WRIT TEN BY
Susan S. Szenasy
The Airstream—chock-full of useful
objects designed to empower people—
will be parked inside the Javits Center
at the Metropolis booth during ICFF.
Look for Emily Pilloton’s Design Revolution
Road Show at a school near you.
Visit us at
and HD Las Vegas
commitment to her mission were tested by
the goofball behavior of the show’s host.
Amid all his shenanigans and wisecracks, her
message that designers need to watch the triple
bottom line for the benefit of planet, people,
and profit came across with dignity and clarity.
This same self-possessed poise and razor focus
on design activism distinguish other
Metropolis Books authors, starting with the
peripatetic and irrepressible Cameron Sinclair.
(Among his many accomplishments and
accolades is the prestigious TED Prize, which
he received in 2006, the same year we published his book Design Like You Give a Damn:
Architectural Responses to Humanitarian
Crises, now in its fifth printing.)
The other two titles in the quartet of Metropolis Books stressing designers’ social and
environmental responsibilities are Bryan Bell
and Katie Wakeford’s Expanding Architecture:
Design as Activism and Fritz Haeg’s Edible
Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn. Bryan, Katie,
and Fritz, like Emily and Cameron, are creating
professional, academic, and public dialogues
on responsible design. Two of them have been
nominated for National Design Awards—Bryan
in architecture, and Fritz in landscape architecture. No wonder that we at Metropolis magazine and Metropolis Books feel like proud
parents of exceptional children.
Our pride is well-placed. This summer Emily
and her partner, Matthew Miller (who towed
the Airstream, among other essential duties),
will be settling in Bertie County, North Carolina. In this poor, rural place, they will run a
hands-on program teaching high school students to build projects in their own backyards.
And true to form, Emily, who trained as an
architect and industrial designer, is working
on getting certified as a high school teacher—
her values solidly in place, her vision intact,
her influence growing. /
METROPOLISMAG.COM Watch Emily Pilloton’s January appearance on The Colbert Report. April 2010
This spring Emily Pilloton’s Airstream trailer
will roll into New York City, crowning her
triumphant Design Revolution Road Show.
The adventure began on February 1 at Redwood
High School, her alma mater in Larkspur, California, and then headed south and east. The
beneficiaries of this traveling exhibit/workshop/
dialogue series were students in 35 design
schools and high schools, and their communities. Now you can experience what thousands
across the country already have: the white-hot
circle of design activism.
The Airstream—chock-full of useful objects
designed to empower people who really need
them, not simply high-end consumer products
for those who can afford them—will be parked
inside the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
at the Metropolis booth during the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, from May
15 to 18. We’re thrilled to have it there. Let me
explain why: the idea for Emily’s book Design
Revolution: 100 Products That Empower People
was born in 2008 at our annual ICFF conference, when she presented her manifesto of
values-based design. Her approach and commitment so impressed the editorial director of
Metropolis Books, Diana Murphy, that she asked
Emily to submit a proposal on the spot. And the
folks at George Little Management, the producers
of ICFF, so appreciated the poetics of Emily’s
full-circle journey that they gave their generous
support to the finale of her Road Show.
Before, during, and in between all the traveling, Emily and her book landed on the speaker
circuit, including The Colbert Report on Comedy Central. Her natural poise and mature