In our last podcast of 2020, Elayne DeLeo spoke with multidisciplinary designer and researcher Victoria Ayo. They discuss why designers need to create with intention for greater equity, and her research on maternal mortality in the United States and how it disproportionately affects black women across all socioeconomic levels. This research led her to create the pregnancy care app Kindred that provides doula-informed care and support for a fully supportive pregnancy experience available to all mothers.
Victoria is a multidisciplinary designer and researcher based out of New York City. She is native New Yorker with roots in Georgia and a passion for great food! She studied Digital Media at the Georgia Institute of Technology before returning to New York to work as an Experience Design Consultant designing for Bulge Bracket Investment banks, Supermarkets, Agencies and more.
She recently completed her MFA in Products of Design at the School of Visual Arts where she explored the ways design could be used to create more equitable maternal healthcare for black women.
She is currently designing listening experiences at Spotify.
Elayne DeLeo spoke with Catherine Clark, architect and President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)-USA and former Chair of the New York Chapter of the RIBA-USA. They discuss how architects must take the lead in addressing climate change (and pandemics) through the built environment, her mission and plans for expanding RIBAs role and membership in the US, how identity influences how young architects view joining industry organizations like RIBA and AIA, and why now is the best time for architects to experiment and create buildings that inspire and uplift the spirit.
Catherine has lived and worked as an architect in NY for over 15 years and is the Director of BArC Studio. Her work has been featured in RIBA Journal, Building Design as well as the books Design Brooklyn - an overview of the best architectural and design projects across the borough and The Culture of Practice, which is a snapshot of architectural practice culture from around the world. BArC Studio's design for a Brooklyn restaurant was distilled into an icon for the critic’s review in the New Yorker Magazine. Her experience ranges from master-planning in Hampshire, UK to leading the design of New York’s first ‘Green School’. Catherine studied at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL and is an examiner for the RIBA Part 3 exams.
Elayne DeLeo spoke to Carla Swickerath, Partner at Studio Libeskind about the rewards of working closely with government, 9/11 families and businesses on Libeskind's World Trade Center Master Plan, how COVID-19 has laid bare the inequities of our communities and the importance of having designers contribute to big solutions, and some advice for architecture grads coming into an uncertain future. www.libeskind.com
Dr. Pierce Gordon—An innovation catalyst, researcher, facilitator, and evaluator. He specializes in interdisciplinary research that unpacks how communities value, support, and practice innovation in social justice and international development. His research and consultation work has worked to track and support the field's spread, complexity, and emergence. Whether conducting ethnographic analyses and facilitation projects in the Botswana innovation ecosystem, or by co-founding Reflex Design Collective, an equity design consultancy that's worked for creative social justice in the Bay Area, his core aim is to critically catalyze good social change.
Elayne DeLeo spoke to Dr. Gordon about the differences between innovation and design, the history and hidden perceptions behind wearing masks, how design is a political act, how oppressed and underserved communities have been creating their own design solutions for thousands of years, and why he believes the alien in the 2018 film "Annihilation" is a metaphor for design. www.piercegordon1.com
Jonas Pettersson—CEO of the award winning design firm Form Us With Love, spoke with Elayne DeLeo about the collaborative process between their design team and the brands they work with, why sustainability and designing for a better world is key to their success, and how the name Form Us With Love started as a joke, but has become their raison d'etre. www.formuswithlove.se
Atlanta commercial real estate broker and cultural developer Gene Kansas joins MA!'s Elayne DeLeo for a conversation on how his childhood in the gumbo of New Orleans inspired his love of storytelling, his work to save the historic Atlanta Daily World Building in Sweet Auburn, and the responsibility of developers and humankind to create "affordable everything".
In his 20+ years in Atlanta commercial real estate — and inspired by a colorful, deep-fried, parade-filled, culturally rich upbringing in New Orleans, LA — Gene Kansas has garnered a reputation as a champion of historic preservation, adaptive reuse, community building, and storytelling through the built environment. Each Gene Kansas project aims to blend an appreciation of culture and history with creative, responsible, and vital refashioning that brings new relevance to space and how it is used by clients, neighborhoods, and the city.
Chris Hardy is an American industrial designer based in Atlanta. Born in Houston in 1984, he pursued an education of design, receiving a BFA in Industrial Design from the College for Creative Studies and a Masters of Design from the School of Design at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. After returning to the United States in 2009, he began his career as a freelance designer collaborating with furniture and lighting manufacturers as well as interior design firms.
His work has been exhibited at Salone de Mobile in Milan, Frankfurt Light + Building, Neocon in Chicago, Wanted Design during New York Design Week and Montreal’s SIDIM. He has been featured in design publications including: Metropolis, Dwell, Wallpaper, Surface, Architectural Digest, Interior Design, Frame, Hospitality Design, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
Photo credit Kevin Adams