Art + Design

From the Design Desk: Compostmodern Design Conference (Day 1)


When life gives you hands, make handmade.*

Last weekend, four Chronicle designers went to Compostmodern, a conference about sustainability and design.

On Day 1, people spoke on a range of topics, from modern storytelling to the business of sharing. One of my favorites was Kate Daughdrill.

She organizes Detroit SOUP, a monthly dinner that started with a small group of friends and now has a large following. During the meal (soup, salad, pie) people present ideas for local creative projects. At the end of the night everyone votes on the projects and the winner takes home the money from the meal. It’s microfinancing with a human element, and great a way to fund the local arts scene.

SOUP in action. Photo by Vanessa Miller.

Voting booth. Photo by Vanessa Miller.

Another favorite was Dan Phillips, the founder of a building initiative in Texas called Phoenix Commotion.

They build houses for low-income families using recycled and salvaged materials. The houses are works of art, each one guided by the unique materials at hand. Phillips talked about how the desire for uniformity creates an amazing amount of waste at construction sites. By working with unstandard forms and organic patterns, Phillips takes other people’s garbage and makes artful homes.

One of Phoenix Commotion’s houses. Windows are made from relish plates. Photo by vyzl.

All in all, it was an inspiring day, and one that sparked a lot of ideas for Day 2, the Unconference. To be continued next week…

Allison Weiner

*That was the refrain for the day, taken from TheBigSea’s entry to Core77’s sustainable design poster contest.

Allison Weiner

Senior Designer at Chronicle Books and weekend crafter.

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  • Candace February 17, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Wow, Detroit SOUP is such an innovative concept!

    I think I've found inspiration for CollegiateCook's next blog post! Time to start brainstorming ways to add sustainability/microfinancing projects to college potlucks.

    I love how you guys post on topics beyond just promoting the latest books. As much as I love seeing what's next from Chronicle, it's also cool to see what's on your radar.


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