AT Offline: John Christakos of Blu Dot & The Pratt/Umbra Winners

AT Offline: John Christakos of Blu Dot & The Pratt/Umbra Winners

Maxwell Ryan
May 29, 2009

May Guest: John Christakos & from Pratt: Micheal Weaker, Hayyim Danzig and Dana Otto
Attendance: 116
AT Offline: The NY Design Meetup

Our last design meetup was just over two weeks ago right after Brooklyn Designs and right before the blur of ICFF and our company retreat. We're now catching up. Thanks to everyone who came down to the Blu Dot shop to meet John Christakos as well as three inspiring students from Pratt, who won this year's Umbra Design Competition. Head below for the recap...

We started at 7pm with introductions to the three winners of the 5th Annual Pratt/Umbra Design Competition featured below, and then I got to interview John on the founding of Blu Dot back in 1996 right up to the present.

He led us through a slideshow of evolving product designs (some are included up top), from their first to some of their most recent, told us the origin of the name "Blu Dot" (Prince!), and told us of lessons learned over the past thirteen years. One memorable comment had to do with the fact that he was once told (and it turned out to be true) that it takes at least ten years to start a business and get it comfortably working.

"In the beginning the wind was definitely in our face, but then it slowly came around. I now feel that it's at our back pushing us forward."

John finished by telling us to look out for their new lighting line at ICFF in just a few days. Despite the poor economy, Blu Dot has not slowed down putting out new designs and delivering on their promise.

The competition, open to undergraduates and graduate students in Pratt's Industrial Design program, focused on the theme Need vs Want, challenging designers to create meaningful and compelling products that would be sustainable in today's economic climate.

1st Prize

Designer: Michael Weaker - 3rd Year Graduate Student – Industrial Design Program
Description: The Cozy Shelf is a die-cut plastic sheet product for embellishing existing shelving systems. With a beautiful decorative pattern, the Cozy Shelf makes the hard straight lines of our shelves and bookcases visually-softer and more inviting."

2nd Prize

Designer: Hayyim Danzig - 2nd Year Graduate Student – Industrial Design Program
Description: Ceramic modular trivets use an organic tessellated form to bring a playfulness to an oft overlooked object. The three-lobed trivets can be used individually and fit together to support a larger dish. When not in use they stack neatly on your table to create a centerpiece that asks to be played with.

3rd Prize

Designer: Dana Otto
Description: Rorschach wall organizers can be mounted to the walls of your home, studio or office to organize and store mail and keys. Each person sees something different in the design of the ink blot, creating a unique experience for each individual.


• What: AT's New York Design Meetup
• Our Next Guest: Christiane Lemieux of Dwell Studio
• Members: 888 and growing

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