International Design Conference in Aspen

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Herbert Bayer (1900—1985)


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(established 1949)

The aim of the International Design Conference in Aspen (IDCA), Colorado, has been to provide an international forum for discussion of the place of design in the contemporary world and of the ways in which the contemporary world impacts upon design. Designers from a wide range of disciplines—from industrial and environmental design to fashion—have contributed to the debates, which have been further enhanced by contributors from other fields, including scientists, industrialists, business people, and educators. IDCA is a non‐profit educational organization governed by a board of directors composed of designers, architects, planners, curators, educators, and business people. IDCA is located close to the conference site on the Aspen Meadows Campus designed by Herbert Bayer in the 1950s (renovated in 1994).Industrialist Walter Paepcke and his wife, who wanted to establish a forum where leading figures from around the world could meet and exchange ideas, brought IDCA to life. Their vision was first given concrete form in 1949 at a conference in Aspen opened by Albert Schweitzer. IDCA itself was established in 1951 to bring together designers, industrialists, and engineers, and others to meet on an annual basis in a single place at a particular time. The 1951 conference was devoted to the theme Design as a Function of Management in order to encourage the participation of members of the business community. Other early conference themes included Design and Human Values (1957 and 1958), The Corporation the Designer (1960), Sources and Resources (1966), and Environment by Design (1970). Occasionally national perspectives were addressed including Japan at Aspen (1979), The Italian Idea (1981), Outlook: Views of British Design (1986), The Italian Manifesto (1989), and Gestalt: Vision of German Design (1996). Other contemporary issues were also often taken on board ranging from The Future Isn't What It Used to Be (1983) to Designdigital (1999).

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.

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