Moderated by Helen Maria Nugent, Professor and Chair of the Designed Objects Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Pete Oyler is a versatile designer and thinker whose work has been published and showcased (inter)nationally. Oyler is particularly interested in design semiotics and in the potential of three-dimensional objects to incite imaginative curiosity. Oyler holds a BA in American Studies and an MFA in Furniture Design from the Rhode Island School of Design.
In 2012 Oyler was named one of Forbes Magazine’s Top 30 Under 30 for Art & Design. Oyler’s work has been exhibited and featured (inter)nationally. Recent publications include The New York Times, Elle Décor, Dwell, Ideat, Modern Painters, and Wallpaper. Oyler produces work for license and larger volume production eponymously and is a Principal at Assembly Design, an award-winning studio he co-founded with Interior Designer Nora Mattingly. Oyler is an Assistant Professor in Designed Objects at the School of Art Institute of Chicago.
Group shot from the Fall 2016 Areaware collection
Lisa Cheng Smith is Chief Design Officer at Areaware, a design brand based in New York City. She works with independent designers to bring their ideas into production, and is involved in all aspects of commercialization, from concept selection to distribution.
In 2009, she founded Object Design League (ODL) with Caroline Linder, mounting a series of exhibitions, workshops, and pop-up shops in support of the Chicago design scene. Eventually, ODL transformed into ODLCO, a manufacturing company that grew out of the desire to bring products to market as a primary way of supporting design. Their first product, the Wabi Nabe cast iron pot by Gabriel Hargrove, was launched in 2011, marking a shift in professional focus from design to production. Throughout her career, she has taught design courses at SAIC (2009-2014) and MIT (2016). Lisa earned a BS from MIT in 2004 and an MDes from SAIC in 2008.
Gradient Puzzle by Bryce Wilner for Areaware
Dymaxion Globe by Buckminster Fuller Institute and Brendan Ravenhill for Areaware
For more than 150 years, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has been a leader in educating the world’s most influential artists, designers, and scholars. Located in downtown Chicago with a fine arts graduate program consistently ranking among the top programs in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, SAIC provides an interdisciplinary approach to art and design as well as world-class resources, including the Art Institute of Chicago museum, on-campus galleries, and state-of-the-art facilities. SAIC’s undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate students have the freedom to take risks and create the bold ideas that transform Chicago and the world—as seen through notable alumni and faculty such as Michelle Grabner, David Sedaris, Elizabeth Murray, Richard Hunt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Cynthia Rowley, Nick Cave, Jeff Koons, and LeRoy Neiman.