettiest ceramic tile and the best free chocolate. Retro highlights of the residential lines were a fantastic Zoom-Room hide-a-bed display with an automated bed retractor and a cool new line of appliances by Electrolux, a solid name from the past. Lowlights included the huckster pitching smoothie blenders. Yeeeks.
Educational sessions featured green design and government projects, which are old hat in California but I suspect there are states where government work is the only game in town. The press room was truly deluxe, and I appreciated the hospitality between my long stints of walking and sitting. Surprise sighting on the exhibit floor was Michael Graves in his wheelchair with a lovely child on his lap. I was very glad to see him out and about after taking such a low profile for the last several years. The convention, and the AIA in general, would benefit from more notables showing up in support and reminding us of the large and creative tent we all live under.
Keynote speaker Daniel Pink received very high marks from all who attended his presentation, "Building Design for the New Decade: The Role of Right-Brain Thinking in a Modern Economy." We must all rush out to purchase his book, A Whole New Mind.
Next year New Orleans! Pray for good weather and a clean coastline.