Altos de Chavon

Stefan Sagmeister’s Inspiring Lecture on “Why Beauty Matters” and his visit to Altos de Chavón

Stefan Sagmeister Charla Agora Mall

This post is also available in: Spanish

When the superstars of the world of art and design shine in Chavón it is truly illuminating.  This past weekend mega talent Austrian born, New York City based, Stefan Sagmeister, enlightened an audience of 300 at the Agora cinema with his take on “Why Beauty Matters”.  His words and examples ranged from architecture to painting, side stepping the ideas of human beauty as an area that is too much discussed.  He astounded us all with his passion and energy as he explained and demonstrated how the perceptions of what is beautiful are not relative, but there is beauty, which is absolute, or close, too absolute.

Stefan Sagmeister visits ChavónHis examples, as being damaging to the general sensibility, tended to be the post-modern architecture of towers and the International style that has homogenized places like airports so that they no longer reflect the country they are in.  Too bad he hadn’t seen Punta Cana, which does retain its homage to the Bohio, or indigenous ancestry of Dominican architecture. After Stefan’s talk and workshop for designers in Santo Domingo, and his tour of the new building in Santo Domingo which houses the School of Design’s departments of Communication Design, Fashion Design, and continuing education he had a chance to see the Zona Colonial, which he found fascinating and was delighted with the way it has been faithfully restored.  He stayed at a boutique, luxury hotel in the Zona, the Billini Hotel, a place whose charm Stefan really appreciated, roof top swimming pool, jazz on Saturday night with the silhouette of Santo Domingo shimmering in the purple light of dusk.

Stefan also had the opportunity to see the fashion design presentation at the Hotel Embajador in Santo Domingo that was the thesis work of last year’s fashion group at Chavón under the guidance of Marina Spadafora, the fashion department chair, and professor Katia Rios.  He celebrated the skill, inventiveness and professionalism of the student work and praised it, recognizing what the class accomplished in only 8 months. The program is a foundation year, a general overview of design, with a second year (two 4 month semesters) of fashion study from the history of fashion to the production of the garments, with illustration of fashion and patternmaking in between.  Noteworthy was the artisanal quality of much of the work, not only did they show sustainability and environmental friendliness values, but handwork made the work stand out among others.

Stefan Sagmeister

On Sunday Stefan visited Altos de Chavón, in an early morning trip from Santo Domingo, he arrived and toured the school’s Altos de Chavón facility, the gallery, the Artist in Residence studios, the classrooms, and the museum.  He was intrigued by the quirky and visually rich architecture of the landmark we call home.  In the gallery a series of blood colored, hand-drawn and painted geometric student exercises were particularly pleasing. In the early evening, about 70 students and faculty turned out for his lecture! His theme was “Happiness” and by the end of his hour and a half long talk, punctuated with amazing visual images from his 30 years as a designer, world recognized for iconoclastic, good humored, and totally sophisticated design, the audience was in a state of utter happiness.  Really this was a memorable visit for Chavón. Stefan Sagmeister is a genius in his field, he is applauded globally for his out-of-the box thinking.  We at Chavón were extremely fortunate to have had of what is now an historic moment.

Below gallery of pictures taken during Stefan Sagmeister visit to the Altos de Chavón School of Design:

Enroll Now for Chavón School of Design’s Cinematography Program!

Chavón cinematography

As of September, the Chavón School of Design has been accepting applications for their new Cinematography program that will open in February 2017 at the Altos de Chavón campus in Casa de Campo! The two year program will have a duration of 30 weeks and feature professors within the film industry and invited guest lecturers. The school welcomes Tanya Valette as the director of the program, who joins the Chavón School of Design after serving as the director of the International School of Cinema and Television in Cuba. Read more here!


Chavón Santo DomingoFounded in 1983, The Altos de Chavón School of Design offers careers in applied arts in the areas of Fine Arts, Visual Communication and Fashion. This type of intensive two-year program provides the graduates with an associate degree at a technical level, which provides them with a solid education that enables participants to compete as professionals in the field of design and arts both locally and internationally.

Graduates of the School of Design are eligible to transfer directly to Parsons School of Design in New York. More than 2,000 Dominicans and students from around the world have graduated from the School of Design, demonstrating that a solid background in design, parallel to an emphasis on the development of the industry is the best formula for a successful career.

The highly practical and market-oriented curriculum, provides students with a unique set of skills that allows them to be easily inserted into the work environment.

Tel.: 809-563-2802; 809-563-2702

Email:[email protected][email protected]


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