Everything from a cereal box to a skyscraper starts with a design. But how does the creative process behind it unfold? How do inspiration, vision and practical reality come together, and ultimately lead to the development of a brand new building, product or work of art?
GREAT MINDS OF DESIGN (Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/10 p.m. PT on documentary) follows a wide variety of highly creative designers driven by innovative ideas, tracking a different design process in each episode from concept to completion.
Witness a new creation take shape at the hands of its maker; learn about different design media and their history; and meet the visionary people behind everyday objects and ambitious ideas. GREAT MINDS OF DESIGN features everyone from computer-aided industrial designers to street artists, and designers whose work becomes quite conceptual.
From their desire to create something that is functional and aesthetically pleasing, to finding solutions to human problems, social issues, or groundbreaking improvements to previous concepts, the series explores what drives the development of new designs and their impact on the world.
Episode 1: “Urban Redesign” – Three street artists redesign the cityscape with clever ‘urban interventions,’ that use natural elements, such as grass, soil and flowers as their materials, repurposing city infrastructure for their ‘art stunts,’ to point out issues in need of attention.
Episode 2: “Solar Stained Glass” – Canadian stained glass designer Sarah Hall works in Germany, but designs architectural glass for buildings around the world, creating colourful works which revolutionize this centuries-old art by incorporating solar collecting cells into the glass itself, collecting energy during the day to illuminate the glass at night and to help power the building.
Episode 3: “Designing Cultures: Haiti” – Designer Patty Johnson travels to the devastated country of Haiti, where she works with local artisans and craftspeople whose practice is deeply connected to Voodoo. After months of working with the Haitians, Johnson develops a product line based on their rich culture, which debuts at an international design market back in Canada.
Episode 4: “Architecture by Nature” – Architect Trevor McIvor and his partners design buildings that take advantage of the innate heating and cooling characteristics of nature. From an impressive off-the-grid “cottage” that requires no artificial cooling, to a green-roofed sound studio that slowly rises out of the earth, McIvor lets nature dictate how a structure should be designed.
Episode 5: “Designing with Ghosts” – Nicholas Kennedy works with the ghosts of printing’s past, by using salvaged equipment that the modern industry now considers obsolete. An art school dropout, flunking out of photography and new media, he opened his own print shop while still in his early twenties. His style of “anti-design” or “found design” insists that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you create.
Episode 6: “Dream Big. Do Good. Spread Joy” – In Helen Kerr’s design process, the designer isn’t the decisive author of everything, but rather one of many collaborators on a large team. They work together in researching a new project, taking into account different points of view, and getting to the heart of the problem that needs solving. In this episode, Kerr visits a factory to oversee production of a line of modular chairs, creates a complexly folded bag out of recycled cardboard, and travels to New York City to meet with partners on a multifaceted and conceptual new project.