A Little Unexpected Fun

Photo By Paul Chinn
A few years back I partook in one of Futurefarmers' design collective events (while their A Variation on the Powers of Ten exhibit was showing at the Berkeley Art Museum), held at the Exploratorium back when it was at the Palace of Fine Arts. For the event, designers were asked to design tools that would allow to see beyond our biological perceptions and hence affect our understanding of the world. I made a simple fiber optic tool, but was impressed by the many possibilities of just one day's worth of fun work, as other designers came up with some pretty mesmerizing works!

The Exploratorium is a wealth of knowledge and inspiration for kids of all ages. And it was recently moved to a bigger facility, so the exploratory and designing fun is endless. Since last week it's now more accessibly located on Embarcadero's Pier 15, and I was super lucky that Monday my undergraduate university's alumni association hosted a private tour of the new Exploratorium, for a few of us alumni living in the Bay Area, lead by no other than the director himself. It was really exciting to see that they've now made the behind-the-scenes workshops and labs – where the scientists and artists design and build all the interactive installations we play with at the Exploratorium – open for the public to see; and that the Tinkering Studio is even bigger and better now! Can't wait to spend an entire day there tinkering with the many tools and materials they make available to the visitors. They have many new educational installations to play with at their new space, and space left for more to come, Denis said. So it's well worth the increased fee, as you'll probably spend an entire day there, and might even have to come back to see and play with everything.

Photo By Inda Liza Luciano
After the tour we had a reception, including a chocolate tasting, at the chocolate factory of TCHO next door on Pier 17 that was really interesting too. We got to taste a variety of chocolates, that although were made out of the same ingredients and recipe, the taste was completely different depending on the location where the cacao bean was grown. It was fascinating to me, because since a few years back I've been experimenting in my own kitchen with some natural sweets, and I used TCHO's design as inspiration to one of my packaging assignments back when I was at UCBx finishing my Graphic Design professional sequence. I love their packaging design!

Photo By Inda Liza Luciano
That was the first alumni event I've ever attended, and it was a little unexpected fun. Met some new interesting folks, learned new things about my alma mater, opened-up to new collaborative possibilities... so maybe I'll do it again next year, and for other of the colleges I've attended as well!

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