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Oct. 26, 2009

Elegant Midcentury Modern House Traces History to Texas' First Black Architect
from The Statesman
You know when you see it: The Philips House is something special. In 1964, most high-end modern houses were custom-designed for the western hills. But this one, named for businesswoman Della Philips, the original owner, was custom-designed for its East Austin lot in Texas. While not yet designated a historic landmark, the house reflects Austin history. Similar to mid-20th-century Usonian designs by Frank Lloyd Wright, the home was designed by the first African American to enroll in and graduate from the University of Texas School of Architecture. More

Redecorating Isn't Always Pretty
from The New York Times
Andrea Sperling, a photographer and single mother who lives in Gramercy Park, had a thrilling epiphany this summer: her daughter, Grace, 11, had finally outgrown the toys and child-size furniture that had been clogging their living room for more than a decade. More

Fashion/ Apparel Design

New York Celebrates its Favorite Burrows
from VIBE
The Harlem Renaissance was in full swing with uptown Manhattan's fashion crowd coming out to pay homage to legendary designer Stephen Burrows while supporting the new crop of Harlem's young talent. Burrows--the first African-American designer to win international acclaim with his designs garbing fashion-forward icons like Cher, Iman and Diana Ross--looked on at the Harlem Gatehouse as the show featured three emerging designers presenting their Spring 2010 collections. More

Five Ways Coco Chanel has Inspired Fashion Today
from OPRAH
Coco Chanel was one of the most influential designers of her time—even a woman who has never bought an original Chanel piece is sure to own something that was inspired by the iconic designer. Valerie Steele, director of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, shares some of Chanel's classic styles that made fashion what it is today. More

Graphic Design/Visual Communication

James Simon aka "The Black Walt Disney" with Soooouuuullll !!!!!!!
from StereoTypeded
If you've not heard of James Simon, well, today is the day. Simon, a graduate of New York's renowned High School of Art and Design and the prestigious School of Visual Arts, would later be dubbed "the Black Walt Disney" by observers of his artistic talents, pioneering efforts within the arts and his groundbreaking body of work. He and his company, Wantu Animation (Wantu is Swahili for beautiful), was a powerful presence within the animation industry starting in the 1960's. His work appeared on the TV screen with such childhood classics as Sesame Street and the Electric Company. Wantu Animation also created the distinctive and memorable opening animated funky train for Don Cornelious and his TV show the "Soul Train." More

from Print Magazine
Portraiture is notoriously difficult. Like impersonation, it requires an almost unearthly talent for occupying another person and shining out their likeness from a neutral canvas. Von, a one-named phenom from Kent, England, does just that as he channels people on the page—from Ronald Reagan to British bass guitarist Jah Wobble—with intensely detailed, boldly humanist renderings that demonstrate his affinity for the idioms of music, fashion, politics, and design. More

Industrial/Product Design

Mobile Service Tracks Alzheimer's Patients
from InformationWeek
The Alzheimer's Association has introduced a service designed to help healthcare providers and patients' families keep track of their charges. Patients with Alzheimer's disease may wander away from familiar surroundings and not know how to return. That's where the wireless service comes in. Comfort Zone, as it is called, is a Web-based application that communicates the location of a person with Alzheimer's, offering caregivers assistance with round-the-clock monitoring services and access to emergency health records from the MedicAlert Foundation. More

The Electric Car and the Road Not Taken
from The New York Times
It's one of the most exciting design challenges of our time. It's a (very) rare opportunity to reinvent a ubiquitous object that is the most expensive — and, often, most emotive — thing that many people will ever buy except for their homes. It's also a chance to help to save the planet. What is it? The electric car. More

OBD Job Bulletin


We seek a senior person with strong design background and leadership skills. Applicants may be academic with PhD and research and publications in design or practitioner with extensive industrial and applied experience in design & business. Teaching experience is essential.

The position is for a tenured faculty member or Clinical Professor (non-tenure track). In the former case, the appointment will be within whatever engineering department best matches the candidate’s training and expertise. A PhD is desirable and an established record of research and highly visible publications in design are essential. A Clinical Professor is expected to have extensive industrial and applied experience within design and business. Teaching experience is essential.

To ensure full consideration, applications should be received by Dec. 1, 2009. Applicants should submit a curriculum vita, a description of teaching interests, a statement of vision for research and creative activities, and the names and contact information for three references. Submission information is at Applicants can find more information at the MMM and Segal Web sites: and

Northwestern University is an Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity Employer. Women and individuals in underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States.

Announcements/Special Events

The Design Establishment

WASHINGTON, D.C./Organization of Black Designers/ -- What does it mean to be the designer of the future? According to The Design Establishment it means broadening our understanding of design, innovating new forms, exploiting new technologies, inventing new object-types, advancing new design philosophies, developing new approaches to the creative process, and enhancing the culture of design.

We are particularly interested in recruiting minority mentors since the after-school youth come from diverse backgrounds.

But most of all it means embracing diversity. Diversity culturally, diversity racially, and gender and ethnic based diversity.

The Design Establishment is a new initiative created by the Organization of Black Designers to commission and showcase the work of outstanding African American designers. Ours is a visionary approach, intended to forge a new model for design companies of the 21st-century.

OBD is partnering with apparel, product and furniture manufacturers to bring to market the works of seasoned African American design professionals, such as Ron Wilch, Noel Mayo, Courtney Sloan, Cheryl Riley, Richard Harris, Rodney Shade, Steven Cutting and many more. Its goal: to produce stunning apparel, products, furnishing, and environments.

"After nearly ten years of advocating design diversity and African American design talent, we see the design industry and the professions still not nearly as "diversity saturated" as it should be", says David Rice, chairman of the Washington, DC based Organization of Black Designers. "Most companies particularly manufacturers with the power to bring products to market have only paid lip service to design diversity. The same is true of major retailers who pride themselves on selling design to the masses. They take our dollars but they are not supporting or nurturing the development of designers of color and are missing out on the rich and unique cultural perspectives that these designers can bring to influence their bottom lines", Rice continues.

Very few have designers of color in their design studios. There are some notable exceptions, like Nike, Daimler-Chrysler Corporation, Ford Motors, and General Motors. But the vast majority of furniture, product, and accessory manufacturers have done nothing.

The Design Establishment initiative will offer those companies "who cannot find a designer of color" a very viable resource. The OBD database lists 21,000 designers and allied professionals.

Well, here we are. Come and get us!

CONTACT: Bill Browne, OBD Services, at (202) 489-4822

OBD Announces New Travel Services -

OBD announces, OBD's official Web site for all of your travel needs.

Through our new partnership with Rovia you are guaranteed the absolute lowest price for your reservations. If you find a lower price anywhere else, contact the number located on the pricing page or go to the chat button and discuss your fare differential. It will be matched or bettered.

Airline, Hotel, Car Rental, Cruise reservations, Vacations, and Special Activities, like Honeymoon and Wedding packages. See the Honeymoon and Bridal Registry. It is full of great features.

Want to plan a design culture trip to Rome, Paris, Brazil or anywhere else in the world? Contact OBD at 202-659-3918 and we will help you with your travel and event planning. From itinerary, to resort or hotel reservations.

And once you use our PowerSearch fare and reservation finder you will be using the most advanced new platform for booking and travel sales. PowerSearch has been developed by veterans with over 24 years of experience in the travel industry.

This new platform with its proprietary booking engine takes destination travel to the next generation and further. It searches every available fare to give you the most comprehensive fare and reservation options possible.

And now the good part. A percentage of your travel dollar will be donated to the OBD Scholarship Initiative. So what are you waiting for? Go to today to make your next travel reservations.

David Rice
OBD Chairman
Organization of Black Designers


Designed To Travel!

OBD has its own full-service travel site: It offers some of the best travel, vacation and rental car discounts anywhere -- plus a percentage of the revenue goes to OBD's scholarship fund.

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