We are the champions

By Ti Published on .

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Marking the 10th year of its Chrysler Design Awards, Chrysler recently honored six veterans from a range of fields as "Design Champions." Honorees included: Apple and Pixar CEO Steve Jobs (latest iMac below); former Walker Art Center design curator Mickey Friedman (a 1991 Walker installation called "Suitcase Studies," by Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio, is seen here); Murray Moss, founder of SoHo design store Moss; Phyllis Lambert, founder of the Canadian Centre for Architecture; former senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who was an advocate for urban design through public policy, and championed such projects as Grand Central Terminal; and Red Burns, chair of the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. This year marks the first that the car brand has chosen design "champions," those who have applied their own vision to furthering architecture and design in American culture. Lambert, who founded the CCA in 1979 is recognized for her role in shaping contemporary architecture - she was key in commissioning Mies van der Rohe to design the Seagram Building in New York - and as a curator of significant architectural exhibitions. She discussed the commissioning of the landmark building and the state of design at a symposium, held in conjunction with the awards. At the time of that project, in 1954, there were no "design stars," said Lambert, and her backing of van der Rohe was driven by the desire to push the boundaries of the discipline. "One has to go for the leading edge- someone who will make a difference in the field." Many of the honorees' comments at the symposium had relevance across design disciplines and other creative endeavors. Discussing the mandate for the ITP at Tisch, Burns acknowledged that technology's gifts of speed and color are only meaningful as applied to a human problem to be solved. "If you're not working on something that resonates with human experience, why bother?" said Burns. Dealing in design at the retail level, Moss said he tries to change consumers' preconceived ideas about objects. "I look at 'stuff' as proposals that serious people make, that manifest themselves as, say, a bottle opener," he said. "It's about expanding the criteria people bring when they're looking at these things. I want to say, 'Take a rest from what you think you're seeing; try to see someone else's agenda.' "
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