Metropolis Tour: Brilliant Simplicity

An update about the various events that Metropolis is a part of.

Since 2007, Metropolis, with editor in chief, Susan S. Szenasy has traveled to more than 35 cities and 150 architecture firms, design organizations, and industry shows in the United States and Canada delivering the Metropolis Tour. With the help of various sponsoring companies through the years, this Metropolis-produced CEU-accredited film screening and discussion program continues to inspire, intrigue, and challenge today’s practicing professionals in architecture, interior design, product design, and engineering. Sponsors for 2013 have included KI, Kimball Office, Rockfon, Sunbrella, and Universal Fibers.

In 2007, our editor took a close look at the winners and runners-up from our annual Next Generation Design Competition and decided that the projects, products, and ways of working submitted as competition entries were not only forward-thinking—they were inspiring, innovative, and brilliant. The magazine decided to produce a new film for the Metropolis Tour program based on these individuals and teams. In mid-2008, Brilliant Simplicity was born. The film is as inspiring now, as it was four years ago. The film delivers an overview of what so many innovative designers are doing to have a positive impact on the world while maintaining a commitment to achieving excellence in design. It’s proof that good design and sustainability can effectively coexist on all scales. It emphasizes the necessity for research and an ever-widening collaboration that, in the most fortuitous circumstances, can lead to innovation. And today, that word, innovation, has become our culture’s mantra.

From the largest and smallest offices of Gensler, Perkins+Will, HOK, LPA, NBBJ, Leo A Daly, and SOM to the various groups at Studios Architecture, Callison, Mithun, Shepley Bulfinch, and Cook+Fox, we’ve gained insight further into our own industry, and the culture of the design firms, and we’ve learned from each audience in a different way.

In her May 2010 Notes column, Lifelong Learning editor Szenasy states that “the future is clear: designers need to learn cross-disciplinary teamwork; to create a more sophisticated understanding of sustainable design; to reach out to larger communities and groups that have a voice in reshaping the urban form; to harness a new generation’s enthusiasm for saving the environment as well as its understanding of technology and connectivity.” The film had a slow start before the design world fell off the cliff as the 2008 recession hit. Then it picked up momentum as design firms began to redefine themselves for the “new normal” and it continues to ignite conversations about the importance of research, collaboration, and innovation.

LPA Architects in Irvine, CA documented the Metropolis Tour program they hosted in June:

This past October, we visited RTKL in Washington, DC, where Lance Hosey was recently appointed chief sustainability officer. The firm created their own video as well:

We have now wrapped up the 9th annual Next Generation Design Competition, sponsored by LINAK. This year’s challenge to emerging architects and designers was to consider the 1.13 billion people worldwide with unique needs.

Through the years, our Metropolis Tour sponsors have included Bentley Prince Street,Florida TileFry RegletHaworthInteriors from Spain, KI, Kimball OfficeLINAKLutronMohawk Group, RockfonShaw Contract Group, SunbrellaWilsonart Contract, and Universal Fibers.

Kimberly Taylor is director of marketing at Metropolis magazine.

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