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Scouting in Savannah

I'm just back from a short stay at the Savannah College of Art and Design--I attended industrial design studios, met with possible Grommet creators, and gave a talk to the students and faculty.  It's an impressive place.  Only 30 years old and yet it has almost 10,000 students across a variety of programs.  The energy is palpable.  The vision is too.  I met a bunch of dynamic design professors and students.  It's really a privilege to be in such an entrepreneurial academic institution.  Here's a little photo essay.

This building houses both Admissions and the Graphic Design Program...one of the gracious old brick reclamations.  SCAD has a policy of buying and renovating historic properties in Savannah.  As such the school has been the main preservation force in the city.  It creates a very distributed urban campus, which the administration pulls together by holding magnet events in a wide variety of buildings, to pull the community together.
This building houses both Admissions and the Graphic Design Program...one of the gracious old brick reclamations. SCAD has a policy of buying and renovating historic properties in Savannah. As such the school has been the main preservation force in the city. It creates a very distributed urban campus, which the administration pulls together by holding magnet events in a wide variety of buildings.
Just inside those doors.
Just inside those doors.
The school has a very sophisticated and controlled visual identity in most communications, but it breaks all the rules when it comes to exterior building signage.  It creates whatever signage is appropriate to the period of the building.  This is a newly renovated theater.
The school has a very sophisticated and controlled visual identity in most communications, but it breaks all the rules when it comes to exterior building signage--using whatever signage style is appropriate to the period of the building.
Savannah College of Art and Design, Gulfstream Centre for Design.  SCAD makes it a policy to reclaim buildings and renovate them to accommodate its growth.  As such, its architectural preservation influence on the city is admirable.   This can't be the easy way to do things.  In this case the furniture and industrial design programs are housed in a reclaimed warehouse.
Savannah College of Art and Design, Gulfstream Centre for Design. The furniture and industrial design programs are housed in this reclaimed warehouse.
Student work
Student work
Student work....Philippe Starck...look out!
Student work....Philippe Starck...look out!
Professor Peter Fossick's Senior Studio
Professor Peter Fossick's Senior Studio
One of many model shops
One of many model shops
I couldnt believe the students have access to the normal complement of shop space and equipment (albeit tons of it) but also a laser cutter, a CNC machine and five (count 'em) Fuse Deposition Modelling machines (3-D Printer).  When I was an ID student we made nearly everything totally manually.  A vacu-form machine was high tech to us.  These students can, hopefully, spend more time on their ideas, and less time on hand crafting models.
I couldn't believe the students have access to the normal complement of shop space and equipment (albeit tons of it) but also a laser cutter, a CNC machine and five (count 'em) Fuse Deposition Modelling machines (3-D Printer). When I was an ID student we made nearly everything totally manually. A vacu-form machine was high tech to us. These students can, hopefully, spend more time on their ideas, and less time on hand crafting models.
Tom Gattis, head of the Industrial Design Department. He's an expert wood turning craftsman in his spare time. The vase in front is made from the local palm trees.
Tom Gattis, head of the Industrial Design Department. He's an expert wood turning craftsman in his spare time. The vase in front is made from the local palm trees.
Professor David Ringholz, in front of a student project, sponsored by Hobie.
Professor David Ringholz, in front of a student project, sponsored by Hobie.
I was put up at the immense SCAD private guest mansion, Magnolia House.  After years of rough startup budget travel, I could not have been more appreciative.  This beats sleeping on couches in the apartment of a friend of a friend, for sure.
I was put up at the immense SCAD private guest mansion, Magnolia House. After years of rough startup budget travel, I could not have been more appreciative. This beats sleeping on couches in the apartment of a friend of a friend, for sure.
The view from the front porch of Magnolia House, towards Forsyth Park.  It's where the author of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" stayed while writing the book.
The view from the front porch of Magnolia House, towards Forsyth Park. It's where the author of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" stayed while writing the book.
Magnolia House
Magnolia House
Each room has a sophisticated theme, and is appointed with interesting art from SCAD alum and staff.
Each room has a sophisticated theme, and is appointed with interesting art from SCAD alum and staff.
No detail is left unattended at Magnolia House.
No detail is left unattended at Magnolia House.
I loved the texture of Savannah...the mix of the really old and new.  And this...a lot of "kinda old" but familiar too.  In a movie set kind of way.  Robert Redford was, in fact, shooting "The Conspirator" there now.
I loved the texture of Savannah...the mix of the really old and new. And this...a lot of "kinda old" but familiar too. In a movie set kind of way. Robert Redford was, in fact, shooting "The Conspirator" there during my visit.
Savannah is a real food town.  I had shrimp and grits at "Uncle Bubbas" and two fine dinners at Sapphire Grill and    .  This is a photo of The Back in the Day Bakery, where Rob Walker normally gets the imported Mexican Coca Cola he favors, and wrote about a couple weeks back.   This photo is from the Little Pink Studio blog.
Savannah is a real food town. I had shrimp and grits at "Uncle Bubbas" and two fine dinners at Sapphire Grill and Local 11 Ten . This is a photo of The Back in the Day Bakery, where journalist Rob Walker normally gets the imported Mexican Coca Cola he favors, and wrote about a couple weeks back, in the NYT magazine. This photo is from the very fun Little Pink Studio blog.
It's really fun to visit shops in such an art-inspired town.
It's really fun to visit shops in such an art-inspired town.
People dress better too.  I'm sometimes intimidated by the aggressive femininity of Southern women.  The Savannah version tends more towards inspiring.
People dress better too. I'm sometimes intimidated by the aggressive femininity of Southern women. The Savannah version tends more towards inspiring and witty, not intimidating.
Display inside Paris Brocante
Display inside Paris Market
The charming Savannah Bee Company
The charming Savannah Bee Company
With equally charming people inside, sampling honey for visitors.
With equally charming people inside, sampling honey for visitors.
iI mainly scouted for Grommets, but I did come home with one personal find....this pair of earrings made of watch parts.  They are the creation of a SCAD student, Cassie Warnat, and I found them at ShopSCAD--a place to buy pieces from SCAD students, alum, faculty and staff.
I mainly scouted for Grommets, but I did come home with one personal find....this pair of earrings made of watch parts. They are the creation of a SCAD student, Cassie Warnat, and I found them at ShopSCAD--a place to buy pieces from SCAD students, alum, faculty and staff.

I am grateful to Julia Kemp, a SCAD alum and our former summer intern who suggested this trip, and to Tom Gattis and Sheila Magness, who made it happen.  I would be delighted to return to SCAD anytime!

Comments

  • Darragh Says:

    Oh, I loved this post! What great pictures and commentary. You've given me at least 3 great reasons to visit this lovely city.

    thanks!

  • julespieri Says:

    And there are more I could not include, Darragh. Like the spanish moss on the trees.

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