Objects Get Personal: Work from the Istanbul Design Biennial

Tuesday, February 10, 10:30 p.m.Wednesday, February 11, 12:00 a.m.
The LeRoy Neiman Center,
37 S. Wabash Ave., 1st floor
Chicago, IL
United States

Haelo Design, Parsons & Charlesworth, and Studio Giffin'TerMeer moderated by Zoë Ryan

Design is inextricably linked to every aspect of our daily lives. With every great leap forward, designers must fulfill an increasingly varied range of roles. Exploring the work of three inventive designers, this panel investigates how they employ design to deal with issues related to our personal lives. From projects about issues as diverse as masculinity and femininity to projects that question beauty and ugliness, love and heroism, their work encourages users to reconsider their preconceptions and suggest new ways of interpreting and interacting with the world around us.


Tim Parsons and Jessica Charlesworth are a Chicago-based, British husband-and-wife team working in the realm of experimental and speculative object making. They moved to Chicago in 2010 for Parsons to take up the position of Associate Professor in Designed Objects at the SAIC. Their work is wide-ranging, from material experimentation and adapting found objects, to speculative and narrative-led work. They are both graduates of the Royal College of Art in London, Charlesworth, from the Design Interactions course (graduating 2007) and Parsons from Design Products (graduating 2000).

Partners in the product design studio giffin'termeer, designers and educators Jess Giffin and Jim TerMeer primarily work at the small-scale of objects such as boutique electronics, lighting, gifts and wearable products. Their work spans across commercial and cultural venues, most recently exploring lightweight lighting, growing products, and the nature of 3D scanning. Alongside their work with the studio, they are both faculty at SAIC, teaching in design, Fashion, and Printmedia. Recent group exhibitions include: 2nd Istanbul Design Biennial 2014, Work/Shop Tuttobene at the Magazzini, Milan, Bio23: Design Relations, the Museum of Architecture and Design, Ljubljana.

Haelo Design is a multidisciplinary design practice founded in 1994 by Helen Maria Nugent and Ron Kirkpatrick. The studio designs furniture, lighting, home accessories, exhibitions, and jewelry alongside speculative projects that explore new technologies, object typologies, and user experiences. Helen Maria Nugent received graduate and undergraduate degrees in Environmental Art and Design from the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland. She is Professor and Chair of the Designed Objects program at SAIC. Kirkpatrick is a graduate of the University of Florida where he studied history, economics and architecture. He is also the Executive Director of Design and Construction at SAIC.

Zoë Ryan is the John H. Bryan Chair and Curator of Architecture and Design at the Art Institute of Chicago. Zoë has curated monographic exhibitions on the work of designer Konstantin Grcic, architect Jeanne Gang, and graphic designers Graphic Thought Facility. She is currently co-curating a major mid-career survey on the work of architect David Adjaye. In 2014, Zoë was the curator of the Istanbul Design Biennial. Zoë is an adjunct faculty member at SAIC and UIC. In 2012, Fast Companynamed Zoë one of 50 people shaping the future of design.

This lecture was made possible by the William Bronson and Grayce Slovet Mitchell Lectureship.

All lectures and events are free and open to the public.