DesignPhiladelphia Festival Goes Virtual in 2020

Nation’s oldest architecture and design festival celebrates resiliency and tenacity of local designers (Philadelphia, PA) – September 8, 2020 – The Center for Architecture and Design is excited to present the upcoming 2020 DesignPhiladelphia Festival, October 7 – 18, with Jefferson once again supporting as title sponsor. The mostly virtual festival – anchored by the Kickoff Party on October 7 from 6:30 – 8:00 PM. – will be offered to the public in a variety of ways including through an online platform which will serve as the hub for featured festival programming. In spite of an incredibly tumultuous year, the local design community has rallied around its favorite festival to present an impressive line-up of more than 50 programs and exhibitions that reflect the challenges of 2020. “This all-star lineup is truly a celebration and reflection of what DesignPhiladelphia aims to do through creativity, collaboration and community.” “We are thrilled to have such a thoughtful and engaging lineup of programs this year considering all the obstacles and unknowns we’ve faced since planning started,” says Rebecca Johnson, executive director for the Center for Architecture and Design. “There are several do-not-miss events, such as our launch of our virtual exhibition, Establishing a... Read more »

When Success = Invisibility: Amy Rees of Exit Design on branding, placemaking and community pride

Amy Rees specializes in space. That’s because she’s the studio director of Exit Design, a Philly-based firm based out of Northern Liberties and operating since 2004 that specializes in environmental graphic design. What’s environmental graphic design? Exactly what it sounds like – the creation of visual design aspects that make up any given environment. Its designers often work alongside architectural, interior, landscape, and industrial design to build, extend, and navigate spaces. And it can take a lot of different forms. Take one of Exit’s most recent projects, for example: the University City Science Center. Initially, Exit was commissioned by uCity Square to create a wayfinding program, combining maps, signage, and more to help urban park users navigate the district. But in the course of the project, Rees says, “we realized very quickly that it wasn’t a wayfinding issue – it was an identity and placemaking issue.” That jumpstarted a much larger conversation about uCity Square’s goals and values, which in turn led to Exit’s development of a walkway along 37th Street and an anchoring plaza that Rees says was programmed to meet the needs of a variety of different stakeholders there: the international house, the church, the science center. “The... Read more »

“Owning your own business gives you the responsibility to be a rebel.”

In our final winter installment of “How’d They Do That,” Shila Griffith, designer and owner of SG23 Design, talks toning down her fast and furious work style, and sticking to her guns. In March of 2019, Shila Griffith was living the dream. Her interior design business, SG23 Design, was booming, her newly assembled team growing and she’d just signed the lease on a studio space she loved. It was everything she’d ever wanted. And she’d never been more miserable.  Being what one might lovingly refer to as an overachiever, Griffith channeled her energy into building her own interior design business, adopting a workload that for anyone else would require the help of two clones. No project was turned down, no client call unanswered, and not a single bridge with former employers burned. Stretched to the limit for nine long years, and at the expense of her sanity, Griffith created a thriving business.  Her journey from graduate student to self-made businesswoman began in 2010. She’d earned a Bachelor’s degree in interior design, followed immediately by a Master’s degree in sustainable design from Philadelphia University (now Thomas Jefferson University). Upon graduation, Griffith took a position with the Main Line residential architecture firm,... Read more »

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