Then Now Next

On May 23, Chicago’s IIT Institute of Design Celebrates 80 Years of Taming Complexity, Unleashing Creativity, and Mobilizing Action through Design-Driven Innovation


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Chicago, IL — April 26, 2018 —

Gala spotlights how ID is leading the conversation on design’s role in solving big public challenges

On May 23, IIT Institute of Design (ID) -- a Chicago institution founded as the New Bauhaus, and internationally recognized as a pioneer in design practice -- will host civic and industry leaders at Then Now Next, a gala commemorating its 80th Anniversary. Then Now Next celebrates ID’s historic influence in Chicago as well as its current commitment to bringing world-class design approaches to shape the future of the city, Illinois, and the globe.

“2018 is a big year for ID. Our new dean, Denis Weil, is driving the evolution of the school to expand ID’s influence on the practice of design,” says Eric Larson, Chairman of ID’s board. “For decades, ID students, faculty, and alumni have had outsized impact on business, government and non-profit organizations. Today, the school is focused on bringing the power of human-centered, systems-oriented design to bear on society’s most complex challenges.”

Held at Chez, a site with a rich and compelling history and an early home of the school, the evening gala will run from 6:00-9:00 pm and feature:

  • A gallery-style exhibition showcasing ID’s historic and contemporary contributions to the field of design.
  • A sneak preview of the feature-length documentary New Bauhaus directed by Alysa Nahmias and produced by Opendox.
  • Remarks by Dean Denis Weil on design’s crucial role in shaping Chicago and the world.

“Design is more critical than ever. As it continues to mature into an essential strategic engine within large, networked organizations, we’re seeing leaders increasingly turn to designers and design-driven innovation to tame complexity, unleash creativity, and – most importantly – mobilize action,” says Dean Denis Weil. “Designers are stepping up to lead the response to complex challenges, evolving into a practice that takes greater responsibility for the choices, futures, and worlds we make.”

“This event shines a spotlight on how ID is leading the conversation around the globe about design’s potential impact on big public challenges,” says Terry Mazany, ID board member and former CEO of The Chicago Community Trust. “We’re not surprised that five ID faculty were recently selected as innovation coaches in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ 2018 Mayor’s Challenge. ID’s Chicago Design Lab is actively partnering today with community, non-profit, and government organizations to tackle transformative issues like criminal justice, health services, sustainable urban planning, and food security challenges that touch hundreds of thousands of lives.”

About Illinois Institute of Technology

Illinois Institute of Technology, also known as Illinois Tech, is a private, technology-focused, research university, located in Chicago, offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering, science, architecture, business, design, human sciences, applied technology, and law. One of 21 institutions that comprise the Association of Independent Technological Universities (AITU), Illinois Tech offers exceptional preparation for professions that require technological sophistication, an innovative mindset, and an entrepreneurial spirit.

About IIT Institute of Design

Founded 80 years ago in Chicago as the New Bauhaus by László Moholy-Nagy, with a purpose of “ensuring … society has access to the maximum use of constructive abilities for its benefit,” IIT Institute of Design (ID) is the sole graduate-only professional design school in North America. Grounded in design strategy as well as in human-centered design and systems thinking, ID offers leading Master’s and PhD programs in design and design-driven innovation. By educating the next generation of designers in relevant, emerging practice, ID develops pioneering thinkers and interdisciplinary problem solvers who navigate and facilitate change across complex systems.