The Research Triangle Park

Talking design at RTP180

By Jun 23, 2017

My alarm went off at 4am. It’s been a long-time since I purposely got up at this hour, but today was a special day, I was going out deep sea fishing in the Big Rock Blue Marlin tournament. The tournament is a North Carolina coastal tradition running 59 years strong. Boats from up and down the Atlantic Ocean travel to fish this week-long tournament. This year’s purse topped just over $2 million with the winning fish taking home over $600,000. For this, I will wake up at 4am. We set sail just a hair past 5am and geared up for the 3-hour boat ride XX miles off the coast of Morehead City. Lines go in at 9am and are pulled at 3pm. Six hours of sitting on a boat, in the middle of the ocean, staring at 8 rods hoping for a bite. That much time on a boat gives you a lot of time to think, and it certainly gave me plenty of time to appreciate the design of my surroundings. The 50 foot sport fishing boat we were on was designed and custom-built to perfection. Every little detail was flawlessly thought of from the woodgrain accents to the clean lines of the bow. She was a beauty, which is probably why her name was “Carolina Lady”.

Four speakers from various design backgrounds took the stage during this month’s RTP180. From a graphic designer to a landscape architect, we covered many aspects of design. The complete program is on RTP’s Youtube Channel, which I highly encourage you to watch, but I’ll recap the four talks below to give you a taste of their talks.  

Chad Parker – Gensler
What will the impact of autonomous vehicles be on urban development? Chad, in his opinion, claims that the autonomous vehicle is going to have the single largest impact on our built environment since high-rise construction. The average car in the U.S. is not utilized 95% of the time. More than 260 million vehicles and 500+ parking spaces will soon become obsolete. In fact, in less than 10 years the way we move about will be completely different than today’s modes. For the skeptics in the room, Chad reminds us that the iPhone is less than 10 years old.

To watch Chad’s full talk, click here.

Rob Surra – Spotlight Solar 
Taking us back over 45 years in time, Rob showcased the tizio lamp which is still a design staple to this day. At its launch, the lamp was a disruptor to the everyday lamp as it sported a low-voltage light solution, similar to the solar wafer that will disrupt the future of energy production. Solar power only accounts for about 2% of the way we produce energy, and Rob explains that we still have a long way to go. One of the biggest challenges is to get past the way we currently think about the design of solar panels.

To see a showcase of Rob’s solar designs, check out his 180 talk HERE.

Lenny Terenzi – Hey Monkey! Design
Out of the gate Lenny clears up any possible confusion on his company name, which I personally have wondered about since meeting Lenny several years ago. The name “Hey Monkey” originated when his daughter was born and the first two words out of his mouth were “Hey, Monkey.” Lenny explains that your brand is not your logo. Your brand is not visual. It’s how you make people feel. It’s the feeling someone gets when they walk into your business, shop, or sit down for a meeting with you. Unfortunately, a lot of people go into business solely to make money and they forget about the people and brand.

Lenny schools us on the process of how to make sure we build a strong brand, but for that you’ll have to watch his 180 talk HERE.

Julieta Sherk – NC State University
Our final speaker, a professor at NC State, brings a background in landscape design. Julieta starts off by empowering the room by telling us that we are all designers and can bring delight and health into our lives through design. Amen to that! As a professor, Julieta teaches her students to develop creatively but to use critical thinking during the design process.

To see some of the amazing work Julieta has designed along with her students, you’ll have to tune in to her 180 talk HERE.

Another 180 in the books and a huge thank you to all of our speakers for joining us, and of course, to all of you all for coming. See you next month for a topic I’m personally an expert in, Biomedical Engineering. Hashtag Just Kidding.