Product Design on show at Otis CollegeWhen my young daughter is very excited about something planned for later in the day like a sleepover or going swimming, she will say, “today will be the best day of my life!”

If you are a design junkie, this could the “best weekend of your life.” On Friday, Otis College of Art and Design will open its doors to visitors for its end -of-year show of graphic design, fashion, illustration, toy design and more by senior students. Based on the quality of last year’s show, this is a must-see.

Also Friday, LA’s decorators gather for two days in the showrooms of their capital, West Hollywood, for Legends of La Cienega Celebrate Hollywood, two days of discussion and decor loosely related to the theme of the movie industry. You can get to hear from luminaries of the profession on a range of panels; I’ll be on one Friday at Szalon, discussing the juicy topic of LA Modernism: From Social-ist to Social-Must, with moderator Amanda Dameron, of Dwell magazine, and fellow guests, Weho’s Urban Designer John Chase and Bravo’s Mason Hildebrand, both of whom are guaranteed to be highly entertaining.

Also starting Friday is  Altbuild, AKA the Alternative Building Materials and Design Expo, an annual showcase of products and panels relating to green design that was originally launched when building in harmony with nature was still an “alternative” concept.

This year, the two-day show is at Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, and what sets it apart from the now multiple  green consumer (oxymoron?) shows is that in addition to the suppliers of recycled and non-toxic materials you will also find many experts on the down and dirty side of sustainability: waste management, sewage, water conservation. As the Gulf oil spill reminds us, dealing with our own mess is possibly the biggest design challenge we face.

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