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Your ideas matter. Audience members & Festival participants, DesignPhiladelphia needs your input!

Dear Design Champions! Thank you for joining us in celebrating the DesignPhiladelphia Festival in October. What a marvelous community celebration it was! As we evaluate future projects, it’s really important that we hear from all the people who help make the Festival a success. This means its survey time, and we say that with love and excitement. So please, if you attended a Festival program or produced an event, take 5 minutes out of your day to complete the Audience Survey or the Participant Survey and tell us what you think!

What design sectors are you most interested in?
How many days is the ideal Festival?
How many DesignPhiladelphia Festival events did you attend?

To sweeten the deal, one lucky (and hungry) survey participant will win a $100 restaurant gift certificate to Barbuzzo in Midtown Village. Complete the survey by November 30 for a chance to win! We can’t wait to learn more about your Festival experience and how you’d like to see DesignPhiladelphia grow.

Audience Members! Take the Audience Survey >>

Event Producers! Take the Participant Survey >>

PopUp Place, the 2012 DesignPhiladelphia Festival kick-off party at Provenance Architecturals. Photo by Jonathan Rubin.


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Video: Close look at the sustainable design exhibition /adaptations/

Studio Nine Photography explores /adaptations/ – an exhibition showcasing leading developments in sustainable, emergent, and regenerative systems, particularly those which are informed by biological and natural processes. Patterns of global consumption, resource depletion, and pollution have rendered many of our current modes of design and production insufficient or harmful to our existence. Innovative solutions to these issues are essential and as they emerge, they collectively influence and integrate the fields of design to bring us back into balance. /adaptations/ was curated by Ginni Stiles and installed at Provenance Architecturals, as part of the 2012 DesignPhiladelphia Festival.

DesignPhiladelphia Kick-off party – Adaptations 2012 from Studio Nine Photography on Vimeo.

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Video: PopUp Place Festival Kickoff Party

Happening video by Studio Nine Photography‘s Jonathan Rubin featuring gorgeous photos from PopUp Place, the opening night party of the 2012 DesignPhiladelphia Festival, set at Provenance Architecturals. Are you in it?

DesignPhiladelphoia Kick-off Party 2012 from Studio Nine Photography on Vimeo.

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Drink Buttermilk and Live Forever by Virginia Gehshan. What design elements make Philadelphia unique?

For the DesignPhiladelphia Festival guidebook this year, we asked four members of the design community to reflect on iconic design in the city – from places to objects. Virginia Gehshan, Principal at Cloud Gehshan Associates, writes about a memorable sign at Reading Terminal Market.

Drink Buttermilk and Live Forever

By Virginia Gehshan

You’ve probably passed it many times and not noticed it, sandwiched as it is between fruit and fish stands. It’s the “Drink Buttermilk and Live Forever” sign in the southeast quadrant of the Reading Terminal Market (12th and Arch Streets). Another colorful fragment in an amazing place that is full of them, this sign reminds us of a simpler time when shopkeepers wrote their own taglines, designed their own signs and, quite possibly, hand cut the letters in their basements. Few modern retail signs can beat it for heart-on-the-sleeve enthusiasm and sheer charm.

Buttermilk, then.

Spataro’s Buttermilk was started in 1947. There were at least three buttermilk stands at the time as the beverage was riding a wave of popularity as a health drink. Domenic Spataro, Market patriarch, didn’t live forever, but he did live to the ripe old age of 94.

Thanks are due to Reading Terminal Market managers for preserving this quaint piece of history even as the stall occupants change. If you are looking for the sign note that it’s in the stall occupied by soap store, Terralyn.

Virginia Gehshan, Principal at Cloud Gehshan Associates. Branding, Wayfinding, Storytelling.

icon-VG-buttermilk side now-photo by Virginia Gehshan

In 2012, at Reading Terminal Market.


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The Design Week Movement [DWELL]

DesignPhiladelphia in the news…

The Design Week Movement
DWELL | October 13, 2012
By Caroline Tiger

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If a movement can be defined as a moment when people across time zones and borders act simultaneously on the same idea, then the design week movement is verifiable. In the last three years, design festivals and design weeks have mushroomed across the U.S. in cities including Columbus, Portland, Salt Lake City, Kansas City, Baltimore, and Detroit, as well as abroad, in Beijing, Singapore, Moscow, and Paris.

Two Lines by David Chipperfield Architects
Two Lines by David Chipperfield Architects was the London Design Festival’s Size+Matter commission for the South Bank in 2011. Photo courtesy ArcaidImages.

In some ways this isn’t surprising. We’re all coming to recognize design is everywhere—everything we touch has been designed, and every economy is at least partly design-driven and becoming even more so. “A new value is being placed on design as essential to innovation,” says Carol Coletta, director of ArtPlace, “and on the connection between innovation, jobs, and economic growth.” This growing awareness is especially concentrated in cities, where design is being heralded not only as a savior of the economy but as the solution to a multitude of social challenges. Continue Reading →

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Inside Corner by Michael McGettigan. What design elements make Philadelphia unique?

Washington Square

Washington Square

For the DesignPhiladelphia Festival guidebook this year, we asked four members of the design community to reflect on iconic design in the city – from places to objects. Michael McGettigan of Trophy Bikes writes about Washington Square.

Inside Corner

By Michael McGettigan

Philadelphia’s grid plan makes for lots of corners; it’s always a pleasure wondering what’s around that 90-degree bend. But sometimes you want a little something different. And in the heart of Philadelphia, you can find that urban rarity—the inside corner.

Namely, where West Washington Square and South Washington Square meet. Usually you turn a corner—here, the corner turns around you.

photo courtesy of Michael McGettigan

photo courtesy of Michael McGettigan

The Farm Journal Building anchors a graceful curve and some plantings camouflage the place where the two walls meet. Pivot to feel the masonry rising up behind you—just high enough!, and calmly take in one of the great “rooms” of the world—Washington Square.

The odd coziness makes Washington the most humane of Penn’s original squares, at least from this vantage point. Rittenhouse is defined by the towers around it; Logan by its vista down the Parkway; Franklin Square will always feel like a gateway, with the mighty Ben Franklin Bridge dominating its eastern border. Only Washington Square has your back — more like the squares embedded in older sections of London, Barcelona or other ancient towns. Edge in, close to where the walls connect and be simultaneously enclosed and free — gaze clear across to the Curtis Building and Walnut Street’s bustle. You can feel the city’s embrace.

Michael McGettigan is the proprietor of Trophy Bikes University City and Trophy Bikes Northern Liberties/Philadelphia specialists in urban, commuting and touring cycles.

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PSFS Spells Home by Elise Vider. What design elements make Philadelphia unique?

For the DesignPhiladelphia Festival guidebook this year, we asked four members of the design community to reflect on iconic design in the city – from places to objects. First up, Elise Vider writes about the PSFS sign. Timely, as the PSFS building is back in conversation.

As you’re walking the city, consider -

What design elements make Philadelphia unique to you?
Think about the spaces and places that make you linger.

PSFS Spells Home

By Elise Vider

The PSFS sign atop Loews Hotel Philadelphia (1200 Market Street) is a four-letter primer on 20th century design, a quickie lesson in architecture, typography, historic preservation, urbanism and corporate identity.

When I moved to Philly in 1984, the Philadelphia Savings Fund Society was still around, but the sign was already an iconic element on the city’s skyline. (With the battle raging over tall buildings, the sign pretty much was the skyline.)

In 1929, when Howe and Lescaze designed the first International Style skyscraper in the U.S., the 27-foot-tall sign was a radical element, widely considered the first incorporation of advertising into architecture (maybe not a great idea in retrospect) and the first use of acronym-as-logo. Its form is Futura Light, then a brand-new typeface that perfectly echoes the design; its function is to hide mechanical equipment.

The sign quickly engaged the public as great design can. Visible for 20 miles, it stayed lit during the Depression to telegraph PSFS’s stability. In 1990, a new bank owner briefly extinguished it – to public outrage. In 2000, during the hotel conversion, a short-lived preservation skirmish arose over altering the sign to read “Loews.”

Today, “PSFS” is dwarfed by the city’s skyline. But to me it symbolizes another four-letter word: “home.”

Elise Vider is a writer/editor/project manager for print and electronic publications, with a specialty in design and economic development.

Photo by Jackie Starker. She toured the rooftop while a student at UArts. Favorite memory, getting inside the S.

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Festival Events Explore The Philadelphia and Reading Railroad: SURFACE, Oct. 11-14 and Design VIADUCTgreene / DesignPhiladelphia, Oct. 13

Julia Blaukopf

There are not one but three DesignPhiladelphia Festival events exploring the viaduct!

SURFACE is an exhibition by Julia Blaukopf of wallpaper and tile imprinted with photographic images of the historic Philadelphia and Reading Railroad just north of Center City. The images were taken upon the viaduct and from within the submerged sections. The exhibition is designed to draw attention to VIADUCTgreene‘s vision for a 3-mile linear park through the heart of Philadelphia.

SURFACE will open with a reception on Thursday, October 11 from 5-9pm, and will be on view at CITYSPACE (2200 Walnut Street) from October 12-14Event Details >> Listing on DP Festival Calendar


If you’re interested in learning more about the viaduct’s future, be sure to also check out Design VIADUCTgreene/DesignPhiladelphia on Saturday, October 13 from 3-5pm at Underground Arts (1200 Callowhill Street). Through the Community Design Collaborative, VIADUCTgreene has teamed up with OLIN, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, CVM, and VJ Associates to develop conceptual designs for a 3-block stretch of what could become a 3-mile linear park connecting many neighborhoods to Fairmount Park. As part of the Festival, VIADUCTgreene wants your input on envisioning the great potential of this soaring and submersive civic space. Bring your ideas and be prepared to let your imaginations run wild. Snacks and bar, too!
Event Details >> Listing on DP Festival Calendar 

above | below | beyond charts the work of Penn and Temple design studios from spring 2012, exploring possible design interventions for abandoned rail lines in Philadelphia. This ongoing exhibition at Next American City’s Storefront for Urban Innovation (2816 West Girard Avenue) is meant to be a springboard and catalyst for further conversation about redevelopment of the Reading Railroad as a public, regenerative space. Inspired by the space’s unique structure, pervasive wild vegetation, the railroad’s dramatic elevation changes, and its location in many Philadelphia neighborhoods, students took on creative inventions to incorporate this historic relic into a diverse and engaging civil experience. Co-Organizers Diana Fernandez, Susan Kolber, Amy Syverson came together wanting to share the process behind their classmates’ work and engage Philadelphian’s to get involved in imagining the railroad’s future. above | below | beyond will be on display through December 5, 2012 at Next American City’s HQ, Monday-Friday 11am – 6pm. Celebrate at the exhibition opening during DesignPhiladelphia on Friday, October 12 from 6 to 10pm.
Event Details >> Listing on DP Festival Calendar >> Story on Next American City >>

Check out the above | below | beyond Kickstarter video for insight into the student project!

Sponsored by Michael GardenOcto Design GroupBrands ImagingCallahan Ward Companies.

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A redesigned DesignPhiladelphia has much to offer [The Philadelphia Inquirer]

DesignPhiladelphia in the news…

A redesigned DesignPhiladelphia has much to offer
The Philadelphia Inquirer | October 5, 2012
By Caroline Tiger

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When Ben Evans cofounded the London Design Festival in 2003, there were only four or five others around to serve as models. At the beginning of last year’s LDF, Evans and his staff counted around 85. Now, he estimates, there are more than a hundred. The trend has evolved into a movement.

If London is the international pioneer of the citywide design week, our own DesignPhiladelphia, launched in 2005, is the U.S. pioneer. It was the first not to be centered on a trade show and the first to act as a platform and bullhorn to define and promote a city’s sprawling design talent. After Philadelphia came San Francisco, and in the last three years a wave of others around the world have followed, giving rise to a bit of a “what have we wrought” moment in London. One of the panels at its festival last month was called, “Design Festivals: Who Needs Them?”

It’s similar to the question Hilary Jay, DesignPhiladelphia’s founding director, has been asking. For seven years, her scandalously underfunded venture has looked to kindle our creative economy, brand Philadelphia as a design city, and, as she puts it, “help the muggles understand how design makes a difference in their everyday lives – and that it’s not just about what they own.” Continue Reading →

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Will Philadelphia’s mega-museums snatch visitors from the city’s smaller cultural institutions? Panel: Thursday, Oct. 11

Will Philadelphia’s mega-museums snatch visitors from the city’s smaller cultural institutions? Or will these legacy projects collapse under the weight of their own outsized ambitions? Or, will all boats be lifted?

Join in the conversation at Philadelphia’s Mega-Museums: Iconic Forms Over Function? - a panel discussion presented by The Architect’s Newspaper as part of the DesignPhiladelphia Festival on Thursday, October 11 at 5:30pm, fittingly at the Rosenbach Museum & Library, a museum housed in two historic townhouses on a residential block in the city’s Rittenhouse Square neighborhood..

Located on Philadelphia’s culture-packed Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Barnes Foundation houses Dr. Albert Barnes’ renowned art collection. Credit: Photo by B. Krist for GPTMC

With the dust settling on Barnes hullabaloo, several new projects are already underway, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s expansion by Frank Gehry and a proposed Museum of the American Revolution by A.M. Stern. A recent study from University of Chicago cast a leery eye on cultural buildings that are more “signature pieces for leading architects” rather than what the institution needs and the public wants.

As Philly rides this next museum wave, the panel from the worlds of architecture, public policy, media, and cultural institutions will weigh in on the trend.

The program will feature Rosenbach Museum and Library Director Derick Dreher, Philadelphia Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron, Slought Foundation Executive Director Aaron Levy, and Peter Frumkin, PhD, Faculty Director of the Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania. Tom Stoelker, associate editor at The Architect’s Newspaper, will moderate.

The event is free and open to the public. The Rosenbach Museum & Library  is located at 2008-2010 Delancey Place. >> Listing on DP Festival Calendar

Rosenbach Museum & Library on Delancey Place. Credit: M. Edlow for GPTMC

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