SXSW Eco Conference: 2016

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Eri Kawaguchi-Murphy, Environmental Design Student November 14, 2016

Designmatters at ArtCenter College of Design provided me the opportunity to attend the 2016 SXSW Eco Conference, held in Austin, Texas on October 10-12.

My project from the Safe Niños Spring 2016 studio, the Healing Path and Therapeutic Play Patio, was selected as an alternate in SXSW Eco’s Place by Design competition in the Speculative & Prototyping Category.

At the conference, there were hundreds of business leaders, policy makers, and designers attending the event to help advance solutions that drive social, economic, and environmental changes. Some of the notable speakers in the conference sessions included the author of “Cradle to Cradle” William McDonough and Google’s Lead for Sustainability, Kate Brandt. I was especially interested in a presentation by the Chief Scientific Officer of Ignition Genomics, Dr. Sarah Richardson. She specializes in the design of genomes, using DNA to train bacteria to do tricks. She talked about challenges and promises of synthetic biology, biological engineering, genetically modified organisms, and gene editing for the future of food, fuels, and health care. I also attended a workshop held by Microsoft on how to create empathy, and a session by the inventors of the world renowned interactive art installation, Musical Swings.

This trip gave me great inspiration and knowledge to further develop my ideas on sustainability, how to involve more people to participate, and future of our living. I would like to thank Designmatters for giving me this great opportunity.

Eri Kawaguchi-Murphy is an environmental designer who creates interior-architecture designs and furniture, as well as branding and graphic design. Eri was born and raised in Japan and has lived in five different countries, and is currently residing near Los Angeles, California. She is passionate about learning different cultures, technology and the way people live and always strives to incorporate these elements of interest into her design concepts. After being exposed to several different cultures, she became eager to solve today’s problems which led to her winning an award in Sustainable Living (social relevance) from the International Interior Design Association in 2016. Eri is currently working towards a B.S. Degree in Environmental Design, and will earn a Designmatters Concentration certificate in art and design for social impact at ArtCenter Design of College.