Movers and Shapers

This year, hundreds of local designers will host symposia, open studios, installations, parties and exhibits in 90 events from October 16th to 22nd

Josh Owen

Owen might be the hardest-working industrial designer in town. He’s one of the country’s most celebrated avant-garde creators of everything from lamps to bottle openers to tables. He’s an associate professor of industrial design at Philadelphia University, academic coordinator of its Milan study-abroad program, and a lecturer at Penn. And he’s always been a prolific contributor to DesignPhiladelphia. Soon, he hopes, its mission will expand. “As an intellectual event, it’s great,” Owen says. “The open question now is how to turn this into something that’s also driven by commerce. That’s the only way to get people outside of Philadelphia interested in seeing what’s here. Design is not art. People want to sell.”

Best known for: Award-winning, simple modern furnishings, lights and accessories — like the “SOS Stool,” which this year became part of the permanent collection of the Musée National d’Art Moderne Centre Pompidou in Paris.

What he’s doing this year: Participating in three separate events: a symposium on the creation and manufacturing of his SOS Stool at Design Within Reach; a student exhibit from an Integrated Product Design course he taught at Penn last spring; and a show of the results of his Philadelphia University class project to design a laminate chair that will be exhibited at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair next May. Design Within Reach, October 16th, 7 to 9 p.m. 1710 Walnut Street. Product Design, October 17th, 7 to 10 p.m. 222 Gallery, 222 Vine Street. “BUILD Ø2: Exploring Materiality with Wilsonart,” October 18th, 6 to 8 p.m. 222 Gallery, 222 Vine Street.