About Gateway

Gateway was the community newsletter of Pratt Institute published monthly by the Office of Communications, in the Division of Institutional Advancement through spring 2014. For current Pratt-related news, visit the News page on Pratt’s website.


Pratt to Honor International Leaders in Arts and Architecture at 123rd Commencement

L to R: Ai Weiwei, Santiago Calatrava; Kathryn C. Chenault, Esq.; Philippe de MontebelloPratt Institute will award honorary degrees to contemporary artist, curator, and social, political, and cultural critic Ai Weiwei (in absentia); architect, engineer, and artist Santiago Calatrava; patron of the arts and education Kathryn C. Chenault; and Director Emeritus of The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Fiske Kimball Professor at NYU's Institute of Fine Arts Philippe de Montebello at its 123rd Commencement. Calatrava will deliver this year's Commencement remarks. A video acceptance, made by the artist, will be screened for Ai.

Commencement will take place at 2 PM on Wednesday, May 9, at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. At the ceremony, Pratt will honor an expected 1,300 bachelor's and master's degree candidates.   

This year’s Commencement will mark the third time graduates will receive diplomas on stage at the landmarked Radio City Music Hall.

For more on this year's honorary degree recipients, click here!

Text: Kate Ünver
Courtesy of Ai Weiwei; Michael Falco; courtesy of Kathryn C. Chenault, Esq.; courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art



Pratt faculty member Tim O'Brien's illustration for Scholastic's The Hunger Games book trilogy, which served as the basis for the logo in the first installment of The Hunger Games film franchise distributed by Lionsgate

Tim O’Brien, adjunct professor, Undergraduate Communications Design, is an illustrator and portrait painter whose imaginative designs have most recently been translated to the big screen thanks to the box-office hit movie The Hunger Games.  

O'Brien originally illustrated The Hunger Games' series three covers for book publisher Scholastic, and created The Hunger Games "mockingjay" logo of a bird with an arrow through it. The trilogy was released in print from 2008 through 2010. 

Film distributor Lionsgate then turned the bestselling book series into a film franchise, using O’Brien’s logo as the basis of the poster. The logo design is of the mockingjay pin given to the main character—a 16-year-old living in a post-apocalyptic world where she is forced to compete in a national televised fight to the death.

The book was written by Suzanne Collins and the film adaptation was released worldwide in March, breaking box-office records.

"It is incredible to watch the illustration I created for The Hunger Games used all over the world and to see it most recently on every cab, bus stop, and billboard in New York City," said O'Brien. "Seeing the image everywhere is a real 'pinch me' moment for me. Illustration is everywhere and brands much of what we see and understand visually, and this is just one example of its power," he added.

O'Brien has taught at Pratt since 2007 and lives in the Prospect Park South neighborhood of Brooklyn. He has had work published extensively in periodicals including TIME magazine, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Newsweek, The Atlantic, Entertainment Weekly, and by publishers including Scholastic, Harper Collins, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster. More than a dozen of his paintings are in the collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and O’Brien has also designed several stamps for the U.S. Postal Service.

O'Brien has been a recipient of the prestigious Hamilton King Award from the Society of Illustrators, and his work has been recognized by publications and organizations including Graphis, Print, Communication Arts, the Society of Publication Designers, and the Art Directors Club. He is vice president and museum chair of the Society of Illustrators and is on the illustration advisory board of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. For more on O'Brien and his work, please click here.

Text: Amy Aronoff
Photo: Courtesy of Tim O'Brien


Exceptional Pratt Home Designs Abound at International Contemporary Furniture Fair 

ICFF producers choose Pratt as one of the only schools selected to show student work

Laurie Beckerman’s Ionic Bench will be shown at "Wanted Design," a New York Design Week exhibition at the Terminal Store. The bench will also be part of the Voos Gallery collection.Pratt alumni, faculty, and students will exhibit exquisite high-end furniture and other home designs at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), one of the world’s leading trade shows for contemporary design, May 19–22, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City.

Among the Pratt alumni whose work will be shown at ICFF are Harry Allen (M.I.D. ’95), designer of such iconic objects as the Banana Bowl and Pig Bank, who plans to show new lighting and chair designs. Also unveiling new work will be Laurie Beckerman (B. Arch. ’90), who will also show a chair design; Cayce Becket (B. Arch. ’99) and Gregory Horgan (M. Arch ’00), partners in the Brooklyn-based design and furniture company Horgan Becket; and Jinsheng Wang (B.I.D. ’99) of Wang, Jinsheng’s Studio.  

Mark Goetz, at far left, and his students at the Herman Miller facility in Michigan. For the Pratt students, showing at ICFF is a particular coup. The student team, made up of students from the Department of Industrial Design, is one of only six student groups chosen from dozens worldwide by ICFF’s producers to display original work for the show. This is the fourth year in a row that a team of Pratt students has been selected to show at ICFF. Adjunct Professor Mark Goetz (B.I.D. '86) is the lead faculty advisor on the project.

Furniture company Herman Miller, whose design professionals also provided input throughout the preparation process, sponsored the project.

The group was chosen for its theme, “Body and Mind,” which challenged students to create designs that balance body and mind in ways that could increase health benefits and elevate mood and productivity.

"The premise of ‘Body and Mind’ encourages our students to go beyond conventional thinking and consider how their original ideas can have a real impact on individuals, physically, intellectually, and emotionally," says Goetz.

The 11 students featured in the show are from a graduate course taught by Goetz and from an undergraduate course taught by Tim Richartz (B.I.D. ’86). Participating students include graduate students Fahmida Aguayo, Angela Brown, Heidi Garay, Scott Jones, and Peter KL, and undergraduate students William Bausback, Angela Lin, Melodi Bozkurt, Erin Turkoglu, and Kelly Proscio.

Among the projects to be showcased is a stool that rocks 360 degrees to release the user from the static nature of the traditional chair and create mindfulness through motion; a sculptural light that easily changes shape to suit the user's needs; shelving that addresses organizational needs of the user to create a stress-free environment; and a chair designed to allow the user to feel and project confidence.

Goetz says he is excited that Pratt has been chosen again to show at ICFF, and he is grateful for the support of Herman Miller.

"At the furniture studios at Pratt, our aim is to expand for our students the traditional parameters of a classroom. By collaborating with world leaders in the field of design, our students can grow tremendously by gaining a far broader perspective," he says. "Herman Miller is one of the most respected human-centered companies, not just for innovation, but for sustainabilty and environmental stewardship. By sponsoring student work, interacting and contributing input, and hosting our students on a tour of their Michigan headquarters and manufacturing facilities, our students have grown and gained fresh insights and an appreciation of what it takes to be an international leader in design."

If you are a Pratt alumnus, faculty member, or staff and you will be showing your work at ICFF, please let us know at gateway@pratt.edu.

Text: Amy Aronoff, Abigail Beshkin
Ken Cox (bench), Youju Rhee