Official UnBeige Radical Craft Roundup

You can read full coverage of Art Center’s design conference here, but here are a few uncategorizable highlights from our three days in Pasadena:

Best sponsored meal
: Immediately following The Sir Isaac Show, Target transformed the hospitality tent into a pink-lit, floral-covered, Sinatra-spinning wonderland, with black-and-white checked vinyl bags for all.

Best idea: Bringing the terribly talented and pixie-perfect singer-songwriter Tift Merritt onstage to woo the crowd from their after-lunch lull each day.

Best gift bag item: A 209-piece Highway Haulers Lego set.

Best new friend: Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales pinged us when we were the only two users logged on to Bonjour/iChat, and invited us to lunch.

Best moment: When Bob Mankoff presented the finalists for the create-a-caption New Yorker cartoon contest (with an image especially selected for the conference), each punchline united the audience like the best four design-insider jokes we’ve been waiting our whole lives to hear.

Best spotting: William Drenttel, Jessica Helfand and Lorraine Wild, across town, at a different party, Saturday night.

Best speaker accessory
: Constance Adams’ bright red sneakers with her classy grey suit showed that the space architect carries over her personality-meets-functionality mission to every aspect of her life.

Best party: We hear, 3am Friday night at the Ritz-Carlton bar.

Best Hockenberry quip: “I was trying to figure out why I felt so comfortable up here, but then I realized–all the chairs in this room have wheels on them!” (John Hockenberry, the conference moderator, uses a wheelchair; the seats in the room were 650 Steelcase Think chairs.)

Best overheard quote: “Did you go to TED this year?”

Best immortalization of an UnBeige writer
: Jeff Decoster captured us pecking away for the conference sketchwall. Can’t say we weren’t an easy target since, like we said, many times we were the only laptop light in the sea of Steelcase-blackness.