Being in the local Philadelphia area, I had already planned to attend many of the amazing DesignPhiladelphia events over the past 2 weeks, but Corian invited me to participate in a few that were not already on my list — a “Dialogues on Design” talk and the launch of their Carte Blanche exhibition in the Philadelphia Corian Design Studio.

I was thrilled to add another fun event to my list and get the chance to speak with designer Todd Bracher of Todd Bracher Studio. Get this — Todd used to head up Tom Dixon’s London-based design studio and was recently appointed Creative Director of the global luxury brand Georg Jensen. He’s a big deal. How could I pass that up along with a lovely evening hanging out with some of my favorite other design bloggers*.

We lunched and individually chatted with Todd (who will be doing a Friday Five later on this year — yay!) and then we all headed off to his talk to sit in some very unforgiving chairs. Todd is a very talkative and approachable designer with a slight “European” accent despite being a native New Yorker. He talked about his inspiration, which comes from random — yet very concrete — places such as mathematicians and natural history museums. While he discussed his process, he also showed the initial inspiration image paired with the final result. What amazed me is that you could visualize how he interpreted each image into its final result, whether it was a table, chair or lamp.

He explained that often times he is more concerned with the individual’s emotional connection or reaction to a piece rather than its actual design or function. I especially enjoyed his anecdote that a new chair he’s been working on was inspired by the way that a lobster moves in its shell — that a chair should function as an exoskeleton and move along with our bodies as we shift in our seat.

Then we headed over to the Corian Design Studio for the Carte Blanche launch. The exhibition is a collaboration with French design magazine Intramuros for their 25th anniversary.  DuPont and Intramuros invited 25 designers who have graced the cover of Intramuros magazine to create works made from an A4 sized piece of Corian Designer White. Some of the big names include Constantin Boym, Arik Levy, Todd Bracher, Mathieu Lehanneur, and Patricia Urquiola. It amazes me what can be done with this engineered material. If you’re still thinking Corian is just countertops — think again and check out some of my favorite designs below.

Moucharaby, the mass and the mesh by Philippe Delis

Carte Blanche by Patricia Urquiola and Constellation by Arik Levy

Fast vs. Furious by Mathieu Lehanneur and Table Table by Terence Woodgate

Behind the Shades by Christophe Pillet

Carte Blanche by Ineke Hans and Happy Birthday to You by Constantin Boym/Boym Partners

Fold Study by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby

Looking Forward by Stefan Diez

The Blank Page by Philippe Nigro

Physical Illusion by Todd Bracher

*Sabine of MoCo Loco, Erin of Design for Mankind, Lauren Del Vecchio of Yatzer and Capree from Grassroots Modern and MAIYA.