“There aren’t a lot of resources out there for contemporary makers,” says Whalen. “We realized these were valuable resources, and the logical answer seemed to be to put it online.”
Launched last December, the database of design thought grew out of research and interviews Whalen’s student conducted for her class “Craft and Design in the USA, 1940–Present.” Some of interviews already posted include furniture designer Mira Nakashima talking about working with her father and continuing his and her own practice, a conversation with Paul J. Smith, Director Emeritus, Museum of Arts and Design, industrial designer Ignacio Ciocchini talking about the creation of the CityBench in New York, and Parisian graphic designer Philippe Apeloig recounting the inspiration behind his famous posters. The inclusion of photos and tagging make the site more accessible, and help with the goals of capturing the voices of contemporary makers and chronicling the fluid boundaries between different practices.
“A lot of the craftspeople talk about self-expression and problem solving,” says Whalen. “What brings this together is the way they look at the relationship between people and objects.”