The Art of Sponsorship

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Tali Krakowsky, WET Design.
Tali Krakowsky, WET Design.
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If you're in the design industry, it's very likely that you're not saving lives.

Last week, I had lunch with the loveliest gentleman who has the unique disposition of being called Jeff Madoff. His relationship to that name is a story that you could read about in the Huffington Post.

Our story was different. Among many things, we were talking about what Jeff does when he isn't making videos and commercials for Victoria's Secret. His company Madoff Productions is working on a documentary film for the incredible Innocence Project, a non-profit legal clinic that has liberated wrongfully convicted prisoners based on DNA testing.

The conversation evolved to design and how we fit into a community of such incredible world-changers that transform and save people lives – an important question that I ask myself all the time.

What makes what we do special is that we connect people and create unique and memorable experiences. One exciting way to do that is to bring artistic expressions to people and their everyday places. That is one reason why I love working at WET; I feel we create experiences that are democratic, universal and free.

We sometimes would like to forget that these experiences cost money to create.

Innovation can be expensive and I would much rather help brands sponsor great contributions to society than create another commercial or billboard. As the television model is evolving and the 30-second commercial model is fading, we have an opportunity to make sponsorship transform our physical and virtual worlds into more entertaining, inspiring and interesting places to be in.

Money is not evil – it's just what we sometimes end up doing with it that makes it seem that way.

Here are some small and stunning reasons why I still believe that we can find the art in sponsorship:

An historical example:
E.A.T – Experiments in Art and Technology, Pepsi Pavilion for the Expo 1970, Osaka
Designed by 63 engineers, artists and scientists, the dome was covered by a water vapor cloud sculpture by Fujiko Nakaya, and the plaza was populated by seven of Robert Breer's Floats, six-foot high white robot-like sculptures that traveled through the space at 2 feet per minute.

And some contemporary projects:
Rem Koolhaus, Transformer Project, Seoul
Sponsored by Prada
A truly transforming structure that can be moved to accommodate art, film and fashion.

Olafur Eliasson, Starbrick for Zumtobel
Sponsored byZumtobel (a lighting company)
Starbrick is an experiment in light modulation based on the simple principle of a brick unit that can either function on its own or be integrated into a larger structure.

Swarovski's Crystal Palace project
For the last eight years, Swarovski has continued to commission some of the world's foremost designers to create the most magnificent signature interpretations of light and design using crystals.

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Tali Krakowsky, Director of Experience Design, heads a think tank at WET. Working closely with design, research and production, she focuses on developing new ideas, technologies and business opportunities for the short- and long-term future of the firm.
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