What Do Rem Koolhaas and Cameron Sinclair Have in Common?

Written by
Cameron Sinclair
Cameron Sinclair (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

On the face of it, not much. But what they share is they are both brilliant communicators. Over the course of many years covering the design and architecture world, I’ve been fascinated not only by what is being conceived and made but also by how it is pitched to the world, how designers get their message out.

And in late July I’ll be spending two days at USC emceeing a course on this very topic. It is called LA Fame: Myth Management and Tailored Truths (the name is an homage to Doug Michels, co-founder of the counterculture design group, Ant Farm, and keen student of the art of getting attention) and it’s part of USC’s new summer Executive Education program.

The line-up of speakers is amazing, featuring people who have experienced high visibility as well as those in the position of conferring it: Frank Gehry, architect; Sasha Strauss, a brilliant speaker on marketing and branding, heard recently on DnAKarim Rashid, prolific and highly visible designer; Reed Kroloff, head of Cranbrook and advisor on architect selection and design strategy; Greg Lynn, designer and architect; Barbara Bestor, architect, author of Bohemian Modern; Thao Nguyen, CAA agent who represents leading talents as diverse as Rem Koolhaas and Cameron Sinclair; Ini Archibong, Art Center student and winner of the Student Designer of the Year award by American Design Honors; Alissa Walker, Design Editor for Fast Company; Adam Mefford, entrepreneur, founder of Mindshare. The class will be small, so speakers and students can really get to talk, and we’ll be discussing such themes as: Why does communication matter? Why do certain designers and architects get attention (and, by extension, work)? Is it sheer talent alone, or other skills having to do with salesmanship and self-promotion? How can designers and architects shape their own identity and sharpen their message in a way that helps cut through the noise? This will come clear on July 20 and 21 at LA Fame: Myth Management and Tailored Truths.

Note: USC will make available one ticket to a DnA listener, plus audio or video tapes will likely be available to those who cannot attend the conference. If you need more information, contact me at dna@kcrw.org.