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About

Outer Circle is Art Center’s alumni publication and features alumni-driven content and stories. Produced by Art Center’s Office of Alumni Relations and the Marketing and Communications Department, the Fall 2008 issue is Outer Circle’s inaugural digital issue.  If you have story ideas for inclusion in future Outer Circle publications, please contact the Alumni Relations office at 626.396.2305 or email alumni@artcenter.edu.

Credits

Editorial Director
Vanessa Silberman

Design Director Steve Sieler

Contributors
Kristine Bowne, Matt O’Brien

Writers
Lara Warren, Sasha Watson

Design Paul Gillis

Web site production
Chuck Spangler

Cover Illustration
Josh Cochran, ILLU ‘05
joshcochran.net

CMTEL Celebrates Two Years at Hillside Campus

Karen HofmannThis summer marked the two year anniversary of Art Center’s Color, Materials and Trends Exploration Laboratory (CMTEL). Since we first opened the doors in July 2006 with the help of CMTEL’s first founding partner, Nokia Corporation, CMTEL has quickly become a valuable resource for the Art Center community.

CMTEL was created in order to develop an awareness of color and material technologies and global trends, and to introduce design research into the curriculum at Art Center. In addition to developing a material sample collection representing more than 150 manufacturers, CMTEL has hosted classes, lectures, workshops and projects with an emphasis on color, materials and trends. Courses that take place inside the lab include material explorations, lighting technologies, trend insights and designing for sustainability. Art Center’s student-led EcoCouncil hold their weekly meetings here, discussing issues, sharing resources and developing special projects based on responsible design.

As CMTEL established its presence during its first year, the goal for our second year was to influence the design process by enabling students to look at color, materials and trends as a driving force for their projects. Last summer, Samsung sponsored CMTEL’s first transdisciplinary project, emphasizing the use of color and material palettes of cell phones as a way to connect emotionally with consumers. Instead of starting with the form and function of the phones, the students spent weeks exploring and researching materials to first develop the “skin” of the product, letting the form follow. The immense success of this project has inspired other campus studio courses to explore this kind of approach.

Other exciting new projects at CMTEL include Design Storms—one- to three-day intensive, innovative workshops during which Art Center students and faculty collaborate with sponsoring partners to explore a material technology or future market opportunity. Unlike traditional sponsored projects at Art Center where the corporate sponsor plays a supportive role, Design Storms engage the sponsoring professionals to actually participate in the creative process, engaging with Art Center students and faculty for short, inspiring bursts of creative partnership.

Avery Dennison has been one of Art Center’s strongest corporate partners over the years, sponsoring numerous full-term projects, engaging in the Design Storm process and truly valuing the creative collaboration of Art Center’s designers with the company’s scientists, technologists and marketers. We are excited to announce that Avery Dennison has committed to being CMTEL’s second founding partner. The company’s generous support enables CMTEL to grow its initiatives in creating curriculum in color and material design, trend research and sustainable design—all of which are emerging career opportunities for our students. We will be developing this curriculum as part of the College’s Humanities and Design Sciences Department.

CMTEL has an online presence as well. We have a CMTEL group on the iInCircle alumni online network. The group was formed as a way for alumni who are interested or involved with color and material design or trend work to connect and share resources with the Art Center community. We are now developing a strategy for Art Center alumni to directly connect to the CMTEL Web site which will be completed by the end of this year. Our third year is shaping up to be one of our busiest yet!

For more information on CMTEL, contact Karen Hofmann at karen.hofmann@artcenter.edu.

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