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Design Camp TA Tom Parent makes a plaster mold of 15-year-old Breanne's face for the fountain she'll create.
Stretching creativity at Design Camp
By Patty Mattern
Published on August 3, 2005
Forget summer camp's usual skill-building exercise of lanyard making. This week at the Twin Cities campus's highly popular Design Camp, more than 120 young people from Minnesota and around the nation are doing such things as designing clothes, fabricating new textiles inspired by digitally sampled music, using ideas from Zen gardens to create fountains, and building robots.
The 13 to 17-year-old campers are joining forces with professional designers from around the world to make their ideas a reality:
- Minneapolis fashion designer Joynoelle and MIT Media Lab interaction designer Kelly Dobson are leading an electronically enhanced fashion workshop where teens design clothes that can change behavior or have a hidden function in the workshop "Moding."
- Former NASA architect Garrett Finney, from Houston, and University of Minnesota architecture professor Marc Swackhammer are showing teens how to turn everyday materials into a robot with help from digital technologies in the workshop "Playing."
- New York graphic designer Paul Sahre and St. Paul-based letterpress designer Bill Moran are challenging students to create a new typeface to print influential messages in the workshop "Pointing."
- Milan-based product and lighting designer Paolo Zani and Los Angeles-based product designer Lisa Krohn are helping teens devise a refreshing, relaxing fountain in "Bubbling."
- In the workshop "Toting", Munich-based product designers Stephanie Schwarz and Cody Swope are coaxing campers to rethink and redesign the school backpack as well as create products for carrying one's belongings.
- Students in "Sampling" are listening to all kinds of music--like hip-hop and jazz--as the cues for creating a collective textile design for sound-inspired fashion, under the direction of clothing and knitwear designer Robin Richman, from Chicago, and Australian artist/musician Tania Bowers.
"It's exciting to see the young people working with professional designers," says Wendy Friedmeyer, Design Camp coordinator. "The teens are learning just how pervasive design is in all of our lives. Through their workshops they see the links between different fields of art and design."
While Design Camp, a program of the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (CALA), caters to young people, it also benefits University of Minnesota students. Design minor students from all disciplines and students from the College of Human Ecology and CALA assist instructors during the camp. It provides a valuable learning experience for them as well, Friedmeyer says.
Target Corporation makes all the learning possible.
"We're really grateful to Target Corporation for their renewed support for Design Camp, which enables us to offer this incredibly popular program for the fourth consecutive year, introducing a new group of teens from Minnesota and around the country to design," says Janet Abrams, Design Institute director.
Design Camp began Monday and runs through Friday, August 5, at Ralph Rapson Hall, home of CALA. The participants will present their designs to guest jurors from noon to 2 p.m. Friday and an open house will follow from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Rapson Hall courtyard.
To learn more, see the Design Camp Web site.