Magical anniversary for Canada’s oldest design school

While there’s nothing sleight-of-hand about the success of Carleton’s School of Industrial Design (SID), magic did serve as a fitting centerpiece when SID celebrated its 30 anniversary September 13.

“Up in Smoke” featured 13 student groups performing tricks and illusions under the design of Chris Pilsworth, SID graduate and acclaimed professional magician. Pilsworth was event’s host and shared some of the polished tricks he has up his own sleeve.

The audience, which easily filled the Tory Building’s 250-seat lecture hall, included SID alumni and friends, scores of amused children, and even some of Pilsworth’s magician peers.

“We wanted to do something where students could interact with alumni, and where there’d be lots of people laughing,” explains SID director Lois Frankel, who orchestrated the event. Alumni relations are a key objective for the school going forward.

Pilsworth has helped students design magic tricks as part of their course work for several years. Magic and industrial design are alike in that both give physical shape to inventive ideas, and both are mostly concerned with the everyday objects we use to live our lives, Frankel adds.

Although it is the oldest industrial design school in Canada, SID remains “a bit of a secret” elsewhere, according to Frankel. The School plans to address this in part by entering more international competitions, in which SID students have excelled in the past.

Known for its intimate atmosphere and for producing technically strong graduates, SID was shaped in the early years by Wim Gilles, the School’s first director, who remained involved until his death in the fall of 2002.

Frankel notes that growth plans include a graduate program with an emphasis on visionary thinking. But she also guarantees that the School’s magical essence won’t be vanishing any time soon. “We want to preserve the things that are really good about the school now.”

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This entry was written by Tony Martins and posted in the issue. Tags applied to this article are: . Leave a comment, bookmark the permalink or share the following short URL for this article via social media:

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