Portland Architect Robert Thompson is a Featured Speaker at the Portland Creative Conference

Robert Thompson– Founder, Principal & Design Director, TVA Architects–is a featured speaker at this year’s Portland Creative Conference.

Robert’s buildings are featured around the world (including headquarters for Proctor & Gamble and Sony Ericsson) and his most well-known Portland-area buildings include the Nike campus (he has designed over 30 buildings for Nike), the Fox Tower, the John Ross condos and the Umqua Bank Store in the Pearl. One of his most recent projects is the Matthew Knight Arena on the U of O campus. TVA Architects has won more than 55 awards for excellence in design including 42 local, regional and national awards from the American Institute of Architects. In anticipation of his upcoming appearance at the Portland Creative Conference, I recently interviewed Robert at his office in downtown Portland.

Robert is a native Oregonian, so we spoke for a while about his choice to live and work here:

Oregon is beautiful, and offers the ocean, mountains, an urban center large enough to attract rich culture, and is wonderful from the standpoint of raising a family. Portland is scaled in a unique way, and people just fall in love with it.

Portland is one of the world’s leading cities from the perspective of industrial design. We have world-class footwear, apparel, advertising, architecture firms all working here. There’s a wealth of creative professionals for design at all levels. It’s attractive to young people who want to be part of it. Portland supports and nurtures the creative economy, supporting young, innovative, entrepreneurial people, although of course they could always do more to support clean, green businesses. But look at the food carts: a lot of cities would have gotten rid of them. Portland nurtured them, embraced them, and now uses them as a marketing tool.

We also discussed his early creative history and decision to pursue architecture:

From an early age, I had a proclivity for drawing, painting, and building things. My parents supported and inspired me, enrolling me in just about every kind of fine art class that ultimately led to the decision to be an architect. I’m really fortunate in that respect; it allowed me to live an inspired life, doing what I want to do. I have an enormous passion for the creative process, and the busier I am, the more work there is to do, the happier and more fulfilled I am. It’s harder to be not busy.

Robert is inspired by all kinds of design:

Cars, boars, sailboats, the sculptural aspects of finely designed objects, of things that are thought through to the finest detail, the minimal number of moves. Things that are elegant, things that are graceful.

At the conference, he’ll talk about his creative process in the architectural world:

It’s all about design, from the macro to the micro level. The evolution starts on day one, at your first meeting with the client, and doesn’t end until the last contractor pulls off the job a couple years later. Architecture is a fine art, it’s all about creative problem solving. We’re designing the whole spaces, buildings, furniture, light fixtures, down to the napkins on the table. It’s holistic, creating entire environments from thin air, all the way down to the silverware in the restaurants we design. It’s not phased, it’s an ongoing engagement for years on any one project.

Architecture is a lengthy process. If you’re sculpting or painting, it’s just you. But architecture happens within constraints: the client, the jurisdiction, the code, schedule, budgets. But really, those things aren’t constraints. They define and frame the solution.

Good projects depend on good clients, clients who are emotionally engaged in creating good work. Engage clients in the design team as a participant, and then they can share in the authorship of the work. You are building a relationship, you aren’t just hired to complete a job. TVA has some of the greatest clients in the world: Apple, Nike, Eriksson, Nike, and we’re engaged with the highest level of leadership, people who want to create environments that reflect the brand strategy and support their internal creative process on a daily basis. Clients bring their own ideas to the table; the ways they’ve thought of to solve their problem, and then we pose creative solutions that they haven’t thought of before, solutions that solve their problem in an enlightened way. Architecture, all design really, is about solving the problem in ways they haven’t thought of, showing them many ways to solve the problem.

It was a fascinating interview, and I look forward to hearing what he has to say at the conference in September.


August 17, 2011 at 7:20 pm 1 comment

Portland Creative Conference Features Regional Creative Industries Leaders

The Portland Creative Conference returns on Saturday September 17th featuring a mix of keynote presenters from various creative industries professions.  Oregon Creative Industries is helping to produce the event and you can save 20% off the early bird price by registering now with Discount Code “OCI, resulting in just a $64 registration fee.

Many of the presenters have a link to the region, demonstrating our creative industries strength. Headliners include Avatar’s Special Effects Genius, Producers of NBC’s Grimm, Coca-Cola’s Global Creative Director and Nike’s go-to architect.  Read about all of the presenters here.

What is the Portland Creative Conference?

  • It is an interdisciplinary exploration of the creative process across creative industries professions.  The conference features keynote presentations from leading creative thinkers who reveal their work and let us in on their secrets, influences and inspirations.
  • It is an opportunity for attendees to network together as they get inside the head of visionaries who are generating original and effective ideas for fun & profit and to be inspired in entirely new ways, viewing their own world with a fresh perspective as a result.

To see a complete list of speakers and register to attend at a 20% discount, click here.

July 29, 2011 at 7:44 am Leave a comment

OCI Bylaws Approved by 17 Member Board of Directors

The Oregon Creative Industries Board of Directors approved the organization’s Bylaws at our May meeting, a milestone in our legal formation as an Oregon nonprofit corporation governed by an industry Board of Directors.  The next step in the formation process is to establish our tax-exempt status with the IRS.

This structure will help facilitate our mission to take an ecosystem approach to growing the regional creative economy via a focus on promotion, advocacy and networking.

OCI Board of Directors List

Our Board of Directors is now 17 members strong and growing.  Current Board members as of the passing of the Bylaws are:

  • Dylan Boyd (Urban Airship), Software Industry Representative
  • Michael Cohen (Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt), Legal Counsel
  • David Cress (Film & Television Producer, Portlandia and many others), Film & Video Representative
  • Julie Duryea (souk), Networking Chair
  • Paul Evers (tbd Advertising), Regional Liaison – Central Oregon
  • Tim DuRoche (World Affairs Council), Advocacy Chair
  • Steve Gehlen (Icebreaker Nature Clothing), Board President and Athletic & Ourdoor Industry Representative
  • Jennifer Green (Laika), Board Secretary and Animation Industry Representative
  • Eric Hillerns (Designspeaks), Research Chair and Graphic Design Industry Representative
  • Jerry Ketel (founder Leopold Ketel Advertising), Promotions Chair and Advertising Industry Representative
  • Tad Lukasik, Director of Industry Information
  • Shane Sasnow (Forward Motion Facilitation), Partnership Chair
  • Brad Smith (Hot Pepper Studios, WebVisions Conference), Program Chair – Events Calendar and Interactive Industry Representative
  • Dave Sullivan (Perkins & Company), Finance Counsel
  • Aaron Tersteeg (Intel), Chair, Brand Steering Committee
  • Brent Urbanski (Brent Urbanski Design), Program Chair – Resources Directory
  • Julie Williamson (Art Institute of Portland), Workforce Development Chair and Creative Education Representative

May 17, 2011 at 12:13 am Leave a comment

OCI Board Members Appear on Panel for “The Portlandia Effect”

Two members of OCI’s Board of Directors–Jerry Ketel and David Cress–will form half of the expert panel at Portland Ad Federation’s event called “The Portlandia Effect: Portland’s Alternative Lifestyles Growing our Economy” on March 11th.  Panelists at the event (which also includes Susan Bladholm of Greenlight Greater Portland and Roy Kaufman of the City of Portland) will discuss how the business community outside of Oregon responds to our region’s culture.

OCI’s core mission is to foster and facilitate growth for the regional creative economy and this topic is key to it: how to bring more revenue to our creative industries providers from outside the region.

For more information about the event, visit the Portland Ad Fed site.

March 11, 2011 at 1:53 am Leave a comment

Date Set for Portland Creative Conference 2011

Mark your calendar for the return of Portland’s premier creative industries networking event, the Portland Creative Conference (aka Cre8Con), happening on Saturday, September 17th.

This is the multi-disciplinary celebration of the creative process that helped put Portland on the national creative map in the 1990’s.

OCI is a proud partner of this event and we look forward to watching the progress as keynote speakers are announced.

February 2, 2011 at 12:11 am Leave a comment

Backstage Pass: a Revived Event Series from the Portland Creative Conference

In the early 2000’s the Portland Creative Conference hosted a series of events that called “Backstage Pass“.  Each of these events provided the audience with unique access to a behind-the-scenes viewpoint from a creative industries luminary.

Oregon Creative Industries is proud to announce that we are a partner in the return of the Backstage Pass series.  The first event is called “The Brave New World of Media“, featuring a panel of experts across various media.  The even happens on Wednesday, November 17th from 6:30pm – 8:30pm at the Hollywood Theatre.

Here’s a brief description:

Digital media, the Internet, games and mobile applications have opened up new channels of distribution for film and television and offer tremendous opportunities for enterprising companies. The traditional model of media production is rapidly changing and it’s more important than ever to develop plans to fully leverage film, video and interactive projects to reach audiences around the country and around the world.

Panelists include:

  • Jeff Geoffray, Blue Rider Pictures
  • Dean McBeth, Weiden+Kennedy
  • Beth Harrington, Beth Harrington Productions
  • Nando Costa, Superfad
  • Bruce Wyman, Second Story
  • Dan White, Pipeworks Software

For complete details and to register, visit the Backstage Pass Web page.

This event is presented in partnership with WebVisions, Oregon Film and the Portland Creative Conference.

October 27, 2010 at 2:33 am Leave a comment

OCI Partners on Cre8Camp PDX, the unconference for Creative Industries

We’re excited to announce that OCI is an industry partner on the next Cre8Camp, the unconference for creative industries professionals.  Cre8Camp Portland 4 takes place on Saturday, Sept. 25th from 10:00am – 3:00pm at the Art Institute of Portland.

For those who haven’t been to an unconference before, these events differ from traditional conferences because the attendees create the agenda of discussion topics for the day, anyone can lead a discussion topic and everyone participates in the discussions.

The non-profit event costs only $15 to attend and lunch is included with that price.  You can register here.

As stated in our Overview, the idea for Oregon Creative Industries came out of the first Cre8Camp, so it makes complete sense for us to support this series moving forward.

Cre8Camp is affiliated with the Portland Creative Conference. Learn more at http://www.cre8camp.org/Cre8CampPortland/

September 1, 2010 at 12:35 am Leave a comment

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