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your memories

Peter Barna

M.I.D. '83; Provost

I took two courses with John Pile — Design Concepts, and History of Industrial Design.

What I remember most was his incredibly wry wit. History classes can sometimes be dry, but he delivered the information in a low-key, humorous way.

As students, I remember we would invite Professor Pile to get together with a group of us and talk about current trends and topics and get his perspective on where things in the field were headed. I remember one such session, when Postmodernism was just coming onto the scene and we wanted to talk to him about where he saw it fit in. John Pile’s knowledge of interior design was encyclopedic, but he never tried to be a philosopher. He allowed for different perspectives.

As a designer, the lesson he taught that stays with me is that the objects we design are reflections of our present culture. The things we need reflect a set of values. This is something I remind myself of when I am working on a project for a client.

When John Pile received the Distinguished Teacher award in 1998—in keeping with his dry wit—he simply listed all the presidents and provosts and deans he had worked with at Pratt. On the one hand, it was hilarious: There were so many names. But it also made me realize what a pillar he was of Pratt. He was here through all this change and transformation, and the whole time he was here teaching, doing what he does.

Michael Lopez

MArch '97

The staircase to the 5th floor graduate architecture studio, a flurry of activity.

Michael Lopez
Michael Lopez

Arleen Levine

Art Therapy '83

My Pratt memory took place in Jefferson New Hampshire, the site of my Pratt off campus graduate program - a masters degree in Art Therapy.  The campus was
lawns and mountains and the classes were held in a rambling old homestead which housed the students as well.  We were being taught all day and evening, with time out to see the Northern Lights at night, and to watch the small town Fourth of July Parade (there were cows in it).  Art Robbins, the program’s director and creator, was a vigorous and inventive teacher, and I loved the program.

Lucia DeRespinis

B.I.D. '52; adjunct professor, Department of Industrial Design

Eva Zeisel taught me that how an object feels is as important as how it looks. Industrial design isn’t just what you see: It’s what you feel. She always said: “Take the time to think about how your other senses are involved with your design.” Eva Zeisel’s genius really was that her thoughts and her hands worked so well together.

Eva also taught us to be patient and to understand that industrial design is about making beautiful things that will be duplicated and used.

I remember that she would spend much time touching and looking at each individual student’s work and analyzing it from her point of view, which was that each design should speak to you in a certain way. She was very good at working with students.

I also remember that Eva and another student, Tom Baroth, would speak Hungarian in class and on occasion, laugh. We all wanted to be let in on the joke, but it usually didn’t translate very well.

I still have the teapot that I designed in her class. It was supposed to be for a restaurant, but when I designed it I forgot that one could pour with either hand. So it wasn’t completely successful. I have since gone on to design much restaurant tableware, and have never forgotten that pieces must be designed for use by people who are either right or left handed.

Diana Sorkin

BFA Communication Design 90

There’s always a teacher who stands out in your mind long after you’ve graduated. For me it was Charles Goslin. I know, some students of his may find it shocking or at least strange. He was as tough as they get. You either loved or hated him. He had a piercing way with words but always on the money. He had a nickname for everyone and he named them as he saw them. Even though he was the most challenging professor, I cherish everything he has taught me. He was the master of visual communication at its essence. I’ve learned the most from him about conceptual process and design. These skills helped me design many of my award winning projects.  I was sad to find out that he passed away,recently.  I often recall his comments when I work on my designs.

Diana Sorkin Diana Sorkin Diana Sorkin
Diana Sorkin
Diana Sorkin
Diana Sorkin

Kristen L’Esperance

M.S. Interior Architecture '09

Spring Cherry Blossoms,through wild eyes,at 6 am, after several sleepless nights,appear to be covered in white glue. Everything does actually…

Elizabeth Mero

B.F.A photography '94

The smell of my darkroom in the Arc Building. Also Sandy the photography department manager.

Ann Eckmann

granddaughter of Douglas G. Stewart, graduate of the chemistry department circa 1916

I have a small scrapbook that my grandfather made featuring his buddies and their times at Pratt.  He was in the chemistry department graduating circa 1916.  The photos are small and old but may be of interest for your history project.  I was searching your website to find out if I might donate the scrapbook to Pratt - finding this I wonder if the photos may be of interest for your project.  I would like to mail the scrapbook to you.

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email us your story

If you would prefer to submit a memory from your time at Pratt via email, you may do so here. Please note that all submissions will be reviewed by the Pratt 125th Anniversary editorial team for possible inclusion in Institute publications and in the installation titled Recall by artist Jean Shin.

Recall: Jean Shin JEAN SHIN: RECALL

Join acclaimed artist, alumna, and faculty member Jean Shin in creating a major public art project on Pratt’s Brooklyn campus. To learn more and participate, visit the Recall project site.