Projects

Gimme More: is Augmented Reality the Next Medium? (2013)

Client

Founded in 2007, the EPFL+ECAL Lab (www.epfl-ecal-lab.ch) is a unit of the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, located on the premises of its founding partner ECAL/University of art and design Lausanne. It cooperates on a regular basis with several top design schools such as the Royal College of Art (London) and ENSCI-Les Ateliers (Paris). Its mission is to explore the prospects of technologies emerging from research labs and to open up new fields of action for designers. The EPFL+ECAL Lab conducts numerous projects with industrial partners.

Project

“Gimme More, Is Augmented Reality the Next Medium?” is an exhibition presented at Eyebeam, from February 21- March 2, 2013 that explored the link between the physical and digital worlds via seven augmented reality-based immersive installations. Previous incarnations of the show had travelled to London, Milan, Paris and San Francisco, but the New York project was re-designed in collaboration with SOFTlab studio and public programs conceived and produced by Laetitia Wolff. “Augmented reality allows everyday objects to tell their stories, reveal information and interact with users in real time. What transpires is a radical shift of interdependence between the object and the information it conveys,” explains Nicolas Henchoz, director of the EPFL+ECAL Lab.

Results

Laetitia Wolff coordinated the NY showing of Gimme More and made it a memorable experience for both the hosting venue, Eyebeam, and client EPFL+ECAL Lab, by recruiting top notch creatives to help generate a thought-provoking conversation around AR, and inspire the audience to challenge traditional perceptions and rethink how we generate and use content. The immersive quality of the work on display was echoed by SOFTlab’s scenography, conceived as a cocoon-like environment. Architect Michael Szivos, principal of SOFTlab, brought on Pentagram’s partner Natasha Jen for beautiful exhibition graphics. Over a period of 10 days, the exhibition was viewed by more than 1,650 visitors, the opening night, sponsored by the Swiss Consulate, gathered 500 guests, and the panel conversation moderated by Laetitia Wolff featured some of NYC leading figures in interactive design, art direction, and media culture, including Jonathan Lee, JP Williams and Christine Paul.

Info

For Gimme More on EPFL+ECAL Lab website, click here
For Eyebeam’s press release, click here

 


The Interdisciplinarians (2010-2011)

Client

The Interdisciplinarians is an original, lively and analog platform for conversations addressing contemporary design and art matters, that explores the interconnections of creative disciplines. Co-hosted by Zesty Meyers and Evan Snyderman of R20th C, a leading art+design TriBeCa gallery, and cultural engineer Laetitia Wolff, the dinner is conceived around a themed conversation that is current, engaging, and provocative.

Project

The Interdisciplinarians brings New York thought-leaders in art, architecture and design, cultural generalists and taste-makers coming from diverse backgrounds – culturally, generation-wise, and professionally. Participants are hand-picked to connect to a specific theme conceived for each dinner. The event is also an occasion to honor a special guest represented by the gallery. Participants of our Learn&Play dinner for instance were leaders in the field of gaming, toy design, children education experts who debated of the value of play. The second dinner, entitled The Power of the Hand, was based on an exclusive interview with Brazilian Modernist master Hugo França, followed by a conversation+picnic that gathered leading art and design personalities to discuss França’s work in his absence.

Results

For our first dinner, a collaboration with award-winning photographer Henry Leutwyler and emerging interactive design talent Simeon Poulin enabled us to produce a dynamic photo-collage of the event. It captured the amazing energy of the conversation around the notions of learn and play, the delicious and artful five-course dinner by chef Giacoppo Falai and Renate Müller’s therapeutic toys, a striking example of universal design. For our second dinner conversation, with the collaboration of filmmaker Craig Lowy and SVA Social Documentary MFA program, we produced a documentary film of the conversation, capturing the multifaceted and controversial perception of Brazilian designer Hugo França’s work, the passion triggered by his monumental “cocoon” sculptures around the theme of the handmade in art and design.

Info1

The Interdisplinarians #1, “Learn&Play” collage-film, conceived by Simeon Poulin with Henry Leutwyler photography, can be seen Special thanks to Henry Leutwyler for his gorgeous photography.

Info2

The Interdisciplinarians#2, “Power of the Hand” documentary film, by Craig Lowy, was featured on DesignMiami Design log. It can be seen here


Quel Chantier! City of Montreal colloquium (2014)

Client

Over the past 20 years, the City of Montreal’s Design Bureau has been leading the conversation around design’s role in enhancing our urban quality of life and territorial attractiveness. Through various initiatives such as their Commerce Design award-winning program, open competitions and workshops, international partnerships with UNESCO’s Creative Cities of Design network and public programs, they have fostered a solid culture and practice of design within their administration. Under the aegis of Les Entretiens Jacques Cartier, a platform for cultural exchange between Québec and the Rhône-Alpes region in France, Montreal’s Design Bureau has produced bi-annual urban design colloquia in collaboration with the City of Saint-Etienne.

Project

Following a series of events focused on discussing design’s role in shaping our cities – which I had the honor of moderating and for which I edited various publications – Montreal is inviting me to direct and produce a colloquium that will address design’s potential role in alleviating large construction sites impact. The construction of new transit hubs, underground infrastructure renovations, urban renewal projects and upgrades of downtown pedestrian zones often generate major disruptions in citizens’ quality of life, whether it hampers their mobility, safety, quietness or small businesses’ activity. Can design propose innovative solutions and participate in improving our collective experience of major construction sites, or at least contribute to lessen their negative impact on residents, commerces and visitors’ daily lives.

Results

The colloquium will activate Montreal’s existing networks with UNESCO’s Creative Cities of Design network and the Commerce Design network, inviting them to submit best practices, while opening up an international call for case studies, recruiting amongst designers, urban planners, city government agencies, engineering and construction companies, etc.
The colloquium scheduled October 8-9, 2014 will take place at the Canadian Center for Architecture and be an occasion to share best practices through detailed case studies, and also invite participants in a one-day, participatory and educational workshop to generate ideas for a specific Montreal site (most likely on Sainte-Catherine).

Info

Information et dossier de candidature en Français: ici

Information and submission application in Englishhere

 


Design/Relief for AIGA/NY (2013-2014)

Client

AIGA/NY is the largest chapter of AIGA, the professional association for design. For nearly 100 years, the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization has been aiming to advance design as a respected craft, strategic advantage and vital cultural force. From content that defines the global practice to events that connect and catalyze, AIGA/NY works to enhance the value and deepen the impact of design on business, society and our collective future.

Project

Launched by AIGA/NY and funded by ArtPlace America, DESIGN/RELIEF is a participatory design initiative to help three New York City neighborhoods – Red Hook, Rockaway and the Seaport – imagine a more vibrant future for themselves as they overcome the lingering effects of Superstorm Sandy. DESIGN/RELIEF aims to demonstrate design’s role in creative placemaking, to help these neighborhoods be more livable, walkable, vibrant and enjoyable.
I was recruited in Fall 2013 to be the program director of this new initiative.

Ideas

Think of creative placemaking as acupuncture, a way to activate a place through design interventions. Creative placemaking is about quality of place, whether triggered by the local creative economy, entrepreneurs and innovators, or driven by its long-term residents. It is focused on building public/private partnerships to enhance public space, boost local businesses and reinforce territorial and commercial attractiveness. Creative placemaking aspires to build more resilient, inclusive, inviting, lively and diverse communities, with small-scale, easily deployable design-based interventions that enhance identity and connectivity in a place.

Results

The three Design/Relief projects address information-sharing and communications issues We produced community presentations, design charrettes, lectures and workshops to help three these neighborhoods reinvent themselves through design. We worked in collaboration with local stakeholders, including nonprofit organizations, small businesses, advocacy groups, residents and city entities representing these diverse communities.

Info

Project website here
Design/Relief’s short documentary film (7mn): here
Design/Relief initiative case study: here
Design/Relief 3 site storytelling reports: here


Les Villes Laboratoires de Design, conference (2009)

Client

The Cité du design in Saint-Étienne, France, in partnership with the Ville de Montréal and Université de Montréal, hosted the conference “Les Villes Laboratoires du Design” as part of the XXII Entretiens Jacques Cartier (Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 2009). This conference officially inaugurated the program of the Cité du Design’s 6th Biennale, and functioned as a sequel to the “New Design Cities” colloquium, held in Montreal in October 2004.

Project

Laetitia Wolff moderated one of the two sessions of the conference dedicated to design as a form of public engagement. Hailing from Copenhagen, Dortmund, Eindhoven, Montreal, Palma de Majorca, Portland, the Loire and Rhône-Alpes regions, Saint-Étienne, Seoul, Toronto and the US Mayors’ Institute on City Design the participants exchanged points of view and best practices on design’s strategic role in cities’ future. The premise of the conference was to explore the potential of design strategies as they contribute to public space revitalization and trigger social innovation. What kind of policy, actions and projects could be imagined to respond to the current challenges of urbanization? What kind of leverage does design represent on the development of cities and regions alike? Can design help build a dialogue between political leaders, civil society and experts, and generate a greater solidarity amongst global cities–there were some of the topics addressed during the event.

Results

To an audience of more than 250 experts in design and urban planning, panelists presented various practices and strategies implemented by the guest cities and regions and clearly demonstrated that a cross-disciplinary design approach has emerged as an increasingly significant vector of urban development. Taking into consideration economic vitality, quality of life and living ecologies in cities, the participants showed how design can tackle issues as diverse as sustainability, competitiveness, identity, cultural diversity, attractivity, well-being, economic renaissance, safety, public health and mobility. The discussions also pointed to the need to instill a culture of design and ensure stronger acknowledgement of design disciplines within public institutions as well as the general public, and recommended to capitalize on projects that are at once exceptional, locally relevant and impactful on citizens’ daily lives.

Info

As co-organizers ofthe event, the City of Montreal’s official website features interesting conference summaries

Un article de Catherine Lalonde sur la conférence est parue dans le quotidien québécois, Le Devoir, 19 Dec. 2009.