Monthly Archives: October 2012

WHICH DESIGNER LOVES HARRY POTTER?

This weekend, October 26 to 28, the Designers and Books Fair is taking place on FIT’s campus. You can watch Valerie Steele, director of The Museum at FIT, interview Donna Karan, or New York magazine’s Wendy Goodman speak with Todd Oldham.

Or you can just visit the Designers and Books website, and read about what books celebrities from all over the design spectrum most cherish.

Some designers confirmed what we’ve already guessed. Hue is not surprised, for example, that Ralph Rucci ’80 listed three Shakespeare plays in his list of faves. Or that illustrator Maira Kalman loves Winnie the Pooh and Remembrance of Things Past.

Some were willing to admit that they occasionally enjoy lighter fare. Stephen Burrows ’66 reads Harry Potter and Agatha Christie mysteries. Todd Oldham mixes his Diane Arbus monograph with his Amy Sedaris cookbook. (Admittedly, it’s not too hard to see the connection between the two.)

Other designers chose the highbrow route, mystifying us with their intellectual capacity. Graphic-design legend Milton Glaser chose three books by John Berger, whose idea-rich prose cannot be absorbed while listening to your iPod. (Hue has tried.)

So what does Isaac Mizrahi read? Or Cynthia Rowley? Or Karim Rashid? Head on over and find out.

FIT ECONOMISTS DECODE ELECTION PROPAGANDA

Romney and Obama

If the debates don’t solve anything, maybe a wrestling match will.

Regardless of how many binders full of women Mitt Romney keeps in his desk drawer, Hue finds all this economy talk a little baffling. Who really knows which economic plan, if either, will bring back the boom? To that end, we turned to two of FIT’s Economics professors for a little professional insight.

Paul Clement, assistant professor of Economics:

“Romney has proposed a $5 trillion tax cut without expanding the deficit. Instead he proposed to close the loopholes in our tax code and get rid of some deductions. The problem with that is there’s no way he can raise $5 trillion that way, unless he faces the deductions that millionaires and billionaires have, and that would anger his base.

“I think Obama’s plan will work. This is probably the worst recession since the Great Depression. Companies are not going to invest their money until the economy starts to get better. The government needs to act as the stimulus to get the economy going, to encourage the private sector to spend money and create economic growth. And Romney has offered no specifics as to how he’s going to stimulate the economy.”

Juan DelaCruz, adjunct assistant in Economics (and assistant professor at Lehman College):

“I don’t think unemployment is declining. A 5 percent unemployment rate is healthy. Even the 7.8 percent that we’re seeing this month might be misleading. The labor force has been shrinking over the past four years. Many people are giving up on finding jobs. And 47 million people live on food stamps.

“The economy relies on the private sector. Why not support the private sector to create jobs? I don’t believe governments can produce better products than the private sector. And if you raise taxes on the rich, they’ll go somewhere else. Tax reform needs to happen. If you have a tax code that’s clear and simple, without loopholes, you can lower tax rates for everyone.”

Hue has a preferred candidate (but we’re not telling!). Who is yours and why?

PROFESSOR KONG MAKES IT BIG

Assistant Professor Anne Kong, Display and Exhibit Design ’77, was named one of nine Retail Design Influencers in DDI Magazine’s September issue, for her work bringing together Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design students and the industry they’re working toward.

She’s also mad talented at building stuff.

As a prototyper, she takes commissions to create larger-than-life versions of everyday products. Like these Skullcandy headphones that she custom-built, all in different sizes, for 25 statues around New York City.

Even the FiDi bull is trying to tune us out.

She sculpted each one in foam, coated it in plaster, and sanded it smooth. Then she lay a sheet of PVC plastic over it and heated it up until the plastic started to droop. A vacuum machine underneath sucked the PVC onto the form, and voila, instant headphones. They might not have been functional, but from a marketing perspective, they worked like a charm.

She also made this enormous Clarisonic cleansing device, for a trade show. If it actually vibrated, this baby could polish the kitchen floor in ten seconds flat.

The mother of all sonic cleansing brushes.

She placed each bristle, as fine as a human hair, by hand. It took four days.

The Clarisonic brush before going into hair and makeup.

“They give you killer deadlines in this business,” she says. “And when you finish something, they’ll ask you to illuminate it.”

These feats are all the more astounding when you consider that Hue cannot make a working paper airplane.