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AGIdeas 2010 Audience

Design Droplets is an AGIdeas 2010 Media Partner.

Photography ~ David Simmons & Eric Jong

The opening day of the AGIdeas International Design week 2010, the 20th year AGIdeas has been held, was a fantastic and inspiring day.

The day opened with American Illustrator and Graphic Designer, Michael Marby whose overall theme was life and design is a journey of variety to be embraced and that designers often stand on the shoulders of giants – they embrace mentors who lift them to another level, whether the designers realise it or not. Michael’s closing quote which was extremely interesting was “Its never too late to be what you might have been”.

Richard Ferlazzo, Chief Designer at Holden (GM) and RMIT University graduate followed Michael with a talk that touched on the topic of Form Follows Function and was of course centred around cars. Form follows function is certainly a topic which is always hotly debated by Industrial and Product Designers so I feel Richard’s choice was an excellent one to kick off his talk. The talk gave a really quick run down on Harley Earl, the of the history of car styling, the dream car (known today as the concept car), cars of the future that were developed in the 50s and Motorama the very first car show. An interesting comment made by Richard was (I am paraphrasing here as I don’t have an exact quote) that someone creates the form or function of an object and then someone else often comes along and actually styles it. Richard also showed off General Motors new EN-V (Electric Networked Vehicles) Concepts and touched on the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai at which they were officially unveiled. This lead to a a quick look at some interesting car photos and Richard touching on the different design values in China in relation to car design. Richard’s talk was relatively interesting and engaging, although I couldn’t help but feel it glossed over a few aspects that could have been explored in more detail (as oppose to presenting a multitude of car images) and that it was a rather large ad promoting how wonderful Holden and General Motors supposedly are…

Next up on the stage was the successful Australian Illustrator Eamo Donnelly. Eamo, despite being nervous, proceeded to give a well rounded talk that possibly focused a bit too much on himself and his own work and not enough on process and providing insight on being an Illustrator. Although his point on being an Illustrator that stuck with me was that Illustration is a hard gig and is isolating.

After a quick break it was back to the auditorium to hear Dylan Brady, Robyn Beeche and Ali Vazirian speak.

Dylan Brady was a great speaker who wowed the audience with the sheer scale of the projects his firm (Studio 505) takes on. The one in particular he spoke about was an Arts and Education building in Shuzho, China. The building was huge and the fact that they successfully created a pattern made of smaller segment that didn’t appear to be be patterned was impressive. It was also all curved which was even more impressive.

Like most photographers that present at conferences like AGIdeas Robyn Beeche had phenomenal images to show that really wowed and captures the audiences imagination. Even more impressive was the fact that they were all done without photoshop and had been created through makeup, body paint, physical objects and props. Take the time to check out Robyn’s work if you have time.

Unfortunately in Ali Vazirian’s case, as with many foreign speakers whose first language is not the language they are speaking in, while I suspect he had a huge amount of extremely interesting knowledge to impart the audience, most of the audience was not paying attention by the end as he was not easy to understand. But he did give a genuine talk and on meeting him at a later point in the conference he was a genuinely nice person. I will certainly be endeavouring to look into him and his work more as it seemed that it is quite a unique subject.

AGIdeas 2010 Attendees at Lunch in National gallery of Victoria

This year AGIdeas and caterer Peter Rowland did an amazing job of feeding all the delegates in the NGV building down the road which was closed to the public for the day.

Following lunch the most appropriate speaker to have grace the stage was of course the Melbourne restauranteur and French born Jacques Reymond who shared his personal story of design discovery, food and the road to his own restaurant and creating food as he wished with the audience. I love his quote that “the product must be the star, condiments must compliment”.

Founder of TILT Annabel Dundas was an interesting story of a Melbourne girl who attended the very 1st AGIdeas in 1991, was inspired and went on to become hugely successful in the area of, as Annabel put it, Graphic Design that moved (animation and motion graphics). Annabel’s story was quite inspiring and TILT’s work was fantastic.

Next up was Dean Poole (Alt Group) from Kiwiland (aka. New Zealand) who probably drew the most laughs from the audience with his quirky design (ALT’s motto is DO DISTURB) and never ending barrage of jokes. Dean’s work was certainly impressive, although it would have been better if Dean had focused more on providing some more insight as oppose to humour. Although the humour was great and it showed that you need to do what you enjoy, what you truly love and that you have to be able to have fun in design.

After the third break of the day Andrew Rogers was up on stage to talk about for filling his dream of producing sculptures that span the globe and must be viewed from the air. While it was an amazing project that was undertaken and showed that designers can do anything if they can dream it, the presentation could have been better. The best part of the presentation was definitely Andrews closing words “If you dream there are often things you can make happen”.

Nicola Cerini a Melbourne based textiles and bag designer was, in my opinion, the best speaker of the day, Nicola shared her journey briefly. But focused on presenting tangible and highly useful information in her talk that will not only inspire designers to put their products out into the world but also gave them a few ideas on where to start and ways to go about it as well as deep insight into her process.

And last, but not least Michel Bouvet, poster designer extraordinaire, rounded out the day with a light hearted and engaging talk on his poster designs. While there was a few too many of his posters presented and they all started too look a bit the same after awhile his humour and accent kept the audience engaged.

Jacques Reymond

Overall the day was fantastic and I didn’t speak to anyone who wasn’t enjoying it. It was also great to meet several Design Droplets readers there.

Of course an event with around 2500+ delegates isn’t always going to run as smoothly as the organising team would like, with this years major hitch being that Australian Customs decided to delay the 18 tonne shipment of the conferences book so they could search it for drugs…Although luckily it was sorted out by the end of the day and it looks like enthusiastic delegates with be able to collect their books first thing tomorrow morning (I do feel sorry for all those volunteers who have to move 18 tonnes of books from the loading bays into the main foyer of Hamer Hall).

Keep your eyes open for further updates on AGIdeas 2010 and please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences on AGIdeas 2010 or even stories or experiences from past AGIdeas events.

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