Week 4 - Dwell On Design / by Caroline Ingalls

Airbnb Head of Strategy Chip Conley and Ace Hotel President and CEO Brad Wilson discuss the boutique hotel movement along with others at Dwell On Design 2014 in New York City.  

This past week I had the great opportunity to attend the first ever Dwell On Design conference in New York City after the magazine's recent move to the east coast from San Francisco.  It was a packed three days of presentations from world renowned designers, architects, researchers and CEO's from companies and organizations large and small such as Architecture for Humanity, Daniel Libeskind (World Trade Center architect), Airbnb, Ace Hotel, Perkins + Will, Gensler, Ikea and the list goes on.  It was quite a valuable experience for me as a budding designer to listen to all of these well-accomplished and knowledgable people speak about what they do and where they see the future of design taking us.  

I collected a lot of really great quotes and ideas from these people, and I would like to share some of them here because they are too good.  Michela O'Connor Abrams, CEO of Dwell Media, spoke about The New Face of Affluence, making some key points that "a good design professional is collaborative, a good listener, has creative ideas and adds value.  Have a business model that allows meaningful relationships, conversation and communication.  It's not about the Jones's anymore, it's about your sense."  This statement was put so simply, and it is important for all of us, no matter what your profession is, to remember these key takeaways for success.  

Another great talk was given on Building for Resiliency by Robin Guenther, Principal of Perkins + Will and Senior Advisor to Health Care Without Harm, Eric Cesal, Executive Director of Architecture for Humanity, and John Cetra of CetraRuddy Architecture.  Some key points that came about from them as they spoke about the necessity to design and build for resilient communities that can handle future natural disasters were "we want a world where designers can propose solutions and actually be taken seriously.  One of the best things that we can do as designers is to help people see the future.  We need to be more humble about the future, if we knew that it was coming it wouldn't be a disaster."  These accomplished designers put design in to the necessary perspective that it can help us adapt to the changes our planet is going through and push us towards a future of sustainable and resilient communities.  

These takeaways have tremendously helped me with my final project and I will keep them in mind throughout the process.  I can clearly see now that the space will not just be a destination within the city and something beautiful to look at.  It will actively fuse cultures, life and art in to one place and partake in the larger system of the city and the community.  Design is an act of communication and storytelling all-in-all, and that is exactly what will be exemplified in this system as a culture of cargo.  As quoted from Architecture for Humanity, "we are people who believe in the power of design to make communities better," and that is something we must all keep in mind when we are designing.  

Here is a link to a pretty cool shipping container project that is set to open in Spring 2015 in the Meatpacking district of New York City called SuperPier.  I came across it as I was walking on the High Line, and it appears that it is going to be bring a pretty significant center of shipping containers, full of "culture, cargo, and chaos" according to their tag line.