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A preview of TED 2012's hot-ticket design session

Design will be a focus at this year's high-profile TED conference in Long Beach, California. Here's a look at the five thought leaders who will present during a session devoted to the topic.
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Written by Reena Jana on

One of the hottest conference tickets in the world is the annual TED conference in Long Beach, California--the original live event to bear the TED brand. This year it's titled "Full Spectrum," and takes place from February 27-March 2 (don't get your hopes up--the tickets, which cost $7,500, are completely sold out).

Attended by a wide mix of CEOs, celebrities, scientists, and others, the conference showcases influential and highly motivated thought leaders. Its roster of presenters can be seen as a reflection of what concepts are top of mind among the world's executives, policy makers, and creative types alike. This year, the program is divided neatly around themes that appear to reflect places where smart conversations and ideas are shared--"The Lab," for instance, or "The Dinner Party"--with well-known or well-respected experts to match. Regina Dugan, DARPA's director, for instance, will present during "The Lab" segment. And "The Dinner Party" features a dream guest list of smart conversationalists: Dr. Atul Gawande, the New Yorker writer and surgeon, for example.

One of these themed sessions is "The Design Studio," which is the only segment that's guest curated-- by a dynamic duo of design: Chee Pearlman, former editor-in-chief of the defunct magazine I.D. and a well-respected design conference organizer, and David Rockwell, a TED speaker in the past and a popular architect who also creates sets for Broadway musicals. They've put together a program featuring veteran designers from more traditional fields such as architecture and book jackets, and, perhaps surprisingly, a journalist and an art (not design) museum director. There's no trendy young interface designer from a cool start-up or big corporation, and that's a fascinating choice--the talks are likely to provide a rich and experienced context to what design means today.

As the date of the Long Beach conference approaches, I thought it would be fun to offer a preview of what to expect from "The Design Studio" session at TED. The following short videos of each of the speakers on the agenda aren't produced or endorsed by TED, but are all relatively recent. If anything, they will serve as homework for those lucky enough to attend TED in person this year, as well as for those eagerly awaiting the TED Talk videos of these speakers to be released some time in the future.

So, here are clips of the TED 2012's "Design Studio" speakers, in the order they're scheduled to take the stage in Long Beach on March 1.

Chip Kidd, associate art director at Knopf, on his design of the cover of the latest Haruki Murakami novel:

Liz Diller, architect, on the design of Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York, by her firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro:

David Kelley, co-founder of IDEO, Stanford University professor, and venture capitalist, on why education needs to be redesigned to be fun (note: Mr. Kelley's name is misspelled in the still below by the video poster on YouTube, and not by SmartPlanet):

Thomas P. Campbell, director of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, on how the visitor experience is designed at the Met:

John Hockenberry, journalist, on missing the chance to be a journalist on the Space Shuttle:

Image: Erik Hersman/Flickr

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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