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Raising Creatives: Kids Design Workshop Recap

I was thrilled to hold our first Kids Design! Workshop this month at the the Knoll showroom in Phoenix. Knoll was the perfect backdrop for a workshop teaching kids all of the basics of architecture. Our group ranged from kindergarten to 5th grade, which is diverse, but everyone did great wherever they were ability-wise. The workshop had 3 components: Learning, Thinking and Making.  In the learning segment, I taught the kids about architecture including how buildings are designed and what architects need to think about to design.  In the thinking portion, the kids used a guided brainstorming activity to think through the decision-making of their design and draw what the building will look like.  In the making segment, the kids took their work from 2D to 3D by building their design out of cookies.  (And there was some eating going on, too). I made a lot of really interesting observations about the kids during the workshop.  I often saw light bulbs go off when the kids made connections between “architecture”, which was a big and new word for a lot of them, and the way that they already knew and used architecture in real life: restaurants, their home, their school, etc....

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Happy 100th Birthday, Florence Knoll!

This week marks the 100th birthday of design icon, Florence Knoll. Florence Knoll is the founder of the famed modern furniture company, Knoll, and mother of what we know today as commercial interior design. Knoll collaborated with some of the greatest design minds of mid-century America and studied under architectural giants such as Mies Van Der Rohe, Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer. There are many facets of Knoll’s career which we could explore, but I want to focus on one: The Knoll Planning Unit. Florence Knoll started the Knoll Planning Unit as a part of the furniture company founded by her and her late husband, Hans Knoll. Florence saw a need to design interior spaces that were functional to the users of those spaces, not merely decorate them.  This is the huge distinct between interior decoration and interior design, although the two very different jobs are often confused. By creating the Knoll Planning Unit, Florence Knoll birthed the commercial interior design profession.  Much more than decorating, interior designers draw on their architectural backgrounds to define space, efficiency and functionality in office planning. The needs of these spaces were often drivers for the furniture that the furniture arm of Knoll would develop. Her process was...

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7 Reasons to Start Your Child on a Sketchbook

My son is a third grader and he brings a sketchbook wherever he goes.  He is known for this at his school and some kids have started to bring their own journals and asked their parents to buy the same pens my son uses.  He is a prolific artist filling bankers boxes with old journals. I’m no longer a third grader, but I do the same.  I have my sketchbook tucked into my bag along with a pencil case everywhere I go.  I look forward to the moments throughout the day when I can sneak in a few sketches such as in waiting rooms or when I’m on hold attempting to make an appointment. Keeping a sketchbook is an ages-old tradition of generating, documenting and keeping track of creative ideas; it is a powerful tool for creativity. Artists and design practitioners use sketchbooks daily in their professional and personal work.  Think of it as a visual journal to express yourself and your ideas.  It is a safe place to practice budding drawing skills and work through ideas.  And a sketchbook is a great tool for children, too. 1.Fine Motor Practice and Drawing Development When I am working with my 3rd graders in the...

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