Westport Public Library Hosts The Makers Forum: Designers Under 30

The Westport Public Library held an event geared towards high school students interested in pursuing careers in design on Saturday, May 4. The Makers Forum: Designers Under 30 included four young professional designers who spoke of their success in a specific field and how they first became interested in such careers.

Joan Hume, Community Relations Director at the Westport Library, explained that the library was hoping to showcase the young designers’ unique careers and abilities.

“The library is always looking to bring new ideas to the community, and also offer a forum for people to demonstrate those ideas and talents,” she said.

The forum was presented by Nicholas Fjellberg Swerdlowe, an industrial designer and Wilton native. Swerdlowe spoke about deciding to attend Savannah College of Art and Design where he focused on Service Design and Sustainability. His design , “The Sense Space”, a play area designed to stimulate the senses of those born with sensory integration disorders, won The International Design Sense Competition in 2011.

Hume said that Swerdlowe conceptualized the event.

“Nicholas Swerdlowe came to the Library one day with his idea.  We worked with him for several months on how the event would work best.  He contacted all of the speakers and made it happen,” Hume said.

Another young designer who spoke at the event was Annabel P. Armstrong, also a graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design, who focused on fashion design. Armstrong spoke about her experience working at Diane Von Furstenberg’s company and also about her own line, The Mudroom Closet.

Jessica Spector ’15 found inspiration in Armstrong’s presentation.

“I learned a lot about what it would be like to go to and graduate from an art school and what colleges ask from you. I think I related most to Annabel because fashion design is something that I am interested in pursuing in college,” Spector said.

Spector explained that she left with a new outlook and feeling more informed.

“I really enjoyed hearing about what all the speakers had to say and I found it very helpful,” she said.

Others who spoke at the event included Chandler Noah, an interior designer who also attended Savannah College of Art and Design, and Westport native and Staples graduate Ben Bangser, an industrial designer who graduated from Staples and Syracuse.