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Profile: Design Indaba Speaker

Online since 9.03.2018 • Filed under Professions - Interior Design • From Issue 23 page(s) 48
Profile: Design Indaba Speaker

Having taken place in the third week of February 2018, the Design Indaba will be something of the past by the time that this edition of To Build Edition is printed. However, it is worth mentioning that once again the calibre of speakers at the event was excellent, despite the negative publicity that South Africa has received of late. For the enjoyment of readers, herewith a short profile on one of the fascinating speakers, who is both an architect and a designer at MIT.


Architect and designer Neri Oxman is the Sony Corporation Career Development Professor and Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the MIT Media Lab where she founded and directs the Mediated Matter research group. Her team conducts research at the intersection of computational design, digital fabrication, materials science and synthetic biology, and applies that knowledge to design across disciplines and scales - from the micro scale to the building scale. She got her PhD in Design Computation as a Presidential Fellow at MIT. Prior to MIT, she received a Diploma from the Architectural Association (RIBA 2) after attending the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning at the Technikon Israel Institute of Technology (Hons.), and the Department of Medical Sciences at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Oxman’s goal is to enhance the relationship between built, natural and biological environments by employing design principles inspired and engineered by nature and implementing them in the invention of novel design technologies. Areas of application include architectural design, product design, fashion design, as well as the design of new technologies for digital fabrication and construction. She coined the term, and pioneered the research area, of Material Ecology, which considers computation, fabrication and the material itself as inseparable dimensions of design. In this approach, products and buildings are biologically informed and digitally engineered for, with, and by nature. Oxman’s work is included in permanent collections at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), Centre Georges Pompidou, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, the FRAC and the Boston Museum of Science, among other museums and prestigious private collections.


Since 2005, Oxman and her team have won numerous awards and have grown in international scope and acclaim at venues such as the World Economic Forum and the White House. Among Oxman’s awards are a Graham Foundation Carter Manny award (2008), the International Earth Awards for Future-Crucial Design (2008), a Metropolis Next Generation award (2009), a 40 Under 40 Building Design+Construction award (2012), the BSA Women in Design award (2014), the Vilcek Prize in Design (2014), an Emerging Voices award from the Architectural League of New York (2015), and the Innovation by Design Award from Fast Company (2015).

In 2009, Oxman was chosen as one of ICON’s ‘top most influential designers and architects to shape our future’ and ESQUIRE’S ‘best and brightest’. The following year, Fast Company picked her among its ‘most creative people’ and one of the ‘10 most creative women in business’. In 2014, Oxman was named Carnegie’s Pride of America. A year later, ROADS Publishing picked her among its ‘100 Global Minds: The Most Daring Cross-Disciplinary Thinkers in the World’, and in 2016, she was named a Cultural Leader at the World Economic Forum.


Design Indaba


Issue 23

Issue 23

March 2018

This article was featured on page 48 of
To Build Magazine Issue 23.

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