DesignPhiladelphia 2010 Recap

DesignPhiladelphia 2010... Wow. What a trip! As you know, I was invited to attend this year's event by the fine folks from DuPont / Corian. To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect. As it turns out, it was one of the most rewarding experiences I've had in a long time. The exhibits were fascinating, but what truly made this experience so special were the incredibly genuine, warm, intelligent, and stimulating people that I had the good fortune of meeting. It was affirming and empowering all at once. I wasn't expecting that.

Read the rest of the post after the jump!

Dupont invited five bloggers to this event and we all had the opportunity to meet designer Todd Bracher on a one-on-one basis, as well as a group lunch. I can honestly say that Todd is one of the most inspiring people I've ever met. He has a genuine love of life and truth, and is on a never-ending quest for knowledge and ways to improve the human experience through design. To hear the process behind his work was fascinating, to say the least. [For a little taste of what I'm talking about, check out the video above, which was part of Design Boost 2010.] Be sure to check out his portfolio, as well.

The main event of this whole trip was the Carte Blanche exhibit launch, held at the Corian Design Studio. The exhibit features the work of 25 international designers and artists, who were tasked with the challenge of creating something from a single piece of A4-sized, white Corian. From the cheeky to the seemingly impossible, it was interesting to see the many varied interpretations and possibilities that were achieved. One of my favorite pieces was Moucharaby. The mass and the mesh. by designer Philippe Délis (third image, left side). The moucharaby is a natural ventilation system common in North Africa and the Middle East, that consists of a tight latticework that accelerates the air's passage. I loved seeing it re-interpreted in this new material and scale. Check out all 25 designs here. Also pictured: Looking Forward by Stefan Diez and Liasons by Inga Sempé.

We also had the opportunity to explore some of the other Corian-related exhibits, including this outdoor conversation room featuring modular Corian walls by DIRTT, as well as the Woven Car by artists Anne Conte and Jeanne Wiley. Unfortunately, the Woven Car exhibit was closed at the time we were scheduled to see it, but I was able to take a few photos through the window and meet with the artists later in the day. This was the first collaborative project for Ann and Jeanne, who took an old, rusted-out MG Midget and gave it new life through recycled and overstock materials. The entire exterior is made from recycled seat belts that were woven by hand, while the interior is comprised of pieces of Corian cut-offs. You can learn more and see the whole thing here.

I was also impressed with the Corian Design Studio, which had this incredible table, seemingly made from a single (and giant) piece of Corian, suspended between two rooms. I couldn't stop touching it! It may have been the single most-photographed thing on my trip - I was that obsessed. Isn't it strange what catches your eye sometimes?

As you can see, this whirlwind trip was packed full of visual and intellectual stimuli! I can honestly say it was one of the most inspiring experiences of my life, both on a personal and professional level. Itweeted this while I was there, but it bears repeating: It's always nice to be reminded that there are genuine people in the world. I was not expecting to connect with so many*. So, a huge, HUGE thank you to DuPont for inviting me to be a part of DesignPhiladelphia 2010. I'll never forget it!

*Have you ever had experiences like this, where you were expecting something a little more formal / all business, and you walked away with renewed faith in humanity or even just new relationships you hadn't anticipated? I'd love to hear your stories!

Please excuse me while I pay some bills...