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Design Is Two: Artist Michele Oka Doner on the Vignelli’s Legacy

09.16.21 | By
Design Is Two: Artist Michele Oka Doner on the Vignelli’s Legacy
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We are pleased to share our first rebroadcast of the fall 2021 The Vignelli Center for Design StudiesDesign Conversations Lecture Series with artist Michele Oka Doner, an internationally renowned artist whose artistic production includes sculpture, jewelry, public art, functional objects, videos, artist books and costume and set design. This lecture is presented with the support of RIT’s MAGIC Center. In the video, Michele recounts her experiences working with Massimo and Lella Vignelli over the years, and shares personal anecdotes and stories about their lives. Watch:

If you liked this lecture, please stay tuned for two more that we will be rebroadcasting for the rest of the year. Revisit previous lectures here.

About Michele Oka Doner:

Oka Doner’s work is fueled by a lifelong study and appreciation of the natural world from which she derives her formal vocabulary. The breadth of her artistic production encompasses sculpture, jewelry, public art, functional objects, video, artist books, and costume and set design. She is well known for creating numerous permanent art installations throughout the United States, including “Flight” at Regan International Airport, “Radiant Site” at the Herald Square MTA station, New York City, and the 1 1/4-mile long bronze and terrazzo concourse, “A Walk on the Beach,” seen by 40 million travelers a year at Miami International Airport.

Oka Doner’s work is found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, Musée des Arts Décoratifs (the Louvre), the Victoria & Albert, University of Michigan, Yale and Harvard University museums, and The Detroit Institute of Arts, among others. She has created collections for Steuben Glass, Christofle and Nymphenburg as well as store design for Tiffany and Saks. Oka Doner has received numerous awards, including those given by United Nations Society of Writers and Artists, Pratt Institute, New York State Council of the Arts, and the Knight Foundation. In 2016, she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Michigan, where she earned her undergraduate and MFA degrees. Oka Doner is the author or subject of numerous books, including Miami Beach Blueprint of an Eden, Intuitive Alphabet, and Everything is Alive.

To learn more about The Vignelli Center for Design Studies at RIT, they have launched digital access to the archives through Google Arts & Culture, joining over 2000 cultural institutions from around the world. The initial launch includes nearly 900 high resolution images of artifacts from the archives so that now anyone with access to the Internet and Google Arts & Culture can search the Vignelli archives or browse it by color or chronological order. Very exciting!


This lecture series is made possible in part by the generosity of RIT Alumnus, Chris Bailey and Bailey Brand Consulting.

Jaime Derringer, Founder + Executive Editor of Design Milk, is a Jersey girl living in SoCal. She dreams about funky, artistic jewelry + having enough free time to enjoy some of her favorite things—running, reading, making music, and drawing.