The Rowena Reed Kostellow Fund


26 Feb 2018

John Cafaro, Executive Director of Global Chevrolet Design, and Cole Haan Designer Ariana Zarillo Receive Rowena Reed Kostellow Award

(left to right) Ariana Zarillo, Frances Bronet, Sam Cotton, John Cafaro

“The only car that mattered to me as a kid was the Corvette,” John Cafaro once said.

22 years old, right out of Pratt, he joined GM Design in 1977. During ten years as GM’s full size truck chief designer, responsible for Chevrolet, GMC, and Cadillac (the profit center for the company). He says he had to “draw on every ounce of learning’s from my time at Pratt, mostly my willingness to never compromise on the importance of design”.

This year's trophy is one of the best examples of a student 3D exercise, created by Sam Cotton with his teacher, Kate Hixon.

Fulfilling his dream, he became Chief designer of the Corvette and Camaro from 1986 to 1999. In 2002 he was inducted into the Corvette Hall of Fame and his designs were Motor Trend’s Car of the Year. He is now Executive Director of Global Chevrolet Design “combining all the disciplines of design taught at Pratt… but most importantly 3D design of which Pratt has no equal. Gulotta, Fogler and Okuda, who all taught key classes along with Rowena, had a profound impact on all of us for sure.”

John was by Susan Skarsgard, Manager of the GM Design Archive & Special Collections.

Young Designer Award: Ariana Zarillo

Ariana studied the principles of 3D design with Linda Celentano, Karen Stone, Scott Vandervoort, Kate Hixon, Martin Skalski, and Pamela Waters. Since graduation in 2013, she has been applying those skills designing footwear at Cole Haan. Her passion for beauty has led her to a variety of consulting and design-and-build projects, including the interior millwork for the Nalata/Nalata flagship store in SoHo, custom furniture pieces, developing consumer accessories, and renovating a 1911 building on Staten Island.

John Cafaro and Ariana Zarillo join 22 other champions of the Abstract Principles of Visual Relationships who have received the award, including: Gina Caspi, Ivan Rigby, Eva Zeisel, Gerald Gulotta, William Fogler, Eugene Grossman, Ralph Appelbaum, James Fulton, Louis Nelson, Judy Collins, Bruce Hannah, Ted Muehling, Lucia N. DeRespinis, Tom Patti, Leonard Bacich, Bill Katavolos, Charles Pollock, Ruth Shuman, RitaSue Siegel, Linda Celentano, Dr. Thomas Schutte and Cindy Juette (our first Young Designer award).

Since 1997 the Fund has awarded thousands of dollars in cash and scholarships encouraging students’ commitment to excellence.

About the RRK Fund

The Rowena Reed Kostellow Fund at Pratt Institute was organized after her death in 1988 to continue her teachings by supporting scholarships, publishing and programs. Rowena, with her husband Alexander Kostellow and Donald Dohner, created Pratt's Industrial Design program merging form, function, and industry. Their objective was to develop an education system based on analysis of abstract visual relationships that would be valid for all forms of visual expression, including architecture, product design, graphic design, and fine art.

The program flourished and became the foundation of many courses and ID programs around the world. For over 50 years, Rowena taught three-dimensional design at Pratt, where she told her students “If you can't make it more beautiful, what's the point?”

Learn more about Rowena, her teaching methodology, and Pratt Institute in Gail Hannah's book, Elements of Design: The Structure of Visual Relationships, published by Princeton Architectural Press.