15 March, 2010

Collaborating Here and There: Lecture Series

By LuAnne Silvia
A few weeks ago I attended a two part lecture series entitled "Drawn Here And There: Contemporary Design In Conversation" at the Walker Art Center. The topic interested me, collaborating in creative partnerships. Specifically the speakers addressed collaborating between distant geographical locations, thus the Here and There. Technology has changed the way we communicate and has made it possible to have long distance working relationships.  The tools we have available to us today are making this option not only feasible but more common.
The first lecture reinforced this point during the lecture as only one of the two scheduled speakers was in the auditorium. Jon Forss from Minneapolis introduced his partner Kjell Ekhorn from Oslo, Norway via web cam when at the last minute Kjell wasn't able to fly to Minneapolis. Their list of creative work through their company, Non-Format, includes art direction, design, illustration and custom typography for the arts, music, advertising and fashion industry. Their partnership began in the traditional way of having one shared studio and when they both decided to move and have an ocean between them they didnt want their partnership to end. They found that their collaboration was more important than their physical location. Drawing on each others strengths they were a better team together. Jon listed as one advantage to having two different offices now is that he felt free to work through his creative process without self editing, and then present ideas to his partner for him to build on.
The second lecture I attended was presented by the architect partners of HouMinn Practice. Founded in Houston (Hou) the name describes their current arrangement: one of the architects is currently based in Minneapolis (Minn). Their company mission is founded on collaboration with experts in other disciplines. Students offer a novel approach. In a team environment there is an accelerated learning curve in which you can build upon others ideas. They find their research based work benefits and is appealing to a wider population.
At LiLu Interiors we also feel strongly about the benefits of collaborating on a design team and have built our studio around that belief. We collaborate within our studio, with our clients, with other members of the design team, and other trade professionals. This week we will look more closely at what happens as the result of collaboration. A hint: the best solutions.

Please share a comment!