Projects

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.


desigNYC (2011-2013)

Client

desigNYC is a volunteer-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the lives of New Yorkers through the power of good design. desigNYC connects local designers to nonprofit organizations, neighborhood associations and Business Improvements Districts (BID) in the city to encourage design project collaborations in the five boroughs, spanning social and environmental causes.

Project

Recruited as desigNYC’s first executive director in 2011, two years after its launch by ESI Design and with seed money from the Bloomberg Foundation, I served a critical chapter of this small 99% volunteer-based organization to its next phase. I oversaw the sustainable and strategic growth of this grassroots and action-oriented group by enhancing its service offering, implementing an in-kind donation strategy and increasing the community of supporters and partners through a robust communications strategy and many public programs. I currently act as an advisor to WSDIA, a design firm that helps Brooklyn-based Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health with a fun marketing campaign targeting salons and barbershops owners as empowering health advocates.

Results

After two years dedicated to elevating the profile of this small group, now a reference in the field of community design, I feel proud to have overseen the launch of over 30 new incredible projects impacting our city’s communities, piloted a new workshop series and storytelling tools to train nonprofits to better understand the power of design. I have also curated several high impact exhibitions and public programs, notably in collaboration with Wanted Design and NYCXDesign and nurtured and expanded our volunteer base leveraging tens of thousands of dollars in in-kind professional services, and helped set the grounding for what I know will continue to be a meaningful mission.

Info

desigNYC.org


Design & Mobility in Creative Cities conference (2010)

Client

For the 23rd Entretiens Jacques Cartier, The Cité du Design of Saint Étienne and the City of Montreal co-organized the conference Design and Mobility in Creative Cities. The one-day conference was featured in the 2010 Saint Étienne International Design Biennial program, whose main theme was teleportation and mobility.

Project

Cities cope with complex environmental issues while trying to constantly reinvent new urban experiences, demonstrating that creativity, design and innovation are at the core of new territorial development strategies. This conference addressed questions such as, how can design improve mobility in a so-called “creative” contemporary city, in the areas of transport, energy, housing systems, new lifestyles and social contexts, and sustainable development? Which kind of innovation can be leveraged under the combined leadership of the creative class and new technologies? How do we develop a creative and urban mobility culture in relation with our ever-growing, complex, networked systems and new uses?

Laetitia Wolff moderated the one-day conference amongst an impressive international roster of urban thinkers, planners and designers, architects and city government representatives.

Results

Drawing from the UNESCO creative design cities network (Buenos Aires, Berlin, Kobe, Montreal, Nagoya, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Saint Étienne and Seoul), the conference was a success with a 300-seats room packed all day, attracting a diverse audience of students, urban specialists and design professionals. The highlight of the event were two memorable interventions by keynote speakers Jaime Lerner, the former mayor of Curitiba, Brazil and a visionary urban designer as well as by luminary Mireille Apel-Müller, director of the Paris-based Institut pour la Ville en Mouvement presenting the touring, award-winning exhibit, “La Rue est à nous…tous.”

The conference follows on the 2009 Entretiens Jacques Cartier’s theme, the City as Design Laboratory.

Links

Project Website can be found here


Sunny Memories (2010)

Client

EPFL, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, the “MIT of Switzerland” hosts the EPFL+ECAL Lab, a research center established in 2007 by EPFL in collaboration with the award-winning, Swiss design school ECAL, in order to boost innovation at the crossroads of design, engineering and architecture.

Project

Sunny Memories is a global workshop+exhibit led by the EPFL+ECAL Lab, in collaboration with the University of Art and Design Lausanne (ECAL), the California College of the Arts (CCA), the Royal College of Art in London (RCA) and the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle in Paris (ENSCI). EPFL’s Professor Michael Graëtzel’s new generation of solar cells harnesses SOLAR ENERGY through flexible, colored or even transparent surfaces, creating endless possibilities for INNOVATION AT THE CROSSROADS OF DESIGN, ENGINEERING AND ARCHITECTURE. In this workshop, the student designers were invited to explore how to use and apply this NEW TECHNOLOGY while responding to the following challenges: how do we use energy to record our memory, heritage and knowledge? How can we employ solar energy to preserve history, while increasing autonomy, mobility, and sustainability?

Following its extensive 2009 European tour, Sunny Memories needed to reach the American market. futureflair was asked to help with the production of the New York exhibit and conception of the public program, as well as with an alternative media outreach program.

Results

Sunny Memories was featured in the upper galleries of the Center for Architecture in New York from May 13 to June 5, 2010 to coincide with the 22nd International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF). It drew attention from the international design+architecture industry and media, as well as the sustainable development community, thanks to the highly engaging exhibit design conceived by Pure+Applied, as well as thanks to the friendly/soft media campaign, both orchestrated by futureflair. “The Future of Solar Energy in Design,” a panel discussion featuring Nicolas Henchoz of EPFL+ECAL Lab in conversation with Paul Thompson, rector of the Royal College of Art, Yves Béhar of fuseproject, and Anna Dyson, director of the MATERIALAB at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and moderated by Laetitia Wolff, attracted a passionate audience during one of the most competitive design events in NYC. “Harnessing the Sun’s Energy,” a hands-on workshop, offered children and families the opportunity to imagine new applications for Graëtzel’s solar dye technology.

Sunny Memories initiated the first high visibility presence of EPFL in the American market, with longer-term strategic alliances yet to be developed. The North American tour of Sunny Memories will end at Boston’s Harvard Laboratory in the fall 2010.

Links

http://www.epfl-ecal-lab.ch/ and www.aiany.org/exhibitions ; http://www.core77.com/blog/ny_design_week_10/new_york_design_week_2010_dye-based_photovoltaics_at_sunny_memories_16633.asp