What can an architect do with a doghouse? Quite a lot.
The best-in-show winner of the inaugural Barkitecture Doghouse Competition “actually harvested rainwater off the roof,” said Jeff Tuft, a Salt Lake City architect and one of the contest organizers. “It also had a wall that opened up, to make it an indoor/outdoor space. And the wall was made from beer cans, so it had kind of a passive heating element.”
This year’s entries will be on display Saturday in Salt Lake City’s Liberty Park during Strut Your Mutt, the Best Friends Animal Society’s annual walk and fundraiser. The doghouse challenge is part of Salt Lake Design Week, an annual celebration with panels, workshops and other friendly competitions coordinated by the Salt Lake City chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts. Here are three ways for the public to join in this weekend:
Barktastic Doghouse Competition
There will be three rounds of doghouse voting in Liberty Park Saturday: A jury will select the best in show, human visitors will vote on the People’s Choice Award, and four-legged experts will pick a Dogs’ Choice Award.
The last honor is “a subjective vote based on what most dogs gravitate towards,” Tuft said. The last winner had a roof made of artificial turf — onto which the big dogs all wanted to jump. It beat out a competitor made entirely out of tennis balls.
The houses will be on display starting at 10 a.m., and the award winners will be announced at 2 p.m.
The houses will be sold in a silent auction to benefit Best Friends Animal Society of Utah. Attending Strut Your Mutt is free; participating in the walk requires registration and a $20 fee for anyone age 13 and up.
The doghouse design competition is held every other year, and this year’s contest is the second time architects are invited to scale down their skills to a smaller size. It’s “an opportunity to get into a population that isn’t real familiar with what architects do,” Tuft said.
Utah Design Exhibit
Furniture, whether traditional or modern, is a combination of engineering and interior design, said Chris Proctor, director of the Utah Design Exhibit. The free gallery show will highlight furniture and design at Trolley Square on Saturday and Sunday.
“The engineering is in the design of a specific piece, and how it conforms to human bodies,” Proctor said.
A great design can only go so far, he said, if the materials aren’t up to snuff or wood is cut at the wrong grain. “Some well-designed furniture may only last a few years, while a well-designed table can last a couple hundred years,” he said.
Twenty exhibitors — plus 10 competitors in a chair-design contest vying for a $1,000 cash prize — will display their works at the exhibit. Most are from Utah, though five have been invited from out of state: one from Louisville, Ky., another from Colorado, and three from the Krenov School of Fine Furniture in Fort Bragg, Calif.
The exhibit will be in the northwest building of Trolley Square at 500 North and 600 West, Salt Lake City. Tickets are $15 for Friday’s opening-night gala from 4 to 10 p.m., which will include refreshments, live music and a cash bar. The exhibit will be free to the public Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The line between art and design can be a fuzzy one, and it’s one that the exhibitors in the Misplaced Showcase cross freely.
The exhibit is “an eclectic gathering of high-end creative works,” said Lucas Ackley, founder and director of the showcase, marking its second year. “Basically, we wanted to have an event to help build community here in Salt Lake City.”
The event runs Saturday from 2 to 8 p.m. at 244 S. Edison St. (about half a block east of State Street), in downtown Salt Lake City. It’s free, and a fundraiser for the Children’s Justice Center.
About a dozen artists will have tables in the showcase’s market section, most of them selling 2-D prints of their artwork. A minibus carrying several old-style arcade video games — some classics, some custom programmed — will be parked outside, next to the food trucks.
Sibling artists Camille and Spencer Nugent are mounting an art installation featuring a butcher-block table. The table is intended to evoke the atmosphere of a kitchen, always the most popular spot in any house party.
The installation, Ackley said, centers on “the idea of putting away your smart devices and getting to know and interact with people.” The best design is invisible, he said. “If everything’s working the way it’s supposed to, you shouldn’t even notice it.”