Before globalization moved manufacturing overseas, before every American skyline was punctuated by factory smokestacks, even before the industrial revolution changed the meaning of "manufacturing" forever, American communities made products.
Everything from clothing to tools, furniture to vehicles were all produced. This production was done by local communities for local communities, using local materials. The 100 Mile Design Challenge dares designers to reclaim this local flavor without taking us back to the stone age.
In the installation at ICFF we juxtapose objects developed by students from Baltimore’s MICA Environmental Design department, lead by faculty Inna Alesina and Gavin Stewart, and students from The University of Washington in Seattle Industrial Design, lead by UW faculty Dominic Muren. This was a semester–long collaboration resulting in collection that we hope will answer some question that we asked in the beginning including: How similar will the end results be?
The Maryland Institute College of Art Environmental Design students received help from The Conservation Department at The National Aquarium and Weed Warriors program to start their material exploration from invasive plant species such as bamboo, Phragmatis, Atlantis (The Tree of Heaven) and highly invasive vines. Students also collected abundant materials such as drift wood, local clays , well as left-overs from industry such as oyster shells and cloth. Some inspiration came from a rich Baltimore history, Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”, the first city gas lights, Baltimore album quilts and of course the Blue Crab.
Baltimore was a major port city of post colonial Maryland and a center for tobacco and sugar trade. Domino Sugar is still a prominent structure at Locust Point. Over time it was discovered that cotton and tobacco crops were depleting soils. Farms (plantations) started to grow wheat and rye, turning Maryland into the breadbasket of colonial America. Surrounded by subtropical forest Baltimore always had an abundance of timber, but the most symbolic creature of our city was the Blue Crab. Rich history, architecture, and culture as well as the scent of Old Bay Seasoning in the air, makes it fun to create truly Baltimorean objects.
Press inquiries - please contact instructor and designer Inna Alesina for more information and images. Inna can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
High quality press photos - http://faculty.washington.edu/dmuren/ICFF_Images.zip