This large-scale exhibition of innovative contemporary American design is part of an ongoing series that presents the best work from the prior three years in product design, architecture, furniture, film, graphics, new technologies, animation, science, and fashion. On view will be the work of over 80 designers and firms, ranging from established design leaders such as Apple, architect Santiago Calatrava, and Nike Inc., to emerging designers like Joshua Davis, Jessica Smith, and David Wiseman. For Design Life Now, the ICA has commissioned one of the featured architects, Michael Meredith, Associate Professor of Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, to design and adapt the exhibition for the museum’s galleries.
Design Life Now focuses on four principal ideas that characterize elements of the design world during the last three years: emulating life; community; hand-crafted and do-it-yourself design; and transformation. Presented in the exhibition will be designs that emulate the natural world—either through form or movement—in fields from game design to robotics and in products ranging from kayaks to sneakers. Design Life Now demonstrates how design has responded to the growth and dissemination of the Internet, which has led to the evolution of vast communities that interact across enormous distances via blogs, film and animation, graphic design, limited-edition toys, and music. A major segment of Design Life Now features designers whose work reflects a renewed appreciation for craft and personalization through the use of specialized techniques such as embroidery and beading. The exhibition also explores the transformation of form and materials through design, whether by bringing the outside into architectural interiors or by using light to dissolve and transform surfaces.