2014: Year In Review

2014 has been another exciting year for Imprint, with some great new speakers, successful events, new partnerships, fresh learnings, expanded networks, and much more. Much like last year, I asked the Imprint team to each choose one highlight from 2014, thinking we’d send the year off by featuring some of the best moments here. So without further ado, let’s find out each Imprinter’s favorite post for 2014.


Every Single Imprint Post

Imprint’s founder, Julia Huang, very diplomatically asked if she could say she really, truly liked all the Imprint posts. “I love it when an Imprint Talk is over and we summarize it. I love it when AFD exhibitions are over and I’m in euphoria of how exquisite the exhibitions are. I also loved when we were doing the Fast Pitch and we posted the video of our accomplishment (not to mention getting brownie point from John Jay personally.”

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Imprint Presents John Maeda

Managing partner Tanya Raukko chose to highlight our talk with John Maeda, an award-winning creative leader whose career bridges the intersections of graphic design, computer science, art, leadership, and education. John is currently a Design Partner at Kleiner Perkins and he was kind enough to come to LA to discuss his roots as a Japanese American, and what he’s learned about his father through closely observing Japanese pop culture, and seeing shades of grey versus black and white.

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8 Questions with Mike Shinoda

Imprint partner Jeffstaple, principal of Staple Design, Staple Pigeon, and Reed Space, chose to highlight our 8 Questions interview with artist/musician Mike Shinoda. Jeff put us in touch with Michael who was kind enough to chat about everything from his artwork to his music and even his work for social good in Haiti. Fascinating stuff, which explains why this was one of our most-visited interviews of the year.

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Josh Mills on Fun Lovers Unite

Esteemed Imprint contributor and resident punk historian Martin Wong chose one of his own posts, which I can respect tremendously. Nothing wrong with digging your own work! “Maybe it’s tacky to pick one of my own pieces but I am still really stoked on my Q&A with Josh Mills. It’s not that I interviewed him so expertly. Rather, I love how Josh is taking both a leap into the unknown (creating a benefit and joining movement) and a stand for something that matters to him (the sensible treatment of guns). In these days of blacklists, boycotts, and party division, it is easy to feel frozen, disillusioned, and powerless. His example is a rebuttal to that notion–and his event was awesome, too.”

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Imprint Presents Jan Chipchase

Imprint manager Kevin Kim chose the Imprint Presents Jan Chipchase talk we organized in Downtown Los Angeles back in August. “Imprint Presents Jan Chipchase was particularly exciting because, in my mind, he represents that rogue and adventurous character that everyone dreams to be. Some take metaphorical risks, but Jan takes life or death risks that make more than just a difference in his life. Basically, he’s a badass.”

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Imprint Presents Jeff Hamada Video

Imprint’s trusty go-to graphic designer and resident tech blogger, Jerry Hsiao, chose to highlight our video from the Imprint Presents Jeff Hamada talk. “I’ve been a fan of Jeff Hamada’s blog Booooooom (that’s 7 o’s). I love his cultivation of everything I love into one blog; he always curates the best of the best. So when Imprint invited him to do an IP talk, I was psyched. Unfortunately, not being able to actually attend, the video of the event would be the next best thing. It was a true glimpse of what goes on in the mind of a blogger who I admire so much.”

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All Aaron De La Cruz Everything

Imprint’s newest team member, Associate/Designer Calvin Nakamaru couldn’t narrow his selection down to any one Aaron De La Cruz-related post in particular, and asked if he could select all the Aaron De La Cruz-related posts, as there have been quite a few this year. Since we get to work in front of Aaron’s incredible work every single day, it’s only fair that we share.

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Imprint Presents Koichi Suzuno Video

And for my own choice of the post-of-the-year, I’ve selected the video from our Imprint Presents Koichi Suzuno talk. I must admit I wasn’t very well-versed in the realm of architecture before coming aboard at Imprint. Through our involvement in Architecture for Dogs, I’ve had a tremendous education in contemporary architecture (with an emphasis on Japanese starchitects, many of whom I’ve been fortunate enough to meet through the project). Torafu Architects are one of the contributors to the project, and Koichi is one of two co-founders at this innovative Tokyo-based firm. In spite of the language barrier, and thanks to Julia’s expert on-the-spot translation (which I can promise you is very hard to do this smoothly), Suzuno-san presented some stunningly original thinking in his approach to design problems. Spending some time with him while he was in town was an added treat for me. And let’s not forget Torafu created the impressive Wanmock Kit.

How Plastic Bottles can Help the Homeless

Homelessness is just one of those unfortunate realities of society that will always go unresolved, but there are things that we can do to help minimize the extent of it. One idea is to recycle old plastic bottles, fill them with sand, and mold them together using mud or cement. This combination allegedly creates a bulletproof and fireproof wall, and a 64 degree indoor temperature during the hotter months. Of course, there are obvious hurdles such as where these homes can be built, building code restrictions, utilities, and sewage, among others, but it is certainly a crafty idea that is sure to inspire something more practical.

In case you’re curious, here are some stats to blow your mind…
1500 plastic bottles per second
60 seconds per minute X 60 minutes = 3600 seconds per hour
3600 seconds X 24 hours per day = 86400 seconds per day
1500 plastic bottles per second X 86400 seconds per day = 129,600,000 plastic bottles per day
47.3 Billion plastic bottles per year

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Via The Free Patriot

Thought Provoking

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Yes, I am a designer, but when I see a “How to” for designing, I’m so tempted to watch it anyway. Yeah, I paid for college, but come on, this is FREE design school, so how’s it compare?! It’s “Thought Provoking”, because even if you’re not a designer, I’d like to think these videos can give you some valuable insight on the thought process in design, or at least how to organize and run things well.

In this video Aaron Draplin founder of Field Notes was presented with a challenge from lynda.com to design a logo for a fictional company. He walks us through his process from brainstorming to the final presentation.

And as an added bonus, you can get a taste of that design school experience I went though… a previous professor of mine James Victore will be teaching a live online class January 12th and 13th. So head over and rsvp for seat in “Bold & Fearless Poster Design“.

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Hello, Archiculture

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Archiculture has been making the rounds at film festivals and architecture schools for a year now, and on Wednesday, December 17, it will be made available to the public via archiculturefilm.com and YouTube. The 25-minute documentary produced by Arbuckle Industries not only gives five architecture students the Spellbound or First Position treatment in an effort to shed light on the industry, the art, and the foundation that it’s built upon, but also includes interviews with the likes of Shigeru Ban (who happens to be part of Imprint’s own Architecture for Dogs)  Annie Choi (Dear Architects, I am sick of your shit), and David Byrne (you know). On the eve of the online premiere, co-producer and co-director Ian Harris made time to answer some questions I had about the project.

Is your intended audience architects or non-architects? Does it offer different things to either camp?
We see our audience like a bulls-eye target or dartboard with three rings where the architects in the middle of the first core ring. On the next ring are friends, family, and others who’ve gone through a design studio or worked with architects such as engineers. And then on the last ring are those who may hold an interest in architecture but don’t know much of the profession or what it takes to become one, like high school students or someone that loves Apple products and nice buildings. This film was structured and created in a way to offer an entertaining storyline for each of them to watch and then respond, while hopefully pulling them ever closer to an interest and understanding of the profession.

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Did you and your partner David Krantz have a filmmaking background going into the project?
Neither one of us had a background in filmmaking prior to Archiculture. To gain the necessary technical skills we took courses through a local production company in the Bay Area while we both worked our 50+ hour design jobs and worked on the pre-production phase of the film. It took us about a year to get the technical skills and conceptual outline locked before we could move ahead with selecting a host school.

Can you tell me how your background in architecture might have turned out to be useful to the project?
The question of how our architecture background or training has prepared us to produce a film and now run a video production company is one that came up a lot at the film screenings we attended at various universities. It is widely know in academia that close to half of those who leave architecture school do not go on to get licensed so there is definitely a larger question here, but personally I feel like the skills necessary to see an idea from a napkin sketch to a building are very similar to that of a tagline for a script to the final film. In both, the architect and filmmaker play the generalist who orchestrates a team around creating a vision. There are budgets, trades, restrictions, and moving targets to both and this is where I steel my architectural training prepared me for what I do now. I do feel like there are a lot of ways we could improve or even mildly prepare students for what it takes to practice architecture but that is another much larger discussion which can be seen through many of our recorded #Archichat discussions on our website and on the online discussion hashtag.

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What are the benefits of following students instead of architects?
Students are more passionate and less reserved than a practicing architect is. Our company, Arbuckle Industries, has interviewed over 100 of the world’s leading architects and I am generally amazed at how protected they can be of the profession and opportunity for open criticism when put on camera. I think that the idea of open critiques largely disappears once the business of architecture takes over in the profession, which is a great void. It does happen at various design centers and organizations but not at the level necessary to keep the field progressive enough for what society needs today by solving tomorrow’s problems.

What is difficult to gain access to the architects that you did talk to? There are some heavy-hitters in there!
Well, the good thing about being based in New York City and having the economic implosion drag our post-production out for years we were able to lay and wait until all these amazing folks came through. Some of them have great stories, like helping David Byrne’s mom down the stairs at his Playing the Building installation and figuring that was the best time as any to ask him for an interview about architecture. There are many, many more but I don’t want to ramble.

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How do folks like David Byrne, Sway Calloway, and Michael Dukakis fit in to the story you’re trying to tell?
The profession needs to step outside of itself and reflect on a bigger cultural and societal level for it to ever get into the minds and hearts of the general public. We found by putting so many architects onto camera that it was astonishingly difficult to get them to really convey what architecture means to society and how deeply embedded and empowering it can be. Problem is, most spaces in this country are never designed and most architects are focused upon keep their business sustained so we’ve been driven towards a race to the bottom. So we decided to make a concerted effort to step outside of the navel-gazing qualities of the profession and find people who could help ground it with their own personal experience, which led us to some of the folks you mention.

The trailer alludes to a “starchitect” system. Because of buildings like Gehry’s Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, for example, the general public is more aware of architecture than ever before. But what is the danger?
The starchitect focus of the profession and its media is definitely bad for the quality and general discourse within the profession. It does not permit enough coverage and open discussion of the great work that is happening at all levels, scales, and types. It can also be positive in some ways; someone like my mom in Ohio knows of a Frank Gehry type or a Shigeru Ban or Zaha Hadid. I think in a lot of ways the economic recession (or whatever you want to call it) along with the younger generations of architects coming of age in the profession has pulled the focus toward the quality of work from the ground up and open, cheap, instant-access communication platforms. This is another lighting rod topic that we touch on in the film and hopefully stoke a discussion about its impact and how we are training the next generation of architects and what type of future profession awaits them. We hope that the film helps empower discussion and engagement across all generations since it is rarely accomplished in the architectural field.

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Find out more about Archiculture at archiculturefilm.com. The film will be available for streaming on Wednesday, December 17! And for more articles, events, and announcements, follow Imprint Culture Lab via Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Ray Barbee

Ray Barbee has been a huge inspiration to me because we share the same interests. He is a professional skateboarder, musician and photographer based in Long Beach, CA. In this short film he did with Helio Collective and Leica camera, called “Let Us Roam”, he explains that you have to practice and put a lot time in what you do, but at the same time have the desire to do it.

LET US ROAM – Ray Barbee from Let Us Roam on Vimeo.

AFD @ Kanazawa 1/2

Last weekend, the latest Architecture for Dogs exhibition opened at the prestigious 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa. Project director Kenya Hara and Imprint’s founder, Julia Huang, were on hand to participate in the opening event, and our talented friend Brandon Shigeta was also on hand to document everything in fine style. Stay tuned for more content from this latest exhibition!

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UPS: Your wishes Delivered

I’ve posted a few times on WestJet and the amazing ways that they have given back to their passengers during the holidays, but this year, UPS has definitely taken the crown for best holiday campaign. When four year old Carson was born he was unable to drink anything containing milk protein and had to rely on formula that would get shipped to their home on a regular basis via UPS. This created a strong connection between Carson and their driver, Mr. Ernie, and was the beginning of a love for, of all things, UPS. Equipped with his own UPS truck, a route, and packages to deliver, Carson was able to live a day in the life of his idol, Mr. Ernie.

How you Brewin’?

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In recent weeks I’ve been on the hunt for a new coffee maker. I’ve checked out the K-Cup brewers and Nespresso machines, but I like brewing those beans. Here are three offerings all various forms of brewing that have popped up recently, two that are presently in pre-order status.

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Le Creuset French Press $60
Le Creuset is known for their cookware, the enamel pots that are both colorful and functional. Now they’ve created a stoneware french press to brew your coffee. And obviously have them in all their iconic colors to match your cookware.

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Blue Bottle Moka Pot $100 (pre-order)
You’ve probably heard about Blue Bottle coffee by now. Now they’ve expanded into the maker business and they’ve reinvented the italian classic, moka pot. A very stylish offering constructed of ceramic and steel with a cork handle.


Chemex Ottomatic $350 (pre-order)
And then theres the Chemex offering… usually a process of simply swirling water over the beans to a certain weight provides you with a nice cup of joe, but now there’s an easier “automatic” way of getting that Chemex brewed cup. The Ottomatic takes the hassle of waiting and pouring water over the grinds. It’s both stylish and modern. Like a piece of art I’d gladly display on my kitchen counter.

For more articles, events, and announcements, follow Imprint Culture Lab via Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Some Minor Good Things from 2014

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Point Lobos, California (July 1, 2014)

2014 is about to end and not a moment too soon. We’ll probably look back at it as an uneasy year riddled with tension between races and distrust of The Man from all sides. But there’s some brightness to be found if you make an effort. And even minor good things can be inspiring, enlightening, and perhaps even affect positive change.

Ian Lambot and Greg Girard, City of Darkness, Swindon, UK: Watermark, 2014

Ian Lambot and Greg Girard, City of Darkness, Swindon, UK: Watermark, 2014

1. Big-ass photo books. I don’t buy a lot of stuff and would never encourage anyone to hoard anything, but My Rules by Glen E. Friedman, The Sounds of Two Eyes Opening by Spot, and City of Darkness Revisited by Ian Lambot and Greg Girard provide a lot of value for those of us who can’t afford prints by our favorite photographers. And these particular ones have extra meaning for me since I acquired the first two at book signings and the last through its Kickstarter campaign. How cool is it to not only support artists whose work you admire and the subject matters that they inspire you with, but also be able to personally connect with them in a small way as well?

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Bob Burden at Comic-Con, Boris at The Casbah (July 24, 2014)

2. Boris playing The Casbah in San Diego while Comic-Con was going on. Two awesome worlds collided, and this was actually the second time it’s happened. Besides being a ripping live band, Boris will always remind me of my stint selling T-shirts for Damon & Naomi when they toured with the Japanese psychedelic doom band. Meanwhile, Comic-Con is something my brother and I have been attending since we were little kids who read and traded comics in 1979. Jack Kirby splash pages and noisy drone aren’t obvious partners but they have served as senses-shattering mind-blowers in different stages of life for us. Did I mention that Greg lives down there and we go together every time? (Universes collided in a badass way for us once more when we spotted two of the Melvins at a postseason Dodger game but that’s another story.)

3. Road Trips. I haven’t crossed a time zone or even stepped into an airplane since last year and that’s fine. My wife Wendy, daughter Eloise, and I have gone on more than a few drives to San Francisco, San Diego, and Monterey, Big Sur, and the Central Coast. Yes, we took the world’s biggest Charlie Brown fan on a pilgrimage to the Schulz Museum, spent time with all sorts of friends and family, ate some great food up and down the Golden State, and appreciate California’s offerings more than ever. But who could have known all that time on the road would lead Eloise to want to make her own mixtape? (Yes, on cassette and, no, she wasn’t revolting against the ones I made.)

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Imprint Presents Koichi Suzuno (Torafu Architects, Architecture for Dogs) at the Downtown Independent (May 5, 2014)

4. Work. Being trusted to write pretty much whatever I want is already as good as it gets. And then I get to attend fascinating Imprint talks and help out cool projects like Architecture for Dogs on top of that?

CicLAvia: Heart of the City (October 5, 2014)

CicLAvia: Heart of the City (October 5, 2014)

5. Bikes. Because Eloise learned how to ride a bicycle without training wheels this summer, Wendy and I had to get bikes for the first time since either of us were kids. And it’s been somewhat life altering. We travel the bike path that goes along the L.A. River almost weekly and have been hitting every CicLAvia that we can. Last weekend’s ride took place in South Central, and was a perfect time and place for families from all over the city to gather, mix, and have fun considering the current state of racial relations in our country. And as a proud Los Angeleno, it was also cool spotting the old locations of legendary jazz clubs on Central, eating rad Jamaican food at Leimert Park, and checking out everything and everyone in between.

Chuck Dukowski Sextet at Save Music in Chinatown 3 (May 18, 2014)

Chuck Dukowski Sextet at Save Music in Chinatown 3 (May 18, 2014)

6. Save Music in Chinatown. The DIY benefit matinees that my wife and I started last school year was one of my favorite things about last year, too. But now I love them even more. Bringing cool shows back to the neighborhood where my immigrant grandparents hung out, bridging cultures, getting different types of people together, and raising money for music education at our daughter’s public elementary school has always been awesome, but now I feel like a real community is forming that includes the bands, the DJs, the crew at Human Resources gallery, contributors to the raffle and bake sale, and regulars who go to every show. The amount of money that we can raise will never pay all of the music program’s enormous annual bill, but everyone is having a blast. We’re also showing little kids that music is played by regular people–not just superstars in arenas or on TV–and that regular people can make a difference in the community, as well. Check out our next show on January 11!

For more articles, events, and announcements, follow Imprint Culture Lab via Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

CicLAvia is an experience, not a race

The 11th annual CicLAvia bike festival was held Sunday morning making its way through the streets of South Los Angeles. Over 40,000 bicyclists, skateboarders and pedestrians participated to ride down the 6-mile car-free route on Martin Luther Kind Jr. Boulevard. Organizers said the idea behind the festival is to promote public health and the environment by getting people out of their cars and rediscovering their city. With a generous donation made from an anonymous supporter, they are expecting to have 4 more festivals in the LA area next year. If you are interested in attending the next event, be sure to give them a follow on Facebook or Twitter for the latest updates.
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via LA Times