!melk Principal and Founder Jerry Van Eyck visited Michael Graves College of Architecture and Design at Kean University. Van Eyck was a public speaker for the architecture and design students in the afternoon of Monday, September 26, 2016.
The speech at the Michael Graves College, located in the Green Lane Academic Building (GLAB), attracted graphic, industrial, interior, as well as architectural designers to the sixth floor. The Michael Graves College is in the process of hosting a lecture series where many practitioners and public speakers come in and speak to the students about their life full of design.
Van Eyck started his speech with saying, "Who here in the room has an idea in their life?" Such a simple sentence can be applied to anyone, but it comes to question who is confident enough to show their idea through design.
Van Eyck originated from the Netherlands, which he explained is a man-made country. The name !melk came about from the Dutch word for "milk." Van Eyck brings up that he calls the business !melk because Holland is a place that made a lot of milk, and its trade gave such a small country a title of being one of the top three locations of high agricultural trade. Van Eyck felt the power that came from the people to create such a large business in a small country is the most important contribution to agriculture.
On average, design students take about six years in college. In these six years, students get to learn the dynamics of project ideas, planning and designing.
!melk has designed plenty of parks and urban landscapes for the community around the world.
"It's almost as if a piece of art got lost," Van Eyck says regarding building parks. He notes that parks such as Bryant Park located in New York and Park Güell located in Barcelona each have their own personalities and uniqueness.
"Gaudi's park has no other place this park could be built. Park Güell represents the flamboyance of Barcelona," Van Eyck comments.
Throughout the speech, Van Eyck shows students design layouts as well as 3D tours of his works, such as "The Cloud" in Hance Park located in Phoenix, Arizona.
"Real design and creativity comes from within," Van Eyck points out about his ideas and concepts. "Every project should be unique -- so we have larger concepts and ideas that work with politics, culture, economics, and so on. Projects are about the overarching concept -- it should be able to give people the chance to experience a design both emotionally and physically."
He exemplifies the process of architecture and landscaping by saying, "You have a void beach in downtown Miami. There's open space as an economic driver. The outcome? Millions of money and private investments in surrounding neighborhoods."
Each project is about identity, and Van Eyck puts a bit of his character into each project he takes part in. Not only would this ignite the look of the area, but it would involve the community as well. The surrounding community helps by having public engagements. Everyone has input and ideas on the table.
"It's important to hear what the community wants and incorporate a bit of each idea into your project. If you don't, you risk having protests happen," Van Eyck points out.
Later in the speech, Van Eyck deepens the process of incorporating the community around.
"Every idea becomes common in making parks -- potential, food, shade, wi-fi, marketing, etc. These ideas get categorized in three sections: neighborhood parks, daily urban life, and civic engagement," Van Eyck says. "These two components become a walk-through on making a layout and then designing a structure that fits these ideas. When finally making a master plan, so many components go in making an industrial design."
Other students do not know the challenges design and architectural students must consider, such as learning about climate, society and culture. They have to create a positive place, something people want to experience both during day and night. Designs are based on accessibility and connectivity. With all of these to consider, it really increases the respect given to both design and architectural majors from someone who is not from the same field.
Rose Gonnella, the Associate Dean of Michael Graves College at Kean University at Union, New Jersey and Wenzhou, China, was one of the viewers of Jerry Van Eyck's speech.
Gonnella feels "The speech is for education, landscape and urban design, and inspiration. This speech is to inspire the students and to connect the students with experience."
Gonnella mentions how Michael Graves College has a series of lectures this semester.
"Our lecture series culminates in a one-day conference in the spring. It has a series of speakers."
Figures such as Van Eyck really go into deep and thorough details about working in the field and gives plenty of examples that reflect his concepts and art style.
Gonnella says, "Students express the excitement from learning from a practitioner. They get to learn something that they're not learning yet in their classes. It makes them excited for the future. The speakers are role models for them."
Any student interested in the field of design and architecture should attend these speeches, because it really gives students an insight of how the work life within this major is like.
"You should prepare yourself to not learn design from just a book," Van Eyck comments.
If students missed this speech, need inspiration or feel like they do not know what the next step is, there is always a chance to look forward to the next speech in Michael Graves College.