Social responsibility in the spotlight

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I've long been fascinated by the Sundance Channel's Iconoclasts series, which pairs creative minds together for intimate, one-on-one discussions and experiences. So it was a delight last October when the fourth season's roster was announced and the final pairing was Cameron Diaz and Cameron Sinclair.

Delight and a bit of a pat on the back as here at Contract, we'd already begin highlighting the growing importance of social responsibility and design in a number of ways….including a project with the Architecture for Humanity founder and growing media darling Sinclair.

Earlier this year, Contract launched Vis a Vis, a five-part online series in conjunction with Shaw Contract Group that, much like Iconoclasts, sought to bring together forward-thinking individuals from a variety of disciplines to discuss the intersection of design and our daily lives. The results were discussions that explored everything from regionalism and design, cross-disciplinary ventures, the influence of technology and science on design, genetics, the culture of luxury, sustainability and, yes, social responsibility. For Sinclair's segment, filmed last year in Scottsdale, Arizona during Contract's annual Design Forum, paired the globe-trotting designer with Ellen Albert, executive vice president, CORE services for Viacom/MTV Networks. 

Just one of the many discussion points raised by their conversation: While Sinclair and Albert's client bases are decidedly different, the process of design each of these visionaries uses can be surprisingly similar. How can the process of designing for a company targeting teenagers in, say, Milwaukee or Los Angeles mirror that of designing a school in the wake of Asia's devastating 2004 tsunami or rebuilding community along the Gulf Coast? Take a listen to find out….

Photo of Ellen Albert and Cameron Sinclair by Gregory Miller Photography

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