The international Alvar Aalto Design Seminar, organized by the Alvar Aalto Academy, invites professionals and students to discuss a hot topic in design: the origin of product identity. For the sixth time, the seminar brings the audience top names in contemporary design and brings together established masters, seasoned professionals and students. These international design seminars were established as a forum for discussion and as a continuation of the spirit of functionalist and ecological design principles represented by Alvar Aalto. Previous themes have included the influence of purpose-designed objects and details in improving the quality of buildings, empty spaces and their significance in what designers produce, the interrelationship between surface and content and the choices made by designers. The 2010 theme of the Alvar Aalto Design Seminar explores the creative process of the designer, something that does not show in the final product. What does the design of an industrial product comprise? How does the designer decide what to show and what not to show? And what is the role of art and creativity in mass production? What is the relationship of commerciality to functionality and beauty? Speakers will also address the issue of how to design a long-lasting and durable product. What type of corporate setting produces a high-quality result? How does one create a classic? ”Lying behind the identity and quality of a piece of applied art that has become a classic is often a successful match of functionality and beauty. Yet, the role of art as a material for product identity has often been overlooked, even if it is obvious that with classic products art is precisely the glue that provides them with a long life and improves their quality. There is always that ’invisible’ something that produces the insightful ideas,” said Seminar chair Timo Salli. The seminar speakers, chosen by Timo Salli, include industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa from Japan, industrial designer Ross Lovegrove from the UK, designer Inga Sempé from France, professor and design consultant Hans Maier-Aichen from Germany, the design group Front from Sweden, interior designer Simo Heikkilä from Finland and designer Clemens Weisshaar from Germany. The Alvar Aalto Design Seminar is arranged triennially, alternating with the Alvar Aalto Symposium and the Alvar Aalto Research Conference. The next seminar will be held August 21-22, 2010, in Helsinki, Finland's University of Jyväskylä, which was designed by Alvar Aalto. The theme "Invisible - The origin of product identity" has been conceptualized by Timo Salli, a designer and professor of Applied Art and Design at the Aalto University School of Art and Design.
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