Once a year, upwards of 50,000 designers converge in Chicago for NeoCon, one of the largest design trade shows in the country. This year the 48th annual convention was held at the Merchandise Mart from June 13–15.
The trade show was expectedly filled with smartly-dressed designers discussing their new products, but this year, the sight to see was parked outside the bounds of the Merchandise Mart. Despire the Guerilla Truck Show's hiatus last year, it returned in 2016 stronger than ever, according to design website Core77 in its coverage of NeoCon. Ten moving trucks were camped in front of show, each one filled with unexpectedly bright and inventive designs. This street spectacle was the Guerilla Truck Show. Of the 10 trucks, four featured the work of SAIC faculty, students, and alumni.
According to the installation’s organizers, “the challenge of creating a vignette in the back of a box truck, within a short time frame, produced some of the most creative and dynamic design solutions we have seen.”
Faculty members Tim Parsons and Jessica Charlesworth (AIADO) shared a truck space to showcase their work as the experimental design studio Parsons & Charlesworth. The duo displayed examples from a recent series called American Ad Hoc, a project that places marble surfaces atop found-object rural Americana such as wheelbarrows. The goal of the project according to Parsons is to “place the pieces in a domestic landscape, instead of them rotting inside a garage.”
In another truck, Taylor McKenzie-Veal (AIADO) showcased his minimalist chairs and modular lighting system. Just a few trailers down was SAIC alum Tanner Bowman’s (BFA 2015) 10-foot by 6-foot gallery. Bowman’s work presented an interior hodgepodge of vibrant fabrics and mirrors framed by crocheted furs, described by the artist as “overwhelmingly silly,” the perfect playful alternative to a convention of corporate contract design.
In addition to the well-established faculty and alumni who participated in the show, a talented group of SAIC students from a selective year-long course presented their contributions to the Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects’ (AIADO) “whatnot” collection at the Guerilla Truck Show. This year the collection features products inspired by the year 1866, when SAIC was founded.
The School’s presence at the Guerrilla Truck Show showed once again how integral SAIC is to the upholstery fabric of the innovative design community in and beyond Chicago.