This lecture was recorded February 3, 2014, in Timken Lecture Hall on the San Francisco campus of California College of the Arts as part of the Architecture Division Lecture Series (formerly Interior Design Lecture Series).
Learn more about CCA’s Interior Design Program:
Joan Blumenfeld, global design director for interiors for Perkins+Will (and director of the New York Perkins+Will office), combines her background as an architect with a design excellence approach to interiors. Her clients include corporate firms, nonprofit organizations, government offices, and higher-education institutions.
For her CCA lecture she will discuss the design process (whether one is working on a space, a building, a scientific theory, or a hat) as a search for a story — one that elevates the experience of the user through his or her empathy and emotional response.
“We start with a set of circumstances, constraints, characters, and contextual clues, and try to hear the narrative hidden within the chaos of white noise. We weave these ingredients together into a coherent whole, so that it appears as though its form was an inevitable result of the pressures of its origins.
Through this strange and difficult alchemy, when we are successful we create something that contains an order and a structured meaning that is legible to those who will inhabit or use what we create.”
Blumenfeld will discuss the stories underlying several of her recent projects.
She will ask: Who are the primary characters in these stories, and how did they evolve? How did a search for meaning and significance evolve into built interior design work that makes places for people to work, learn, and play?
Blumenfeld’s work has been published in the New York Times, Architect, Interior Design, Contract, Architectural Record, Art in America, New York Magazine, and Vanity Fair as well as numerous trade magazines and newspapers.
In 2007 Blumenfeld served as president of the AIA New York chapter and focused her leadership on the theme of “Architecture Inside/Out,” which intended to create a dialogue regarding the importance of high-performance interior design, sustainability, and quality of life.
For more than a year she worked on an initiative addressing these topics with the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, the Department of Design and Construction, and the Mayor’s Office, resulting in the first revamping of citywide workplace standards since 1971.
Blumenfeld holds a master of architecture degree from Harvard Graduate School of Design and a BA in philosophical psychology from the University of Chicago.
The Interior Design Lecture Series is funded by CCA’s Interior Design Program and is supported by CCA’s student chapter of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA).