Dwell on Design is proud to host Architecture for Humanity's Design Open Mic on the Design Innovation Stage this year. A Pecha Kucha-style hour of rapid-fire design presentations, Design Open Mic will host seven architects and designers thinking about how we can reshape areas hit by natural and man-made disasters. I had a chat with Sarah Bush of Architecture for Humanity to learn more about what we can expect onstage, why the hour's theme of Regeneration hits so close to home, and to how to register to participate.
How did you arrive at the theme of Regeneration for this iteration of Design Open Mic?We wanted to focus on a theme of hope as it relates to the topic of post-disaster reconstruction. Architecture for Humanity has been working in these specialized environments and the recent earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan reinforce the huge need for solutions within this design area. More importantly, this Design Open Mic topic will bring attention to the regenerative aspects of natural and man-made disasters. Good and innovative design can provide affected communities with relief and help them to recover, but it also has the power to mitigate the effect of future disasters — be they environmental, social or economic.And how does that jibe with what you do at Architecture for Humanity?Architecture for Humanity was founded 12 years ago with a laptop and an idea — to provide design services to communities in need. By tapping a network of more than 50,000 professionals willing to lend time and expertise to help those who would not otherwise be able to afford their services, we bring design, construction and development services where they are most critically needed. The Design Open Mic series is a tangible representation of the power of designers to unite around a specific goal. We're excited to see designs that empower communities to overcome unfortunate circumstances or local challenges.What kind of presentations are we going to see at Dwell on Design when you lot take the stage?There will be a sequence of seven brief (seven-minute) PowerPoint and other similarly formatted presentations (they can include short video clips) from 4 - 5 pm on Saturday that follow the theme of Regeneration. Like our first traveling Design Open Mic in New York City, the format allows designers to fit their ideas, both theoretical and actual, into a rapid-fire format that keeps the audience's attention and also forces the presenters to be concise and engaging. We want the Dwell on Design audience to feel as excited about the ideas presented to them as the designers do themselves. Who is eligible to present at Design Open Mic?Both emerging and established design professionals are eligible to present at Design Open Mic. We want to throw a wide net out to the community of design professionals to encourage all people with an idea to submit — the sky is the limit if you have an idea that you want to be heard. Architecture for Humanity is not able to cover travel to Los Angeles and lodging, so we ask that all finalists either be local or able to cover their own travel and lodging. There will be free admission for each finalist and a guest.Why this format of short, punchy presentations?Seven minutes really isn't that long, so presenters must be engaging, articulate and their slideshow has to be succinct. We want the the presentations to keep moving and hold the audiences attention. Also, with this format, we have the pleasure of hearing a good number of presentations instead of only a few.