Michael Graves to headline upcoming F.O.O.D. (Food, Objects, Objectives, Design) Conference at Mint Museum Uptown this month

Keynote speech and day-long conference are open to the public

The public is invited to join a roster of chefs, writers, historians, and international designers – led by internationally renowned architect Michael Graves – who are visiting the museum later this month for a conference devoted to the innovative Mint-organized F.O.O.D. (Food, Objects, Objectives, Design) exhibition. Graves will be speaking on April 25 as part of the Mint’s Contemporary Architecture + Design (CAD) Series at Mint Museum Uptown, which will serve as the F.O.O.D. Conference’s keynote address, and the day-long conference follows on April 26.

Michael Graves and his firms have received more than 200 awards for design excellence since he founded his practice in 1964, including the 1999 National Medal of Arts from President Bill Clinton. Michael Graves & Associates provides planning, architecture and interior design services, and Michael Graves Design Group specializes in product design, graphics and branding. As one of the most well-recognized contemporary architects in the country, Graves is widely credited with the ‘democratization of design’ through his partnership and accessible product line with Target.

“Good design not only addresses practical problems, it humanizes the products we use daily. Fittingly, the Mint’s CAD Series (Contemporary Architecture + Design) concludes its season and opens the F.O.O.D. Conference with a lecture by Michael Graves, the visionary architect and designer. More than anyone else, Graves has changed the field by championing good design as essential to everyday life, and by creating objects that are accessible, intuitive, functional and beautiful,” said Cheryl Palmer, the Mint’s director of Learning & Engagement.

Graves’ lecture begins at 7 p.m. and the lecture is $5 for museum members, $15 for non-members, and free for students with valid ID. A light reception precedes the program at 6 p.m. Registration is required at mintmuseum.org/happenings.

The F.O.O.D. Conference promises a day of learning and creativity with presentations from industry leading writers, historians, chefs, and designers to complement the museum’s current exhibition devoted to objects designed to prepare, cook, and present food. The conference sessions mirror the four sections of the F.O.O.D. exhibition: Kitchen, Pantry, Table and Garden.

Presenters include Jessica Harris, author of 11 cookbooks and contributor to magazines such as Gourmet and Saveur; James Beard Award-winning author, bread expert and Johnson & Wales chef Peter Reinhart; Darra Goldstein, food historian and founding editor of Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture, named the 2012 Publication of the Year by the James Beard Foundation; Asheville-based architect Ken Gaylord, and Matteo Bologna, founding partner and principal of Mucca Design in New York.

Designers Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin of the FormaFantasma Studio, who created the work “Autarchy” for the Mint’s F.O.O.D. exhibition, will also be presenting.  Based on a prototype from 2011, this version of Autarchy was created especially for the Mint, and is made of agriculture waste, spices such as turmeric and paprika, and Geechie Boy corn meal. The two Italian designers are based in The Netherlands and their work seeks to bridge the relationship between craft, industry, object, and user. This is the studio’s first showing in an American museum. In 2011 the studio was nominated as one of the 20 most promising young design studios by Alice Rawsthorn, the design critic of The New York Times and Paola Antonelli, the senior design curator of The Museum of Modern Art.

“Designers are creative individuals who apply art and engineering to solve a problem. Regarding food, that problem might be making a spoon that holds just the right amount of liquid, that is comfortable to hold, and that looks really cool.  It might be creating a kitchen that incorporates sustainable appliances, green machines, and ergonomic furniture.  And it could even be coming up with a typeface, and innovative graphic designs, for restaurant advertisements, menus, or cookbooks. The Mint’s F.O.O.D. Conference brings together top international talent – chefs, culinary historians, designers, and architects –  to discuss their perspectives on the meaning of table, pantry, kitchen, and garden in our lives today,” said Annie Carlano, the Mint’s director of craft + design.

The conference runs from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. and the cost for Mint or Center for Craft, Creativity and Design members is $60 with a box lunch and includes admission to Michael Graves’ CAD lecture. Cost for non-members is $85 with a box lunch, or $100 for lunch and admission to the Graves CAD lecture. Registration is required at mintmuseum.org/happenings. The conference is co-presented with The Center for Craft, Creativity and Design in Hendersonville, N.C., and funded by the Founders’ Circle. In-kind partners include Johnson & Wales University and The Mother Earth Group. Michael Graves’ lecture is generously supported by a grant from the Arts & Science Council.

The F.O.O.D. exhibition features approximately 300 modern and contemporary pieces, including unique and mass-produced works chosen from the Mint’s permanent collection, loans and new acquisitions. The exhibition is co-organized by the research center FoodCultura, Barcelona, and remains on view through July 7, 2013. F.O.O.D. (Food, Objects, Objectives, Design) is made possible through major support from PNC with additional support from Piedmont Natural Gas. Acquisition support was provided by the Design Committee of The Mint Museum.