Newcity gets to know the 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennial contributors. This segment highlights Hood Design Studio, a social art and design practice based in Oakland, California. The studio’s practice is described as tripartite: art and fabrication, design and landscape, and research and urbanism. Their mission? “We strengthen endemic patterns and practices—those ecological and cultural, contemporary and historic, and those that remain unseen or unrecognized. Urban spaces and their objects act as public sculpture, creating new apertures through which to see the emergent beauty, strangeness, and idiosyncrasies around us.” Hood Design Studio founder and creative director Walter Hood, who is also a professor of landscape architecture, environmental planning, and urban design at the University of California, Berkeley, talks about the upcoming CAB, saying that we are all a part of history and that this moment matters.
In what ways has your background prepared you and how will it inform your role at the upcoming Chicago Architecture Biennial?
As a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a recent exhibitor in the 2019 Biennale, we have a long history with the city. In addition, Hood Design Studio is working in the Bronzeville and Lawndale neighborhoods.
Can you talk about the importance of a festival like CAB amid a pandemic and a time of social and political unrest?
I believe the festival can be restorative and speculative in reminding citizens of the importance of culture and civic participation. Art has always brought people together, whether in times of contestation or unity.
What are you hoping the viewers will take away from this exhibition?
That we are all a part of history and that this moment matters.
What are you most excited about moving forward?
Making a beautiful grove of trees.
Greek-born Vasia Rigou is a Chicago-based art critic and pop culture journalist, largely on the subjects of contemporary art, design, and fashion. She moved to Chicago in 2013 to study Arts Journalism at the School of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC,) where she was awarded the New Artist Society Merit Scholarship. She grew up to appreciate art after years of carefully planned, culture-filled travel itineraries and museum-hopping around Europe with her family. During this time, she received a bachelor’s in English Literature, in her native Athens; a master’s in Media, in Nottingham, UK; and studied foreign languages—English, German, and Spanish at the University of Salamanca, Spain. Her writing—reviewing museum exhibitions, gallery shows, art fairs, fashion shows, and music festivals among others—has been published nationally and internationally both in print and online. In 2017, she founded and now serves as editor-in-chief of Rainbowed.—an independently published website focused on the visual and performing arts, digital media, and popular culture. When she’s not writing about art or looking at art—wine in hand, she keeps up with Chicago’s creative entrepreneurial and startup community, makes lists for pretty much everything, drinks immense amounts of coffee and takes cross-country road trips every chance she gets.
Contact: email@example.com Website: www.rigouvasia.com