Marathon Clambake

Clambake logo 2016

Part of the DESIGN WEEK RI Speaker Series is Marathon Clambake, featuring presentations from four RI designers.

Clambake is DESIGNxRI’s monthly gathering for design in Rhode Island. While there are no actual clams, Clambake stews the pot of designers, design enthusiasts, and those interested in design. Gather to hear about RI designers’ process, challenges, career growth and successes - have a drink - meet friends new and old - and get inspired.

These events are being recorded and photographed. By attending, you give your consent to be photographed, filmed, taped, and/or recorded.


Asher Dunn

Asher Dunn, Studio DUNN, has received numerous international, national, and local honors recognizing both his work and his ongoing contributions to the design field, including ‘Best New Designer’ at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (2010), New England Home’s ‘5 Under 40’ accomplished in design and architecture, Vogue’s ‘Ten Contemporary Designers to Collect Today,’ and Forbes’s ‘30 Under 30.’ His work has appeared in Dwell, New England Home, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Luxe, and American Craft, as well as many other publications. Asher was recognized as an Emerging Designer and inducted into the Rhode Island Design Hall of Fame by DESIGNxRI, in no small part owing to his continued dedication to the local arts community in the Ocean State. Asher further commits himself to the design field through various instructional roles, including courses in design and entrepreneurship at RISD and the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, Maine.

Kristine Merz

Kristine has a passion (some might say obsession) with helping clients create clarity, define their purpose, and determine a clear path forward. As an entrepreneur and founder of Orange Square, she is on a mission to make marketing meaningful by using proven tools and processes that extract organizational expertise to create clarity and focus. She believes in defining value from a customer point of view and the power of design and visualization to create shared meaning. With a passion and focus on healthcare and education, Orange Square focuses on building business value by creating and managing integrated brand experiences across all touchpoints. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Kristine is always looking for clients with complex problems who are driven by purpose to partner and grow with.

Matthew Bird

Matthew Bird has spent the past 25 years working in different parts of the art, design and gift professions. Trained as an industrial designer and metalsmith, he designs products that are distributed to gift stores, museum stores, galleries and catalogues throughout the US and overseas. He regularly participates in trade- and craft-show juries and is a frequent guest critic and lecturer at various schools and universities. He has developed and managed multiple retail environments and participated as a designer and buyer for several others. First as an exhibitor, then as a marketing consultant and later as a buyer, Bird has attended hundreds of wholesale and retail trade shows, bringing him in contact with a wide range of manufacturers, designers and consumers. Knowledge of contemporary product design and familiarity with manufacturing techniques got Bird involved as an expert witness in copyright infringement cases. He frequently designs and manufactures custom wares for a wide variety of institutions (including RISD, for which he designed the popular RISD tote bag, umbrella, multiple keyrings and even a school tie). His passion for history has led him more recently to focus on design projects for museums. He continues to claim his only true expertise to be song lyrics from the 1930s.

Nicholas Benson

MacArthur Fellow Nicholas Benson leads The John Stevens Shop, which designs and executes one-of-a-kind inscriptions in stone. Architectural and memorial lettering is generated by hand with a broad edged brush and carved into stone by hand. Benson studied drawing and design at SUNY Purchase, and typeography at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Basel, Switzerland under Andre Gurler, Christian Mengelt, and Armin Hofmann.

Nicholas’s work includes theinscritpions for the National World War II Memorial and the National Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington DC,the Louis I. Kahn Four Freedoms Park in New York City, and the inscriptions for Maya Lin’s The Meeting Room installation in Newport.

He has been awarded an NEA National Heritage Fellowship, a MacArthur Fellowship, Artist-in-Residnency at the Yale University Art Gallery.