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College of Design

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Whirl of a week!

So many landscape students know right now that our schedules get very hectic. With modeling and drawing classes, plus an ecology or horticulture class and lab time goes by like water in your hands! This week I had to needed to draw a section/plan/axon of the Vincent Hall courtyard. If you have never been ( as I had not!) go there and take a coffee or stretch break. It is a really cool sunken plaza that lays between Rapson hall and the Northrop Mall.

My drawing set was tough, technically I understand how to compose a hand drawing, but details! Yikes. Adding textures and vegetation is harder than I thought it would be. My shrubs ended up looking a bit cluttered, but i still am proud of how my drawing turned out! Gotta look on the bright side, it photographed really well, and she didn't collect the physical copy. As a landscaping student it's good to do a run-through of materials or textures before you put them on your final drawings! bricks, wood grain, shrubs versus trees all make a huge portion of the scenes we draw. Be careful with your choices, use sparingly, remain consistent and use trace to check out what it would look like if you took it to the next level. Nothing feels worse than spending 2 hours of concrete and brick shadows, then having someone say your effort looks cluttered!
So keeping my head above water is goal number 1 this upcoming week. I will be moving apartments, doing lots of sketching and trying to remember how to use the laser cutter, because its amazingly helpful!
Good luck out there and remember to breath and go outside of the studio once and a while.


Enrichment from Involvement

One of my favorite things about the College of Design is the seemingly limitless opportunities for student involvement. Whatever interests one may have, there are tons projects, programs, and groups that design students can become a part of. Recently, the University's UMore Park Development group mailed me a copy of their most recent publication that I was involved in, The Sustainability Summary. The focus of this summary was largely based on the UMore Park Sustainability Workshop that I professionally audited last year. The workshop brought together various community members of the Rosemount area and was a sort of organized think tank, largely focusing on how residents of the area would like to see UMore Park develop in the context of the local community. After getting a first-hand view of the area's community fabric and culture from locals, the workshop then went on to explore how these features could be applied to the sustainable principles that will serve as a framework for the development of UMore Park. If you are new to my blog or would like to further explore the details of the UMore Park development project, visit their website or one of my previous posts about my involvements with UMore Park as a housing student.

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Not only did my participation at the UMore Park Sustainability Workshop strengthen my academic and community ties, it also gave me the remarkable opportunity to work directly with Bioregional, a world-renowned sustainable development group. Based out of the UK, Bioregional is most famous for creating the famous BedZED sustainable housing community outside of London. Their work with UMore Park has been a tremendous learning experience for both myself and others involved, and I feel so lucky to have been a part of their work.

On another note, it's about that time of the semester to get going on planning activities for the housing studies student group, HOUS (Housing Organization for University Students). The former president of the group recently graduated, so the presidential torch has been passed to me! I am excited to get started and I am looking forward to some fun and engaging activities with my fellow housing students! I will definitely keep you all posted as we get things going! Hope you all are having a fantastic week!

Housing Studies, B.S.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Furniture Autopsy

Hello again,

Fall is officially here. The temperature is dropping every day. Please stay healthy, eat food, get sleep, and spare time to hang out with friends. Your health is the most important factor in the success of your academic life.

One of classes I have this semester is DES 3321 Furniture Design. It is a class in the Design minor. Last week, I got a chance to go on a field trip to visit Grahn's Upholstery. The mission was to perform an autopsy on a sofa. This sofa was donated to us from a friend of our professor. The donor told us that it is very sentimental to their family and they are glad we can use it for educational purpose. Little did they know that we will be doing more than just looking at it. We cut, chopped, tore, broke, and even kicked parts of the sofa to learn about what is inside a sofa we usually see. The process was so much fun. I learned how to break things, which I am very good at it. Then, I got to see how the sofa was put together, and the materials they used inside for cushion and support. Dr. Alan Grahn, the owner of the shop, was very nice and helpful.

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(left) Sofa before the autopsy, (right) students are cutting up the sofa into pieces

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(left) sofa skeleton, (right) the "autopsists"

This process was very personal to me as an architecture student because architects design chairs. Chairs and architects is like architecture students and coffee...if you know what I mean. Chair is a building art that requires knowledge of construction, aesthetic, ergonomic, and material. We can learn a lot about how one reacts to certain move we make to a chair, or how construction method and materials affect the user. They said the process of designing chair is very similar to building. The difference is the scale of final products. So, don't be surprised if you learn about famous buildings in your history class and come across famous chairs by the same architect.

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(left) chair by Frank Gehry, (milddle) chair by Charles and Ray Eames, (right) chair by Mies van der Rohe*

Regardless of who design your chair, please take the time to appreciate that chair you are sitting on while reading this blog. I am sure a lot of thought was put into designing it.

See you next blog!
Beau S.
Architecture B.D.A.

Photos credit:

Senior Fashion Show Line

Hello readers! I hope everyone is easing into the school year, and colder weather, as smoothly as possible! This is the most difficult time of year, I think, because its when everything is gearing up to get really busy, but isn't busy yet! In my classes, its a lot of planning, researching and getting ready for the long busy semester ahead. I'm ready to go!

In last week's blog post, I talked about my senior line which I am in the process of designing. Well, our final designs (as final and they can be this early, they will evolve as the design process continues) were due, along with our color palette, mood board and fabric sourcing information, including swatches, etc. I've decided to create 4 looks, all for evening/formal events, created out of greys, greens and blues. I will be working with a lot of transparencies, as well as mixing soft fluidity and hard structure in my garments.

Here is a shot of my illustrations, before being mounted for my display board, during the drawing process!


It was so great to finally see everyone's vision for their line. Our class has 17 designers and we all have completely different views and aesthetics, which will make for a very interesting show! We have designers focusing on yoga and athletic wear, vintage inspired recycled garments, children's garments, menswear, different sizes (me!), and many more.

Be sure to come to the show in February! This year it will be on February 16th, which is a Saturday, and there will be two shows (one at 5:30pm and one at 8pm) I will be sure to post more about how to get tickets, etc. when it gets closer to the date!

Lucie, Apparel Design

Monday, September 24, 2012

Connecting to Retail

The College of Design provides so many great and unique opportunities for students to professionally develop; it's one of the reasons why I love being in this specific college. I feel like I get an informative e-mail almost every week letting me know about an event or opportunity that's coming up, typically pertaining to my specific major, Retail Merchandising, or simply for student's of the College of Design as a whole. This week I got an e-mail notifying me about Retail Connect, an event thrown annually by the Retail Merchandising program. The event's intent is to connect students, graduates, and people working, or with interests, in retailing together; it also sets to inform the attendees on new developments and methods being used in the field. Last year the event had speakers, from Kohl's and Best Buy, talk about how technology is impacting business, specifically retail. They shared some new innovations and developments and how these will affect us, both as customers and professionals in retail, in the future. It was a great and super interesting event to attend; it allowed me to gain perspective and insight from not only the speakers but the attendees as well. The occasion provided a great and comfortable environment to network with people in different areas of retail.

(I found this image on a previous UMN blog post talking about Retail Connect; the picture belongs to the writer of that post, Trevor Miller, and can be found here)

This year at Retail Connect, the speaker will be an author, Caitlin Kelly, of a book called Malled; she will talk about her career experience in retail and share advice interacting and engaging with customers and employees. The event will take place at the McNamara Alumni Center on Tuesday, October 30th. For those of you who are interested in attending, the costs are $10 for students, $20 for staff, and $25 for general admission. I had a really enlightening experience last year when I went, so I definitely encourage you all to check it out if you can.

Until Next Week!
Sasenka Curic - Retail Merchandising

Hey! Look what I can do!

photo.jpeg Have you ever taken a class and a month into the course you feel like you still haven't learned anything? Let me just say, IDES Studio III is NOTHING like that! So far we're embarking on our fourth week and I feel like I've already learned so much about sketching and rendering. On Monday we had our first assignment due (check out the picture), and I'm really impressed with myself. I mean, I know it isn't perfect, but I think it's still pretty sweet that I've come so far so soon. We've been working on our colored pencil techniques (like the stroke and angle of the pencil) and we've started studying and practicing perspective drawing.

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Perspective drawing is about adding depth to an otherwise flat composition. There are many styles and techniques of perspective drawing, but what we've touched on so far is 1-point and 2-point perspective. The picture I've included is of my first 1-point perspective finished product. The next assignment we have is for a 2-point perspective drawing. I'll make sure I upload a picture of that so you can get the idea!

In addition to colored pencils, today we also started working with markers for the first time this year which I'm super excited about!! I love learning how to make really professional looking renderings and I love finding seeing what I'm capable of. The ability to render is a major asset because not everyone is good at it. It's something I can list on my resume when I'm out there applying for jobs and internships. I think it's great how the Interior Design curriculum here is so well-rounded because I'm getting my hands into so many things. Hand-drafting, Computer Aided Design, 3-D Models, Rendering, this list goes on and on...

I'll be sure to check in next week and update you on what's new!
In the meantime, definitely leave question if you're wondering about anything.

Ashley O.
Interior Design

Classes for the Semester

4th week of school already? I guess it has been long enough for me to decide whether or not I like my classes and tell you a bit about them (none have made me cry or scream in agony yet).

GDes 3351 - Text & Image
Also known as GD 1. This is a required course that you will likely take your first semester of Junior year. It might also be the first class in which you do work for that could be utilized outside of class. Our class is only doing 3 projects during the entire semester, but don't let that fool you, they are a lot of work. We are just finishing up our first project: making business cards. Branding yourself can be a difficult, but coming up with a satisfying identity feels great. The other two projects for the class are making a complete identity (posters, postcards, banners, etc) for the winter Goldstein Museum of Design exhibit, and the National Public Health Week Film Festival.

GDes 2399W - Design and its Discontents
Before this semester, this class was known as senior seminar, and generally taken by seniors. It was required then and is required now, but can be taken earlier in the program now. This class looks at a lot bigger concepts and theories in design. Currently, we are concentrating a lot of consumption: what drives ourselves and others to consume the things we do. This includes everything from literal consumption of food and beverages, to media and any other purchases as well.

GDes 5342 - Web & Interface
This is a design elective class. It is fulling the many options you now have for a junior year computer-focused course (computer applications 2 replacement). We do two big projects in this class. First, we design an iPhone application. This includes everything from user research, creating rough storyboards(below), and usability testing all the way up to designing and creating a usable prototype. Our second half of the class will be creating a website - more specifics on that when we get there.

WRIT 3562W - Technical and Professional Writing
You are required to take one high level writing course. This class is one of the options and can be taken fully online. Taking the class online is nice, but you have to be very on top of organization and deadlines.

If you want to know more about any of these courses, leave a comment below!

Sean M.
Graphic Design

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Senior Fashion Show

Hello everyone! So this past week and going forward with this semester will be a lot of planning for me, regarding our senior line and the annual senior fashion show. This year it will be held in Rapson Hall (on the Minneapolis University of Minnesota campus) on February 16th. There will be two shows that evening.

Planning a show has a lot to go into it! I am the Promotions Chair for the show, which means I am in charge of making sure our show is advertised and promoted correctly. I am talking to MNFashion, the local fashion organization, to make sure our show is included in their fashion week in February. I also am in charge of talking with the Junior class graphic designers to create our posters, logos and look books. There is a lot to do, on top of designing and creating my own line! Crazy senior year, for sure.

Here is a photo of last year's logo and name "Twelve"

This year our show is going to be called "Flux", which means "in a state of constant change". We thought this was fitting for two reasons: One is that during the show, the aesthetic and look of the collections with be always changing because each designer has a completely different point of view. And two, that we as designers are in a state of constant change, always evolving and developing as we grow. I really like it as our name, and I think it represents us well!

In the next few months I will be creating my final line and working on the show itself! As of now, I am creating my line board, which showcases my four looks, and the fabrics/colors I am moving forward with. I will upload an image of that and talk more about it next week!

Lucie, Apparel Design

The Light Rail is Coming to Campus

While there certainly isn't a lack of interesting construction projects happening on and around campus these days, the Central Corridor light rail project is definitely the one everyone is talking about. Once completed, the Central Corridor will connect Downtown Minneapolis to Downtown St. Paul via light rail rapid transit. More importantly (from the perspective of a U of M student), the Central Corridor will connect the East Bank and West Bank of our Minneapolis Campus. It's a pretty big deal. The campus portion of the project runs along Washington Avenue, which was once the busiest area of campus - like super busy, I'm talking tens of thousands of people circulating through that area each day. Washington Avenue was a well oiled machine of people, coffee shops, and rapid transit. It was truly a change in lifestyle for a lot of us when the road was closed and underwent some pretty serious excavation. Bus lines were re-routed and life went on, and now the Central Corridor is about half way completed.

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As the skeletons of new transit stations are beginning to appear next to the newly laid tracks, local housing developers are already predicting a rise in students wanting to live near this new public amenity. The Stadium Village area is the most notable example, where a handful of new, relatively upscale student apartment complexes are under construction or newly opened near the light rail project. I'm going to go ahead and guess that once the Central Corridor is complete and operating, Stadium Village will be the new hot neighborhood for off-campus living. Trust me, having a light rail within a few blocks of your apartment would be better than owning a car if you have classes on the West Bank. I'm jealous of the future students who will be the ones actually using it!

- Jesse
Housing Studies, B.S.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

They call me the working man

W20-7a.jpegI'm working a lot this semester, at least compared to what I have done before. I haven't worked a large amount of hours during the school semester before, so it's definitely a nice lesson in time management and organization. I don't think I have talked about either of my jobs outside of this weekly blog, so I will take some time to do that now.

Most weeks this semester I am working about 30 hours a week. That didn't seem like much to me compared to hours I have worked during summer months before, but I quickly realized those hours take up a ton of time during the school week, especially when all 30 hours are crammed between 8 and 4:30. 30 hours of work between classes is a lot of time in which I cannot be doing homework between classes. I've had some late nights already and I am sure I'll have a lot more, but at least I am making money and learning! Anyways, onto a quick summary of my 2 jobs:

Job 1: Graphic Designer at CDes Student Services

Surprise! I don't just write the graphic design blogs (technically a third job), I work as a graphic designer for Student Services in 12 McNeal as well. I started shadowing Patrick Puckett, the previous designer in this position who was graduating, at the end of spring semester 2012. I make a lot of posters and materials for various events put on by Student Services such as Welcome Week, and College to Career events like Dirty Laundry and Design in 7. I also do a lot of content updates for the College of Design website.

Job 2: Usability Lab Assistant at the Office of Information Technology

I work in Walter Library assisting two usability consultants who conduct testing on websites and applications for clients. There is an entire awesome lab in the basement of Walter dedicated to usability testing complete with 1 way glass, eye-tracking monitors, and lots of other cool CIA-like stuff. You will likely take a field trip to the usability lab and do some testing on a website in Ange Wang's User Experience class later along in the graphic design program.

That's just a small taste of my two design-related jobs for the semester. I am learning a lot and will share my experiences as the semester goes on.

Sean M.
Graphic Design

Back When I was Younger...I Did These in Classes

Hello again,

I hope the first couple weeks of classes treated you well. Being here for over 3 years, I do classes can get more intense as the semester goes on. So, make sure you take care of your health, manage your time, money, and classes carefully. If you haven't make appointment for a free flu shot, here is the link:

Being back in Rapson Hall and seeing students working on their projects remind me of how much fun I had in the past years. During my first-year around this time, I had class ARCH 1701 The Design Environment. One of the projects was to design a picnic pavilion nearby the lake on a given piece of land. This pavilion was for the family of Professor Lavine. We were also given a very specific set of materials we allowed to use. They were cardboard pieces with different dimension. The rule is to use all of the pieces, but no extra piece is allowed. It was the first architecture-related project I have ever done.

Picnic Pavillion from class ARCH 1701

I took ARCH 2301 Introduction to Drawing in Architecture in fall semester of my sophomore year. The class was a lot of fun. I was familiar with fine arts drawing, but architecture drawing was something totally different and new. I learned a lot from the class, including my style of drawing and representation technique. One of the assignments was to compare light from two similar places. The first place I chose was the Chapel of the Capuchinas by Lius Barragan. The second place was the Guthrie Theater by Jean Nouvel. At first, my focus was on the characteristic of the windows that allowed light in for both places. They were long and narrow windows that extended from floor to ceiling. The more I analyzed the light; I found that the reflection of the light casting on the walls in both places had more impact on the objects in front of it. I never knew I would end up with the result that was far beyond my original though.

Light Analysis drawings from class ARCH 2301

Here are some advices I would like to leave you with:
1. Make every project the best you have ever done
2. Ask questions, lots of questions
3. Keep thinking and sketching your thoughts out, think more, and continue to sketch.

See you next blog!
Beau S.
Architecture B.D.A.

Monday, September 17, 2012

When Class and Life Collide

You know what's funny? When you start seeing life coincide with what you are learning in classes; it's both strange and quite awesome at the same time! This life/class overlap is happening to me with an online course called Fashion, Design, and the Global Industry. In the class we learning about fashion capitols and what attributes make a city into a fashion world city, or fashion capitol; it's super interesting! To better comprehend the material, the professor split the class into groups and gave us an assignment to analyze a potential fashion capitol; my group chose the city of Los Angeles. This is now where my class/life overlap starts to occur because I am considering moving to Los Angeles the fall after I graduate. Wanting to focus on schoolwork, I assumed that any research I wanted to do on LA would have to wait till winter break. However, now that it is essentially part of my schoolwork to research Los Angeles, I am able to "kill two birds with one stone" if you will; study, analyze the LA fashion scene, and maybe even look for potential job opportunities all in one sitting!

Here's a collage that I did as an assignment for the class; its purpose is to showcase the youthful and active consumer market found in Los Angeles.

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Until Next Time!
Sasenka-Retail Merchandising

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Courses of the Semester

So now that I'm approaching my third week of the semester, I thought it would be a good time to outline each of the courses I am taking.

photo.jpegMaterials & Specifications (IDES 2612)
This class covers specifications related to materials and resources one might use when designing a space. It's an important class because you learn a lot about codes that when in effect, protect the user of a space. A particularly fascinating part of the class is the aspects of sustainability. We've been talking a lot about responsible design and the impact a designer can have on the environment.

CAD: Interior Design (IDES 2621)
This class focuses on teaching students how to use technology as apart of the design process. CAD stands for "computer-aided design", and it's exactly that. We are currently learning how to use Revit, a design program used to create floor plans, elevations, and 3-D representations of designed spaces. I'm impressed that I have the opportunity to learn this software in as a student because it's pretty much brand new and professional designers are just beginning to learn this software as well. Many people say Revit is the future for computer-aided design, and I feel lucky that my curriculum is up-to-the-minute.

3bf1e836005711e29b6b22000a1e9e0a_6.jpegTextile Analysis (ADES 2213)
This class dissects a wide assortment of textiles and studies the characteristics of each. It's beneficial because it helps designers to be aware of what types of fabric are good for specific uses. This class also has a lab where we conduct studies and experiments. We even light fabrics on fire from time to time to study burn rates!

Interior Design Studio III (IDES 2603)
Studio consists of learning a skill and then applying it by having an assignment or project to complete. Right now we're just getting into rendering, sketching and adding colors to drawings. We're learning how to do perspective drawings of interior spaces which is a helpful tool when you meet with clients and need to put an idea on paper asap.

If you have any specific questions about courses I'm taking, or anything else for that matter, do not hesitate to ask me! Just leave a comment below :)

Interior Design

Wondering in Other Worlds

So my title seems a little pretentious even to me. But its how I have felt this past week. Some amazing opportunities have came into my life and I was able to experience many new places and types of people.
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First I went on to my first Ecology of Managed Systems field trip to the Sucker and Vadnais Lake ecological system. These lakes are a part of an extremely critical habitat system that purifies drinking water for the entire city of St. Paul.
We studied the drivers that cause stress to the environment. They include the surrounding residential and throughway developments, Red and White Pine plantations and their "litter". Litter can include needles, leaves and bark containing excess nutrients that contribute to sedimentation of the lakes. Water quality can decrease rapidly from low levels of ground moisture, high levels of algae and diminished fish habitats. The field trip, although excessively early in the morning! Were awesome. I had never been to the suburban lakes system in St. Paul. It was well worth it and I can not wait for the next one.

The other extraordinary experience I had was to attend a Goldstein Museum fall fundraiser party in a Phillip Johnson house on Lake Minnetonka. Not only were the home and party exquisite, but the landscape and view of the lake were breath taking. The property extended 2 acres, cut down from the original 11 acre plot. The road leading up to the house was lined with an allee of trees and gave way to an open break in the trees. Every planting was perfect and spaced just perfectly.
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I had a really fun night meeting people with substantial design influence and experience. Some University of MN students attended, but for the most part the guests were high rollers of the design, consulting and trades genre. It was a unique and extremely fun evening. Thanks to the Goldstein board members and hosts of the Davis-Winton-Nelson House.
Some upcoming events that you might want to check out or participate in:
(PARK)ing Day - "is an annual worldwide event where artists, designers and citizens transform metered parking spots into temporary public parks."
Lecture "Rahul Mehrotra: Global Practices in Architecture" in 100. Rapson Hall. 6pm this Wednesday the 19th. remember that lectures are a great way to see your peers and prof's out of class and talk to them.
U of M Food Day!!!! Its going to be great with lots of good foods and people talking food and agriculture. Come through October 23rd and 24th.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Wonderful Mentoring Program

Hi Friends! So this time last year I was applying to the Mentoring Program offered through the College of Design. I remember being nervous and wondering if I'd get set up with a good mentor whose area of work really correlated with my career interests. Having requested a mentor whose work was either in design, business, or fashion, I got paired with a business owner, who worked in design management. I was thrilled!

My mentor taught and exposed me to many different aspects of professional career building. She showed me how to observe trends, fine-tune my resume and networking skills, and much more. I enjoyed the program so much last year, that I am applying for again! The program, being offered to juniors and seniors within the College of Design, is intended to help students grow and professionally develop before stepping out into the real world. Students are matched to mentors by their areas of study and career interests; they are then paired with working professionals whose field of work aligns with those interests.

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(Photo Credit:

I am super excited to be part of the Mentoring Program again this year! It is such a great and unique opportunity. Not many students at the UofM get to say they had professionals, in their field of interest, helping and developing them before they entered the workforce; it's pretty awesome.

Well I will keep you all updated on how the program is going this year once I get paired!

Until next time!
Sasenka-Retail Merchandising

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Broad Scope of a Housing Studies Education

The overall theme of this semester is to dig deeper into my required multidisciplinary work outside of the housing program - courses in economics, historic preservation, and environmental science make up the bulk of my school schedule. Although we are only in our second week of classes, I am already beginning to see how all of these courses (which are outside of the housing department) tie into today's major housing-related issues. As I've said before, the scope of housing studies is surprisingly broad and there are many different ways of digging deeper into your specific area of concentration. Here are a few examples of what I'm talking about:

Historic Preservation, taught by the Department of Architecture, introduces us to a practice which has just recently become mainstream in the past few decades. We will learn the basic concepts of the preservation, restoration, reconstruction, rehabilitation, and stabilization of historic properties. Quite often, these properties are houses, housing complexes, or historic residential districts (there is a plethora of local examples right here in the Twin Cities). It is quite likely that housing graduates working in residential development will deal directly with preservation-related projects, whether it be in the nonprofit or for-profit sector. Historic preservation is a completely different ball game than building renovation and remodeling, and I feel that the knowledge I gain in this course will somehow be applicable in my future profession.

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I am also taking a course offered by the Department of Environmental Sciences, Policy, and Management, called Environmental Life Cycle Analysis, which teaches us the cradle-to-grave approach of products and industrial processes. An Environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) essentially quantifies the environmental impacts of a product's full life - examining impacts from all stages, such as extraction of raw materials, production and distribution of energy, product use, reuse, and final disposal. It's actually pretty difficult to wrap your mind around just how much goes into any single manufactured product, and how it affects the Earth's delicate ecologies. In this new era of environmental awareness and sustainability, learning LCA is important for housing students like me who are interested in residential building products, materials, processes, and emerging technologies. Knowledge of LCA gives us the skills to professionally assist in the purchasing of building products, selecting materials, and identifying alternative methods to make a project more environmentally friendly.

I hope this was at least semi-enlightening to you all! Feel free to direct any questions or comments in the section below. There really is a lot to learn when it comes to housing!

Hopefully September is off to a good start for you all!

Jesse - Housing Studies, B.S.


So Discover

Hello all,

I cannot describe how thankful I am to be a part of College of Design. We have world class faculty, access to one of the best facilities in the country, and highly motivated students. Earlier this summer, the Dean Tom Fisher announced the search for a Public Interest Design Director. This alone describes how much the College of Design cares about its students and the community.

That's being said, a lot of the works being done around here are kind of big deal...I am talking nationally/globally big deal. Students, I highly recommend that you get to know your professors and TAs. The works that they are doing are fascinating. One of my TAs last year, Molly E., did a research on the topic of surviving 100 days without oil. Molly has a book published and you may find her blog here. Another TA of mine, Abby K., went to Haiti to work with Architecture for Humanity. These are only the ones that I had classes with. Imagine the rest of Architecture department and the things they are working on. Now, you really have to get to know your professors and TAs.

Picture from Molly's Blog "100 Days Without Oil"

You may wonder why I wrote this "letter" confessing my love to the College of Design. I am just sad it is my last year here. I would love to stay in Minneapolis, but the world is so big and I have a lot left to explore. My senior year schedule is filled with graduate school and internship applications. I will be using the services from the Career and Internship Services and the Writing Center...and you should too.

As I mentioned in the earlier blog, I want to pursue a career in humanitarian design. My specific interest in the design field is furniture design. I hope to somehow combine the two together using furniture design to solve issues at hand. I am sure I will discover it some day as long as I am driven to discover. Haaaaaa! See what I did there?

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My recent visit to a local furniture studio to conduct an informational interview. I had a chance to sit on a piece by a famous designer, Vladimir Kagan.

For now...I am going to leave you with a link to Boynton Health Clinic. Winter is coming, please stay healthy. You don't want to be sick while having a ton of studio works to do. Go get a free flu shot!

See you next blog,
Beau Sinchai
Architecture B.D.A.

Workload and Time Management

Hey! Hi! Hello! So I've got got about a week of classes for the Fall 2012 semester under my belt and plenty to catch you up on. First of all, let me just say I hit the ground with a running start this semester. From the moment I started school, I've been nonstop busy. Not in a bad way, just in a busy-bee-working-my-butt-off kind of way.

Here's a quick breakdown of the things I'm involved in:
Interior Design Student, Office Assistant, MCAE Ambassador, CDes Blogger, CDes Tourguide, Sales Associate, and so on and so forth.

screen shot gcal - blog.jpgLet's just say I've got a lot on my plate. From school to work to student organizations (and a million other things), I have a pretty jam packed schedule. Fortunately though, I usually don't feel very overwhelmed because I utilize organization resources such as my Gopher Guide Planner and Goolgle Calender. These are awesome tools for staying organized! Since the school year is still young, I've been working on getting all of my assignments, exams, and project deadlines recored into my planner. I've also been marking important dates in my Google Calender which is handy because I can set reminders weeks, days, hours, or minutes in advance. The benefits of using these resources is basically priceless, and it's stuff I wish I would have known my freshman year. When it comes down to it, the key is time management. In order to properly manage your time, you need to have an agenda, a list of things to do. Over the course of my years in school, I've learned to become more efficient as a student and as a person. Seriously, these are skills that are worth a million bucks, there's no time like the present to start getting organized!

Hope this helps!

Interior Design

ADES Student Mixer

Hello to everyone! I am happy to say that my first couple days of my senior year (!!!) of college have been going well! I have had my senior studio class a twice so far and am loving where I am going with my senior line. I have narrowed it down to four main sketches that I will ideate further on. As I mentioned before, I am designing a line of 4-5 looks of formal and evening wear for women sizes 6/8-14/16. I am happy with where I am now and am excited to see what develops out of further ideation! Our professor, Dr. Bye who also happens to be the head of the Design department, is great and I love having her as a professor again. She taught our first ever real studio class when we were freshmen, so its exciting that we'll have started out with her, and we will end out college careers with her too!

Here is a picture of us ideating from our class earlier! Lots of ideas floating around...


Today we also had our annual ADES (Apparel Design) class mixer, where all students who have passed portfolio review get together for cake (yum) and chatting! Its a great opportunity to meet other students who you wouldn't meet in your classes, or grade. I was able to meet a few juniors who I haven't spoken with before, which was great. I also had a great time talking to the new apparel design girls (we still only have one guy in our program!). The new girls were especially nice to meet because I remember when I was their age and at their level and it seems like yesterday! Believe me, your college years will fly by, and they will be amazing.

Lucie, Apparel Design

Landscaping with a Side of Business

This past week we all got a dose of reality. With classes going strong, getting out to events and being as social as possible (nudge nudge wink wink): landscaping picnic this Thursday at Minnehaha Falls Park.2012_LA picnic-1.pdf. I also have my first meeting for the group U Students Like Good Food THIS Thursday at 4:30pm at Folwell Hall (right next to Rapson!) You all should come check it out. We are doing good things for campus dining life and your health! Lets see, Its going to be a crazy week for me.

So I am lucky enough to still be in contact with my summer work Tree Trust, which has a commercial landscape component as well as the non-profit aspect that got the company its' start. Last week I set up an interview with the current Project Manager Jeff V. I went to Jeff's office in St. Louis Park. So I had this awesome interview with the PM. I asked him about his path into the landscaping field and how he came to where he is today.
Jeff came from U Madison where he began as an engineering student, quickly realizing that was not his calling his advisor introduced him to the landscaping major and he graduated in 1997 with his BS in Landscaping...a degree that no longer exists. Now we have to get a masters degree in Landscaping and a undergraduate in design. Jeff talked with me about his experience working in the "biggest sector of landscape", Residential Design Build.
What I thought was really interesting about Jeff's current situation is that as a project manager I thought Jeff would be doing all the design work and orchestrating construction execution. But Jeff was clear that at a small company like Tree Trust he was accountable for more concrete details. He takes care of the financial reports, estimating, client meetings, site visits, as well as managing people and doing some designs. It is a all encompassing. His advice while we are taking design classes, take business classes too! "You are going to need to know how businesses are run" he told me. So I learned a lot talking to a working professional. I might even be persuaded to get myself into a business class before I graduate.

Just so you all know, I looked up some business courses offered at the U this semester. The subject of Business and Industry has been changed to Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development - OLPD and offers classes like Leadership, You and Your Community and Introduction to Organization Development. This is one way of entering the business world, another more right brained route would be taking a class under the subject of Business Administration - BA, which offers courses like Career Skills and Carlson Funds Enterprise: Growth. To me these seem helpful if you, like me, have very little experience with thinking like a business person. I want to expand my company and make it profitable. But how? take a business course and find out!

till next time,


Pushing Through Creative Slumps

So school has started and if you are anything like me, you are still trying to get into the groove. Figuring out when you have time for homework, cooking, work, and more is always a bit challenging the first few weeks. Maybe it is because I am preoccupied trying to adapt to a new schedule, but I always feel pretty uninspired during the first couple weeks of class. Of course, classes aren't going to wait around for you to get thinking creatively again, so what can you do if you ever find yourself uninspired or in a creative slump?

dribbble.jpegOne thing I do if I find myself lacking creativity is to go online and look at work that might inspire me. Everyone has their own favorite sites for finding design inspiration, but one some of my favorites are dribbble and Designspiration. I am more fond of dribbble, as people often choose to share only "shots" of a piece of work they are working on. A "shot" on dribble is just a small snapshot of part of a final piece. The reason I prefer this is that it helps me to imagine how the rest of work might look and gets the creative juices in my brain flowing. Designspiration has mostly finished works, which is great for getting inspiration, but sometimes leads to the desire to copy the style of original work too closely. While copying the style of a professionals work solely for practice isn't necessarily a bad thing, you should strive to develop it and adapt it into your own unique style and piece of work. Designer and Illustrator Jessica Hische has a great article on inspiration vs. imitation that I would highly recommend reading.logs.JPG

So what if you go online and still feel uninspired? Well, searching online for inspiration isn't always the first thing I do. Other things I like to do if I am lacking creative drive is to listen to music and take a walk or bike ride to clear my head, or flip through my cell phone pictures. I often take pictures of interesting things I see while out like this awesome hand lettered sign and later look back through my pictures for inspiration. Lastly, one of my favorite things to do when uninspired is to just put the project out of my mind for a few days (if times allows). Often coming back to a project after a few days of taking a break will clear your head for more options and ideas.

Stay inspired!

Sean M.
Graphic Design

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Welcome Back Gophers!

Hello friends,

I hope your semester is off to a great start! From now, I will be updating blog weekly due to popular demand.

For some reason, I do not have that tingly first-day-of-class feeling. Maybe it is because I have been working on campus for the entire summer...or maybe the reality has not hit me yet that this is my last year of undergrad.

Last week during Welcome Week, I had a chance to welcome Class of 2016 at the Convocation event at Mariucci. Seeing over 5,500 first-year students in one place was beyond amazing. It was hard to believe that these are the students I worked with directly, and these are the students I orientated. Many of the Orientation Leaders, including myself, were tearing up. This was a beautiful result of all the hard work we have been doing for the whole summer.

Class of 2016 Convocation

President Eric Kaler, Dean Tom Fisher, and many of College of Design staff and faculty were also there. Then, I saw myself on the screen of Mariucci during Convocation. I was semi-embarrassed, and semi-flattered. I feel like I was representing CDes by saying I am majoring in Architecture in the College of Design. This was also the first time I saw myself speak. I never imagined I would talk, act, and move that way before. I highly recommended everyone to record a video of you while speaking. You will at least get a good laugh from it.

I reacted fast enough to record a short video from the screen. Oh yes, I took a video of myself. I wish they would do a reply just so I can record the whole thing. However, I am sure President Kaler would not care for the second time.

Being part of Welcome Week definitely made me excited for school again. All of the classes I take this semester are very interesting. I cannot wait to repurpose old furniture in my furniture design class, and spend time in the painting studio for my painting class. Not to mention other architecture and design classes I am in. This will be a great semester!

See you next blog,

Beau Sinchai
Architecture B.D.A.

Fresh, New, School Year

Hi Friends! It's the start of a new school year and I am super excited for what this year has in store! My classes all look really interesting so far and my schedule appears fairly light, which makes me believe that the semester is off to a great start.

The first week of class is always pretty fun, but it can get a little stressful too; not only are first day.jpgyou trying to get out of summer mode, but you are also trying to figure where your classes are at and how much time you'll need to get to them. I always try head to my classes a little earlier during the first week, because you never know what little obstacles you may run into, and if you don't run into any, it's always better to be a little early then a little late.

It's crazy to think that I've just entered into my forth, and final, year here at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. I've learned a lot the past three years through my major in Retail Merchandising. The program has really treated me wonderfully; it has taught me to think both structurally and creatively with its mix of business and design classes. The business based classes like Accounting, Retail Buying, and Business Statistics really exercise your analytical skills, while classes like Creative Problem Solving and Design Thinking really show you how to think outside the box. It's such a great advantage to know how to use both side of the brain constructively.

Now, as I venture into this fresh, new, year of school, I'll be sure to keep you all updated weekly on my classes, projects, adventures, and opportunities!

Until next week!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

First Day of Senior Year

Fall semester classes have begun and it's back to the grind. I started the term off with my Tuesday schedule consisting of three classes starting at 1:30 and ending at around 7:20. It was mostly introductory stuff for the first day as usual, nothing to surprising. So far it looks like it's going to be an interesting and challenging semester, I'm excited to get started. And now that the academic year has started, I will be blogging weekly updates of my life as a housing student at the U of M.

Oh, and also on the topic of back to school, I was recently featured in a Star Tribune article regarding my favorable study habits in this new age of technological distractions. Check it out.

As for the rest of my life outside of school, I'm just starting to get settled in at our new place in the Southeast Como neighborhood. Moving out of the old place and into the new was, as usual, super stressful and unorganized. There was stuff everywhere for about 18 hours. My roomies and I all pulled through, though, and we love the new place. Our new backyard borders the train tracks, which definitely gives it some character.


To a new semester!

Housing Studies, B.S.

First Day! Hey Hey!

IMG_1163.JPGSo today was the first day of Fall semester here at the University of Minnesota. It's crazy how fast summer came and went. I mean, it was definitely a busy summer, so I can see why! I worked two jobs, interned, and tried to have a social life.

I got things off to a good start today by waking up nice and early so I could make sure I was 100% ready for classes and work. I was able to take my time getting ready, sip a cup of coffee, and eat a solid breakfast.

The first thing I had to do today was head into the office to train in a new student employee, Carissa. We went through front desk procedures and tackled the basic tasks and information necessary for the job. I trained in another student employee last week, Lee, and it seems like both are super smart and way fast learners! They only just started and they're already champs. It's so nice that we're all able to work on campus, and especially right in McNeal Hall. A lot of us are design students who also have many of our classes in McNeal so you can't really get much more convenient than that. For those looking for on campus jobs, you can always check out the student employment website. Postings are updated pretty often and there's a wide variety of positions to choose from so there's pretty much something for everyone.

After training, I headed to my first class of the day, Materials & Specifications of Interior Design course. Pam Enz is the professor and I can already tell I'm gunna love her! The class will teach us a lot about building codes and the responsibility that interior designers have to make wise choices when selecting materials and creating floor plans. Once that class was over, I had a break to pick up some books and supplies from the campus bookstore. Then I headed over to my CAD course that is held in the computer lab. This class teaches us how to use 3-D design software that professionals in firms and businesses are currently using. It's nice going to a larger University because they're able to keep us up to date with what's happening in the real world.

Gotta go hit the books!
I'll post again next week.

Interior Design

Back In the Mix

Most of you readers are experiencing, like I am, the return to academic stress, demands and, manic schedules. September is so busy for most of us who go back to school. We must now adjust from summer jobs, internships, or vacations to a random medley of times and places for classes, recitations, labs, group meetings, club events, sporting events etc... I am mostly getting used to incorporating a part time job into my school schedule. I work different times and days each week and adding my classes to the mix is getting to be a lot for the old brain to handle!

Source: via Laura on Pinterest

blog 8 calendar.JPG
Love me a hard copy. Seriously get one or MAKE one!!! Funky or professional you can use labels, pictures, memes, times, dates, directions and notes to help you remember things. Don't get me wrong, a tablet or smart phone work great, but what about that time where you are running late and forget it, you are stuck solely relying on a device that needs Wi-Fi or the battery is low. Write it down! Create a visual memory for yourself. It really helps me. In addition to the full academic work load I am now blogging every week! That's exciting and I'm sure there will be lots to tell you about this semester. I have only been to 2 of my 5 classes so far (Tuesday afternoon) but they seem intense and really cool. For my degree in Landscape Planning I have taken a couple Horticulture/science/ecology classes so far. I went to the St. Paul campus Tuesday morning for ESPM 3108: Ecology of Managed Systems. Give yourself some extra time to get find anything in St. Paul unless you are used to it. I think it is tricky to navigate and I hate being late. Buses are not strictly on time either. The campus connectors go through a lot of construction areas and are prone to getting caught in traffic during rush hour on that 10th Avenue Bridge. My best advice for these first couple of days: give yourself time, write everything down, don't be afraid to ask people for help or just to verify something you are unsure of. It all saves you time when getting around campus. Good Luck! Until next week....

Back to School!

Hello everyone! I hope your last week of summer and transition back to school went smoothly! As a reminder for the new year, my name is Sean and I am a in my 5th semester of the Graphic Design program. Now that school has started again, I will be blogging weekly about school, design, student life, and more so be sure to check back.

This was my first year at school that I didn't move into a new place on campus because my roommates and I liked our house (read: each other) enough to want to stay another year. It was great not having to move, as the whole process can be stressful and sometimes expensive if you need to rent a moving truck or purchase a lot of things for a new house or apartment. I helped a lot of my friends move and got food in return, which is always welcome. Several of my friends moved in to the other unit within our two-unit house, so it is basically one big 8-person house without the pain of sorting out bills for 8 people. In summary: not moving, free food, living with a bunch of friends. Win/win/win.

This semester I will be taking 3 design classes: GD 1: Text and Image; Design and it's Discontents; and Web and Interface. Our first project in GD 1 is going to be making business cards for ourselves. I'm pretty excited about this because 1: I've been meaning to do it for awhile; and 2: I think I have a good idea of what I'd like to do. It's great to have business cards to hand out for networking or future work purposes when you are at a design event or talking to a design professional. Design and it's Discontents is a new class in the GD curriculum so I am not quite sure of what it will entail, but will definitely give some updates when I do. Our first project in Web and Interface will be developing a prototype for an iPhone application. I am pretty excited about that!

I'll leave with a picture from my friend's cabin in Mosinee, WI where we had our last hurrah before school starts and spent the weekend fishing and hiking. School sure came up quick.


Check back next week for more!

Sean M.
Graphic Design

Back to school!

This is it folks, senior year! I cannot wait to jump right into this great semester and dive straight into my biggest project ever: my senior line for my final studio class! For those of you who aren't familiar with these blogs or me, here is a little reap!

The College of Design has students, like myself, in all the majors within the College write weekly blogs about our experiences and goings on around the city and campus. It is a great way for us to share bits of knowledge we have gained, especially with new students, be they freshmen or transfers!

And about me! My name is Lucie and I am a senior studying apparel design, with a minor in retail merchandising. I am originally from Iowa City, IA, but relocated to the Twin Cities three years ago to go to school. I visited the University my senior year of high school and fell in love with the faculty, facilities, classes and campus; and I've been here ever since!

I go to school full time, varying from 13 credits to 17 credits depending on the semester, and I also try to keep involved in the local fashion industry etc. I work two different part time jobs: one, which is funded through work study, is working as a student assistant to the Dean's Office in Rapson Hall. The second is a fit expert position at Nani Nalu Beachwear Boutique in Edina MN. Both have something to do with my major and career studies, so that's great. I really recommend trying to find a job, or volunteer position, outside of school that relates to your major and career goals. Networking with professionals and people in the industry really helps you feel more comfortable with your abilities and can lead to great opportunities later.

As I said before, my biggest project this semester will be my senior line. The College of Design holds an annual fashion show in February showcasing the seniors' work: typically between 4 and 5 complete looks. Here is a photo of my inspiration for my line!


Lucie, Apparel Design