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Charlie Cannon    

Architect & Designer; Head of Industrial Design Department at the Rhode Island School of Design

As an architect and designer, Charlie Cannon solves problems. But for Cannon, who is as concerned with what design does as he is with how it looks, the big problems aren’t about bricks and mortar. Whether he’s designing a new coffee house or helping a community make informed choices about alternative energy, Cannon seeks to understand how people interact with their environment and use design to build stronger, more sustainable communities.

During more than 15 years of practice, Cannon’s work has focused on how design supports and sustains companies, schools, neighborhoods, or in some cases, entire ecosystems. Through his work at LOCAL Architecture Research and Design, which he co-founded in 2005, Cannon applies his skill as an architect and background in anthropology to rethink the design of buildings, information systems, objects and experiences.

"I have come to think of what LOCAL does as a kind of urban acupuncture," he says. "We try to catalyze broad improvements within the communities in which we work by aligning organizational objectives with designed structures, both physical and virtual.” In this approach to problem solving, design isn’t icing on the cake, it’s an integral ingredient in creating the places and experiences that define a community landscape.

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