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Gateway is the community newsletter of Pratt Institute. It is published monthly by the Office of Communications, in the Division of Institutional Advancement. For a list of contributors, click here.

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Friday
Jun032011

Pratt Show Draws Almost 1,000 Design Industry Professionals

Left: Industrial Design booth space at 2011 Pratt Show in The Manhattan Center; Right: Jewelry Design booth space at 2011 Pratt Show in The Manhattan Center

Nearly 1,000 representatives from more than 700 companies in the publishing, entertainment, advertising, and other design-related industries attended the 2011 Pratt Show. Attendance was significantly increased from last year, when fewer than 500 companies were represented.

Career Services Director Judith Nylen, who oversees the annual exhibition, says she was especially excited that the Institute's Department of Corporate Relations showcased several recent corporate-sponsored projects at the entrance to The Manhattan Center. This exhibition included designs created as part of partnerships with Barnes & Noble, Cotton Incorporated, Nachtmann, Umbra, and west elm.  

“The redesign of the front made the whole space seem open, and the outstanding corporate projects served as a great introduction to the entire show,” says Nylen.

The annual Pratt Show featured the exceptional design work of more than 300 graduating students in various programs at Pratt including advertising, digital arts, fashion, graphic design, illustration, industrial design, interior design, jewelry design, and package design. The show is juried, so only the strongest, most professional-caliber work is displayed. The Pratt Show is designed to give industry professionals and the public a chance to see the best work of students in Pratt’s design programs, many of whom will go on to become masters in these industries.

Nylen says she has already received positive feedback on the show; however, she says it is too early to tell whether exposure at the show has helped students find jobs or freelance work. More information will be available upon completion of a survey that went out recently to students.

Photos: Kevin Truong

Tuesday
May102011

Recent Digital Arts Alumnus Wins Student Academy Award

A video still from Gold Medal Student Academy Award-winning thesis animation Correspondence by alumnus Zach Hyer

Digital Arts alumnus Zach Hyer (M.F.A. ’10) was recently honored with a Gold Medal as part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 38th Annual Student Academy Awards competition for his M.F.A. thesis animation Correspondence, first conceptualized during a Digital Arts storyboarding class. Hyer’s animation, which tied for the Gold Medal, was one of 12 selected out of 523 entries from students representing 136 U.S. colleges and universities. Hyer recently participated in a week of industry-related activities and social events, culminating with the awards ceremony on June 11 at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater. At the ceremony, Hyer thanked Pratt Institute in his acceptance speech.

Correspondence is a 3-D animation that takes place during an undefined war and focuses on the issues of power abuse and control. The main character risks his life during the animation, which uses minimal narrative. Hyer says his animation serves as a critique of power structures. Visit Pratt's Graduate Digital Arts Gallery to view Hyer's award-winning work.

“Zach is a wonderful example of an artist working with technology. In his thesis animation Correspondence, Zach utilizes his considerable technical abilities to comment on issues that are both timely and universal,” said Digital Arts Chair Peter Patchen. Hyer expressed gratitude for the guidance he received from Pratt’s Digital Arts faculty and his adviser, Digital Arts Professor Michael O’Rourke.

Correspondence has previously been featured at the Melbourne International Animation Festival, SIGGRAPH Space and Time Industry Animation competition, Metropolitan College Computer Animation Festival, Canadian Film Centre’s SHORTSNONSTOP Festival, and the Crown Heights Film Festival. Hyer’s thesis animation was also honored in 2010 as an Adobe Design Achievement semi-finalist in the Animation category.

Correspondence tied for the Gold Medal with Dragonboy by Bernardo Warman and Shaofu Zhang of the Academy of Art University in California.

Hyer, who hails from Tannersville, New York, is currently freelancing as a digital artist in New York City.

Monday
May092011

Green Start-Ups Join Design Incubator

Clockwise from Left to Right: B. Pietro Filardo of Pliant Energy Systems, Incubees from reMade USA and Eko-Lab, Shannon South of reMade USA, and David J. Krause from Alder. All are at work at the Pratt Design Incubator for Sustainable Innovation.

The Pratt Design Incubator for Sustainable Innovation has added nine new companies to its existing roster in the areas of fashion design, home furnishings design, and clean energy technology. The Incubator supports the entrepreneurial talents of designers, artists, and architects—including several Pratt alumni—by providing them with resources to launch businesses. The Incubator is part of Pratt Institute's Center for Sustainable Design Studies and Research, which is led by Incubator Founder and Director Debera Johnson.

“Pratt has a long-standing interest in the economic development of small businesses in Brooklyn. The Incubator is a direct way for the Institute to help local entrepreneurs develop products and services that create jobs, support local industry, and bring innovative products to market,” said Johnson. “We're looking to create a diverse mix of creative thinkers that can bring design, engineering, and technology together into an innovative ecosystem based on sustainability,” she added.

The Incubator supports its companies with custom-tailored services for sustainable business endeavors. Incubator companies have access to a flexible curriculum in sustainable entrepreneurship and mentor-based coaching; they also work among a thriving community of socially responsible entrepreneurs. Since its 2002 inception, the Incubator has supported the launch of 26 companies, has created over 50 new jobs, and has consulted for 15 organizations.

In addition to providing entrepreneurs with access to markets, networks, office infrastructure, training, talent, and capital, the Incubator taps its extensive network to provide sustainable design innovation to businesses and organizations that are seeking ways to improve their products and services in the areas of resource use, ecological impact, health, and social equity.

As a leading educational institution in art, design, and architecture, Pratt is committed to becoming a role model for art and design schools across the nation by educating students, faculty, and staff on sustainable practices and their role as socially and environmentally responsible citizens, artists, and designers, and by integrating sustainability into the curriculum and campus facilities management. 

New Companies:

Eko-Lab is an ethically and ecologically driven fashion company that employs local artisans and production facilities to create clothing out of social and environmentally responsible fabrics.

Spectrum BioEnergy LLC is a renewable energy and waste management venture focused on next generation biogas—cutting-edge applications of traditional organic waste-to-energy technology. Biogas technology converts organic waste into organic soil nutrient and a high-energy, clean biogas that can be used to supplement natural gas, generate power, or create renewable transportation fuel.

Pliant Energy Systems LLC explores novel methods of extracting energy from moving water and developing mechanisms for dam-free hydrokinetic electricity generation and self-powered irrigation pumps for use in developing nations.

Frank Millero Studio was founded by sustainable design consultant and educator Frank Millero. Millero works to design and develop home products and to implement design strategies and develop marketing messages in socially and environmentally responsible ways.

ReMADE USA is a design company that upcycles used materials to make one-of-a-kind bags and home accessories. The company's vision is to design desirable objects out of discarded materials, which diverts waste from landfills.

Holstee offers practical and sustainable alternatives to everyday products. In addition to designing the products, the company has begun to curate products from like-minded designers and share them with the community through their website.

Life Cycle Solutions was founded with the goal of eliminating energy waste in buildings. The company offers efficiency-consulting services and is currently developing Web-based software to encourage the implementation of efficiency projects and improve their continual performance.

designing hope is a socially and sustainably minded design firm that consults with companies and nonprofits to create social impact. In addition, the firm designs sustainable products that help to create awareness and positive change.

Dargelos creates flexible accessories and garments to encourage bicycling in the city. Their refined designs unite a minimalist aesthetic with safety, practicality, and durability. 

Companies already working in the Incubator:

Alder believes a garment should not only be aesthetically interesting, but should also have a quality, craftsmanship, and attention to detail that customers will appreciate. Alder’s designs are minimal and essential, but still playful, and always a little unexpected. Alder strives to be as sustainable as possible, and to make informed decisions about materials used.

Domestic Aesthetic offers consumers affordable home products that adhere to environmentally and socially responsible standards.

Sustainably Minded Interactive Technology (SMIT) connects and provides for people in pursuit of a zero footprint lifestyle by creating a rich portfolio of products and a dense network of relationships.

Photos: Jonathan Weitz