In The Event!

Dateline: January 27, 2020 Spark Honored the Winners at Autodesk in San Francisco
It was our last live event before the Pandemic broke out, within weeks!

The Winners Celebration In January Was Excellent
This year we re-invented the Celebration event format, evolving from a large public party to a mostly private gathering of winners and their teams. We asked several of these famous design leaders to address the group, relating their process and inspiration for the winning work. They were very interesting and at times, quite moving talks. These designers included:

Robert Hubler, Sr Industrial Designer & Tim Hulford, Design Director, Intuitive Surgical

Ellen Lou, Director of Urban Design, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Mike Derocher, Director, 3D Print Design, HP

Rob Moser, Director of Design, HP

Dan Harden, CEO & Design Director, Whipsaw

Nichole Rouillac, Founding Partner, level design sf

You may view the complete video of the event at Spark’s YouTube page.

Dateline: November 21, 2019 Hebei Design Week
Yes– THAT Hebei! For the second year Spark curated a large exhibition of Spark winners in Hebei. Shortly afterwards it became a hotbed of the vicious virus that haunted us all. We—and all of our friends and colleagues, left in good health and thankfully are all OK. Just two weeks prior to the Hebei show, we mounted the same exhibition at the Shenzhen Industrial Design Week, November 3-8. The organizers were  our partners at the Shenzhen Industrial Design Association, which pulled everything together beautifully as usual. Here’s a few pix of the Hebei Design Week, our last visit to China:

Opening Day

Fearless Leaders!

Meet The Minders! We were delighted to have Bella (fourth from left) and her team supporting us again

We used large fabric panels this year—more sustainable than shipping stuff

Our host Shirley Feng, Director of the Shenzhen Industrial Design Association and a Provincial Leader toured our exhibit

Martin Heck, Brandis Design, Peter Kuchnicki, Spark & Victor Declety, CEO, Union Square

Guess somebody was worried about all those designers milling around!

This young designer, Hu Miaodi, won a Gold Spark Award for her Flexible Humidifier. She’s from the Hebei University of Technology

Kids always like our exhibits!

We usually have visitors buzzing around our Sparks

Always a good press turnout

Booths By Design

Our daily lunch symposium—great fun, great people!

The final night Gala—exciting tribute to the region’s designers. And a long goodbye to Hebei!

Dateline: December 3 2019 Hong Kong Spaces & Student Juries in Hong Kong
For the fifth year, Spark juries were held in Hong Kong. It’s a delightful city but it was locked down during heavy protests. Luckily we had moved to a lovely campus on the peaceful north side of the island. Check out the way we worked our way through a large number of entries below—But first, some beauty shots!

Passing above some real density here

That’s a flock of Egrets above the Hong Kong Zoo

Yes– It’s Chicago in Hong Kong! Our excellent host

The campus is on the coast overlooking the South China Sea

There’s always shipping traffic on these waters

Does this guy have enough mobiles? Hope so!

Here’s the gang, about to begin. Starting upper left: Jurors Cheol Woo Park, CDO, Royole Corporation,
Edmund Ng, Co-Founder, KONCEPT Lighting & David B. Frank, Design Director, Gensler

Tang Chen-Chuan, Director, Tang Designs, Arin Lin, YUSI Group, Ryan Jongwoo Choi, Industrial Designer, McLaren & Cheol

Elena Raho, Founder & CEO, HERE CREATE

Ame Engelhart, Director, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill & Fabienne Munch, Executive Director Global Initiatives & Strategy, The University of Chicago

This was an excellent jury and day. Do check out the winners they chose in the 2019 Winners Gallery.

Dateline: November 18, 2019 San Francisco Hosts Spark Juries
With a terrific group of Jurors, Spark judged many of the design categories we cover. Here’s a look at the process:
The Team Assembled War Room! Claude Zellweger, Director of Design, Google & Antonio Borja, Director, Industrial Design, Academy of Art University
Sam Lucente, Principal, Lucente Design & Former Global VP Design, HP. That’s Norio Fujikawa, Executive Creative Director, ASTRO Studio next to Sam

Colin Owen, Design Director, Elroy Air, Eric Chan, Founder, Ecco Design & Jochen Backs, Principal, Studio Backs
Peter Bristol, Head of Industrial Design, Facebook VR/AR/Portal         Mike Nuttall, Co-Founder, IDEO  & Jury Mentor

The Voting Begins
Arin Bhowmick, VP & Chief Design Officer, IBM Cloud, Data and AI      Steven R. Umbach, Principal, Umbach Consulting Group

Everything Considered

We worked from 9am to after 6pm

Colin Owen, Design Director, Elroy Air & Hugo Eccles, CD, Special Projects Office  Kate Freebairn, Director of UX, Google Nest

Parting Shot
Check out the winners they chose in the 2019 Winners Gallery.

Dateline: September 25 Asian American Architects & Engineer Annual Gala
Spark was invited by Chairman Chi-Hsin Shao to form a keynote panel for the prestigious AAAE event in September in San Francisco. The invitation asked us to tell the story of Spark from the viewpoint of our participants. With Spark Director Clark Kellogg leading off, Mark Sarkisian and Ellen Lou described their recent winning projects for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Mark’s project, an educational experiment exploring the Timbrel Arch, won a Gold, as did Ellen’s Shanghai Old Town Master Plan. It was a most interesting talk and great fun to meet this community.

Mark, Ellen & Clark–All Best!

Dateline: June 14, 2019 Student Design Jury
The Spring Semester jury always has a great time debating and judging incredible student work. Here’s the team in action:

The Setup

Irina Kozlovskaya, Director, Industrial Design, Fitbit & Nichole Rouillac, Founding Partner, level design sf

Willy Carteau, Senior Industrial Designer, Google  & Earl Gee, Partner, Gee + Chung Design


Lisa Sullivan, Principal, L.Sullivan Design & Communications           Mary Katica, Program Director,

Mathias Hintermann, Industrial Designer, Snap Inc.

Sally Darby, Senior Strategist, Frog design, Fariba Marnani, Industrial Designer, Eichleay, Inc  & Jochen Backs, Principal, Studio Backs

Nice job folks!
Check out the winners they chose in the 2019 Winners Gallery.

Dateline: April, 2018 Milano

The Milan Design Week and the Salone del Mobile are underway, the skies are blue and the sun (and exhibits) are hot. Well– the exhibits are, and the weather is deliciously warm and balmy. We’ve been on a whirlwind pre-opening and opening tour of the Brera, Tortona and Sant’Ambrogio districts and always our favorite stop, the galleries of the Triennelle.

Interesting meets were held with head of Dassault Experience Design, Anne Asensio, Luisa Bocchietto, President of the World Design Organization, Paulo Albina of the Fodazione Franco Albini (look him up!) and the great lighting maestro, Carlo Guglielmi, with his new house, Firmamento. Our hosts for the week are Paolo and Gianni of the famous lighting firm, CastagnaRavelli, later joined by Professor Jozef LeGrand, University der  Kunst und Design, Berlin, another esteemed lighting designer. It’s always difficult to sort out the barrage of design, culture, art and spectacular sights during these weeks, and it’s very helpful to have guidance from patient friends.

So, next up, we leave the city cobblestones and head up to the Salone furniture show, held at the vast fairground of Rho. We’ll initially focus on the Salone Satellite pavilion, dedicated to designers under 35 just breaking into this complicated eco-system. We look for work that would be competitive in the Spark Awards. Here, we see Sparks! Ciao from Sunny Lombardy!

Dateline January 10, 2017 San Francisco Spark Panel on Design Thinking
This was a series of panel discussions on the importance of Design Thinking—even beyond the worlds of design. Experts included (left to right) Arnold Wasserman, founder of Collective Invention; KwanMyoung Kim, Dean, Graduate Industrial Design, UNIST; Phil Rose, Co-Founder, Alquemy Design and Clark Kellogg, Asst Professor, Design Thinking, UC Berkeley Hass. It was very well received and Spark will continue to offer these educational opportunities annually.

Spark 10th Anniversary Hong Kong Exhibition & Juries

Hong Kong Exposition Centre
The Spark exhibit visited the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre and included winners from 2012 to work judged the day before at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The exhibit included student designs, individual designers and design practices like fuseproject, SOM, Whipsaw, Studio Hinrichs, LUNAR, Koncept, Karim Rashid, RKS, AECOM, Anvil, World Kitchen and many more. The Pavilion was sponsored by Whirlpool China Our grateful thanks to all the fine folks at Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Business of Design Week, Global Design Network, Hong Kong Polytechnic School of Design, the Spark Jurors and our helpful friends. We had a great time! All Best! 

2016 HK Juries Completed
Spark has finished all of this year’s juries, ending with an exciting finale in Hong Kong. We judged the “Dreamer Design” categories– Spark Concept; Spark MAKR and Spark PROTO. It took place in Zaha Hadid’s fabulous Jockey Club Innovation Tower, home to the Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Design, and the Jockey Club Design Institute. Special thanks to School of Design Dean Cees de Bont for hosting Spark in such an inspiring venue.

The Jury, from left to right; Chau Nguyen, LUNAR Singapore; Tim Dearborn, Dell; Celina Yan Dong, Whirlpool; Angie Kim, AYK; Peter Kuchnicki, Spark; Sheng-Hung Lee, IDEO; Claudya Piazera, Women Designer’s World Convention; Hari Nair, Whirlpool; Edmund Ng, Koncept and Lee Chi-Wing, Milk Design.

The HK jury was terrific and with careful debate and solid decisions they discovered some of the best designs in these categories we’ve seen.  In particular, a rare top honor, a SPARK! Special Mention went to an incredible educational tool to teach computer coding to youngsters. Check “iball” out >HERE  

All good years with wonderful entries, judges and participants. Thanks all, for Sparking. We’ll See You Again–Eventually!

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