For 200 years, Alabama’s design arts have masterfully blended utility, place and craft. To showcase this rich history, the Design200 project commemorates great design in Alabama going back to its early statehood days. No better time to recognize 200 examples of great design in Alabama than in 2019 – the state’s bicentennial year.
Design200 includes a photo and short article about each of the 200 selections chosen from various design disciplines – architecture, landscape architecture, graphic design, industrial design and handcrafters, along with engineering and organizations devoted to design.
Beginning in March, Design200 will be available on the DesignAlabama website, https://www.designalabama.org/, with a link to the project.
The idea originated with Cathy Gerachis, board member emeritus of DesignAlabama, which is sponsoring Design200 with its partners. The format, she notes, is similar to the Wall Street Journal’s “50 Best” that appears in the newspaper’s lifestyle section.
“I hope the 200 featured people, places and things – historical or contemporary – will see a surge in interest. If it is a site, I hope folks will go visit. If it is a product, I hope they sell more. If it is a designer, I hope they get hired. Yes, there is a commercial aspect to this list. But above all, it is time to celebrate good design in Alabama and by Alabamians.”
Also involved with the project is Alabama Center for Architecture (ACFA) whose mission is to advance the enjoyment of architecture and design through engagement, education and collaboration. Partnering with DesignAlabama was a natural fit since architecture is a major component of Design200 and the ACFA could share its resources and help identify notable architectural design work in the state, explains architect Joel Blackstock, board member and past president of Alabama Center for Architecture.
“We were working on a vision to publish “100 Buildings in Alabama to See Before You Die,” a promotional piece to celebrate old and new significant works of architecture throughout Alabama. Many of these buildings are already documented and featured in our two books that the ACFA published, Alabama Architecture and Community in Alabama.”
By being exposed to examples of good architectural design in their state, Blackstock hopes Alabamians will gain an understanding of how design enhances quality of life and enriches communities. The ACFA plans to use the architectural component of Design200 in print and digital newsletters to share with its members.
Good design also boosts tourism and the economy. So, another “natural fit” to partner with Design200 is the Alabama Tourism Department.
Design200 offers a look at the progression of design and how it has evolved throughout the state’s history, notes Jo Jo Terry, Alabama Tourism Department’s digital marketing strategist and Gulf Coast regional director. It also serves to educate the public on the beauty of Alabama, not just in nature but its built environment as well, she adds.
The Alabama Tourism Department will post Design200 on https://alabama.travel/ and its social media platforms. If a print version of Design200 is available, Terry says it will be sold in the Alabama Governor’s Mansion gift shop and other gift shops throughout Alabama.
Image 1: The logo for Design200, an ambitious project that showcases 200 examples of the finest work in Alabama in architecture and other design disciplines. The project coincides with Alabama’s bicentennial this year.
*Article Written By Jessica Armstrong and Image Courtesy of DesignAlabama and Copperwing Design