Design District in downtown Cleveland seeks to redesign the city's image
Synergy between the region's 40 consumer product companies and 100 design firms could result from a more visible design culture.
Cleveland, a city with a proud industrial history, will never be what it used to be. It has to find a new identity if it's going to survive. This time, instead of real estate developers, bankers, and politicians, a couple of college professors are leading the way. One is an expert in urban studies. The other, an industrial designer. They're spearheading Cleveland's Design District. WKSU's Vivian Goodman reports it's a bid to transform a decaying part of downtown into a showplace for the best new consumer products, an engine for economic development, and a talent magnet for young designers:
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Downtown Councilman Joe Cimperman stands with public art in the St. Clair Superior neighborhood where he grew up. This is the eastern edge of the proposed Design District. Cimperman says there is no class struggle between older residents and the young artists who are moving in.
Kristina Lazare, 26, is a barrista at Artefino, the coffee shop in the Tower Press building at E. 21st and Superior, where she also lives and works as an artist and fashion designer. She designed the "Year of the Rat" sculpture in front of Cleveland City Hall, emblazoned with a phoenix rising from ashes.
Lazare sees the Design District benefiting young artists.
Cleveland State University's VP for Economic Development, Ned Hill, has a Victor Schreckengost bowl in his office. Schreckengost, known as America's Da Vinci, created the nation's first Industrial Design program at the Cleveland Institute of Art. Hill says in addition to that proud design heritage for Cleveland, the state of Ohio has also produced one third of the design talent in the U.S.
Regional Development Director for the City of Cleveland, Chris Warren doesn't see the Design District drawing business away from other new downtown developments like East 4th and Prospect and the Warehouse District.
Hector Lopez, 15, attends Design Lab Early College. This summer at the Cleveland Institute of Art he designed a kitchen.