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October 26th, 2001
Collab to Recognize Philadelphia Design Innovations on November 14 at Museum

On Wednesday, November 14, 2001 at 6 p.m., Collab, a group of design professionals who support the Philadelphia Museum of Art's modern and contemporary design collections, will present Focus Philadelphia: Design in the City, a program featuring three well-known Philadelphia talents who have made significant design contributions in this city and elsewhere. In the Museum's Van Pelt Auditorium, interior designer Karen Daroff, landscape architect Laurie Olin, and restaurateur Stephen Starr will discuss their diverse bodies of work, highlighting the wide range of innovative projects being produced in Philadelphia. The presentation will coincide with the opening of Collab Collects: Notable Acquisitions in Design, 1970-2000, an installation of gifts made to the Museum by Collab over the past three decades, on view in Gallery 170 at the Museum from November 14, 2001, through March 31, 2002.

Tickets for the November 14 event at the Museum are $30 for adults and $10 for students (including Museum admission) and may be purchased at the Museum box office or by calling (215) 235-SHOW.

Daroff, principal of Daroff Design, has created interiors for the Loew's Hotel in the historic PSFS Building and renovated terminals at Philadelphia International Airport. She is also responsible for interiors in the corporate headquarters of Comcast Corporation, The Rosenbluth Travel Agency, Children's Seashore House, the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania and the Criminal Justice Center.

Olin, who is principal of the Olin Partnership, has completed major landscape projects for the Getty Center in Los Angeles, the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C., Bryant Park in New York City, and master plans for the University of Pennsylvania where he is a professor of landscape architecture. Three years ago, Olin was awarded one of Philadelphia's most complex and visible landscape and planning projects: the total re-design and redevelopment of Independence Mall.

Starr has won praise for introducing strikingly unusual design concepts to Philadelphia's dining scene. His Continental Restaurant and Martini Bar evokes the 1950s; Buddakan exudes an "exotic" Asian style; Tangerine conveys a Moroccan fantasy; the Blue Angel suggests an authentic Parisian bistro; and Pod dramatizes a futuristic Asian ambiance with intimate dining "pods" and programmable lighting.

Collab Collects will be installed by Diane Minnite, Collections and Research Assistant in the Museum's Department of European Decorative Arts after 1700. Not only will the installation underscore the important role that Collab has played in enabling the Museum to build a distinctive design collection, it will provide a glimpse of the variety of materials, techniques and styles characterizing innovative design throughout the world and over the course of the last century. Among the highlights are a necklace by jewelry designer Tone Vigeland (Norwegian, born 1938) that is composed of small squares of oxidized silver strung on a flexible mesh wire; an icon of postmodernism known as the "Casablanca" sideboard, created by Ettore Sottsass, Jr. (Italian, born 1917) for his Milanese design group Memphis; Poul Henningsen's (Danish, 1894-1967) "PH Artichoke" lamp, constructed of overlapping copper flaps and manufactured by Louis Poulsen & Co.; and a rare, high back bent plywood armchair designed about 1931-32 by architect Alvar Aalto (Finnish, 1898-1976).

A non-profit organization founded in 1970, Collab raises funds to enrich the Philadelphia Museum of Art's modern and contemporary design collection, which now includes over 500 works. The collection ranges from appliances to furniture, ceramics, glass, and lighting, and includes both handcrafted and mass-produced designs. In seeking to broaden knowledge and appreciation of contemporary design in Philadelphia, Collab supports a wide range of educational programming at the Museum in the form of exhibitions, publications, lectures, symposia, student design competitions and design excellence awards.

Collab will host its ninth annual Student Design Competition at the Museum on Monday, November 12, 2001. This year, in honor of Collab's 30th anniversary, students have been asked to design Collab's Design Excellence Award, which is bestowed upon designers whose work has had a significant impact on the field of modern and contemporary design. After the competition, a selection of the projects will go on display in the Daffy's Store Window Dedicated to the Arts in Philadelphia, 17th and Chestnut Streets, from November 13 to December 1, 2001.

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For additional information, contact the Communications Department of the Philadelphia Museum of Art phone at 215-684-7860, by fax at 215-235-0050, or by e-mail at The Philadelphia Museum of Art is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street. For general information, call (215) 763-8100.

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