Neri Oxman

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Award-winning Architect, Designer and Inventor; Pioneer of the Field of Material Ecology; Leading Authority on “Hacking” Nature for the Purposes of Speculative and Practical Design; Founder, Mediated Matter Research Group; Professor, MIT Media Lab

Biography

Technology once gave humanity the illusion of being severed from nature: the industrial age, culminating with the assembly line, convinced us that designing structures and products was about piecing together artificial parts. Award-winning architect, designer and MIT professor Neri Oxman says thanks to four new technologies – computational design, additive manufacturing, materials engineering and synthetic biology – we can now imagine nature and human design as one in the same, an emerging state which Oxman calls the “Age of Entanglement.” As she eloquently explains in her acclaimed TED Talk which has garnered more than 2 million views, we can make the revolutionary transition from nature-inspired design to design-inspired nature. Through this framework, designers in every industry from consumer goods and apparel to architecture and construction are given a new lens through which to see – and create – a radically different future.

A powerful, engaging and charismatic speaker, Oxman alters her audiences’ perception about the nature of our universe and reveals how to harness these new insights for design purposes. Oxman, a self-described “design activist,” is the pioneer of Material Ecology, which considers computation, fabrication and the material itself as inseparable dimensions of design. In this approach, products and buildings are biologically formed and digitally engineered by, with and for nature. Oxman’s MIT design team has successfully “hacked” nature itself to create numerous products ranging from clothing to substitutes for plastic. To illustrate how she approaches her groundbreaking work, Oxman uses a modified version of the “Krebs Cycle” – what she calls the “Cycle of Creativity.” Oxman and her team work within the four quadrants of art, science, design and engineering to holistically join these disciplines – falsely believed to be separate – in the search for new perceptions about how to design products and processes. In doing so, Oxman does not tear down barriers but reveals to us all that those barriers never truly existed. Her groundbreaking work puts designers back in touch with the reality that we are all part of a living, breathing whole.

The Sony Corporation Career Development Professor and associate professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the MIT Media Lab, Oxman’s work has been documented in more than 150 scientific publications and inventions. Her work has also been presented at the White House and the World Economic Forum, and is in the permanent collections of MoMA, SFMOMA, Pompidou, MFA, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, the FRAC and the Museum of Science, amongst others. Her innovative projects include the Silk Pavilion (a robotically spun, biologically augmented structure); the Synthetic Apiary (a “perpetual spring” environment for bees); a glass 3D printer; and 3D printed fluidic clothing for synthetic microorganisms.

Oxman received her PhD in design computation as a Presidential Fellow at MIT. Prior to MIT she earned a diploma from the Architectural Association (RIBA 2 with Distinction) after attending the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology (Hons), and the Department of Medical Sciences at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Neri Oxman is available for paid speaking engagements, including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, and conference talks, through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Videos

Books & Research

Media

Can We Design Our Way Out of the Climate Crisis?

November 11, 2019

de zeen magazine logo

Mediated Matter Group Designs Robotically Fabricated Structure Using Organic Matter

October 17, 2019

de zeen magazine logo

Neri Oxman and Olafur Eliasson Feature in Second Series of Netflix Design Documentary

September 20, 2019

Neri Oxman Has All the Answers

August 9, 2019

The Year of Neri Oxman Is (Pretty Much) Upon Us

July 24, 2019

Neri Oxman to Get Solo Show at MoMa

June 28, 2019

Mediated Matter Group's Melanin Research Results in Proposal for Responsive Glass Pavillion

April 15, 2019

MIT Lab Creates Sculptural Pavilion Made With Dissolvable Panels

April 15, 2019

MIT researchers are now 3D-printing glass

December 31, 2018

Meet Neri Oxman: Professor and Architect Whose 3D Designes Attracted the Attention of Brad Pitt and Bjork

October 12, 2018

Neri Oxman's Fiberbots Autonomously Build Human-Scale Structures

October 9, 2018

Who Is Neri Oxman

October 6, 2018

3D Printing and Swarm Robotics Merge in Neri Oxman's Firebots

October 3, 2018

Neri Oxman: Shake Off Your Labels and You'll Unlock the True Power of Creative Thinking

September 14, 2018

How Neri Oxman Reimagined Design

September 7, 2018

16 Women Breaking New Ground in Architecture

August 21, 2018

Forbes logo

Mover Over Pixels, Scientists Are 3D Printing With 'Voxels' and the Results Are Breathtaking

June 15, 2018

Data You Can Hold In Your Hand - Or Put On the Mantlepiece

May 31, 2018

Neri Oxman and MIT Develop Digitally Produced Water-Based Renewable Material

May 14, 2018

Forbes logo

How Directed Iteration Brings Order to Creative Idea Generation

May 1, 2018

CNN logo

Neri Oxman: Breaking Boundaries in a Male-Dominated World

April 18, 2018

At Milan Design Week 2017, a Very Brilliant Woman Explains the Future of Architecture

April 6, 2017

Neri Oxman is Redesigning the Natural World

June 7, 2016

Neri Oxman + Mediated Matter Create Synthetic Apiary to Combat Honeybee Colony Loss

October 5, 2016

Wired logo

Under the Skin of MIT's Magical Mask Maker Neri Oxman

September 9, 2016

Age of Entanglement

January 13, 2016

Intro Video

Video ThumbnailDesigner and architect Neri Oxman is leading the search for ways in which digital fabrication technologies can interact with the biological world. Working at the intersection of computational design, additive manufacturing, materials engineering and synthetic biology, her lab is pioneering a new age of symbiosis between microorganisms, our bodies, our products and even our buildings.

A-Z Name

Oxman, Neri

Biography

Technology once gave humanity the illusion of being severed from nature: the industrial age, culminating with the assembly line, convinced us that designing structures and products was about piecing together artificial parts. Award-winning architect, designer and MIT professor Neri Oxman says thanks to four new technologies – computational design, additive manufacturing, materials engineering and synthetic biology – we can now imagine nature and human design as one in the same, an emerging state which Oxman calls the “Age of Entanglement.” As she eloquently explains in her acclaimed TED Talk which has garnered more than 2 million views, we can make the revolutionary transition from nature-inspired design to design-inspired nature. Through this framework, designers in every industry from consumer goods and apparel to architecture and construction are given a new lens through which to see – and create – a radically different future.

A powerful, engaging and charismatic speaker, Oxman alters her audiences’ perception about the nature of our universe and reveals how to harness these new insights for design purposes. Oxman, a self-described “design activist,” is the pioneer of Material Ecology, which considers computation, fabrication and the material itself as inseparable dimensions of design. In this approach, products and buildings are biologically formed and digitally engineered by, with and for nature. Oxman’s MIT design team has successfully “hacked” nature itself to create numerous products ranging from clothing to substitutes for plastic. To illustrate how she approaches her groundbreaking work, Oxman uses a modified version of the “Krebs Cycle” – what she calls the “Cycle of Creativity.” Oxman and her team work within the four quadrants of art, science, design and engineering to holistically join these disciplines – falsely believed to be separate – in the search for new perceptions about how to design products and processes. In doing so, Oxman does not tear down barriers but reveals to us all that those barriers never truly existed. Her groundbreaking work puts designers back in touch with the reality that we are all part of a living, breathing whole.

The Sony Corporation Career Development Professor and associate professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the MIT Media Lab, Oxman’s work has been documented in more than 150 scientific publications and inventions. Her work has also been presented at the White House and the World Economic Forum, and is in the permanent collections of MoMA, SFMOMA, Pompidou, MFA, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, the FRAC and the Museum of Science, amongst others. Her innovative projects include the Silk Pavilion (a robotically spun, biologically augmented structure); the Synthetic Apiary (a “perpetual spring” environment for bees); a glass 3D printer; and 3D printed fluidic clothing for synthetic microorganisms.

Oxman received her PhD in design computation as a Presidential Fellow at MIT. Prior to MIT she earned a diploma from the Architectural Association (RIBA 2 with Distinction) after attending the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology (Hons), and the Department of Medical Sciences at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Neri Oxman is available for paid speaking engagements, including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, and conference talks, through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Speech Topics

The Age of Entanglement

For centuries, technology seemed to drive a wedge between humanity and nature. But now, new technologies like computational design, additive manufacturing, materials engineering and synthetic biology have allowed us to effectively “hack” nature to design revolutionary products. In this presentation, Neri Oxman reveals how science has brought us full circle from disassociation with nature to an “Age of Entanglement” in which art, science, design and engineering are joined together holistically. At the meeting point of these four disciplines lies never-before-imagined potential for designers in every industry.

A Window into the Future: Neri Oxman’s Revolutionary Products

As the pioneer of the new field of Material Ecology, Neri Oxman has pushed the boundaries of what was once thought impossible in design. She and her team at MIT have created products ranging from bricks made out of mushrooms to domes built by robots and live silkworms, showing that in an age of endless technological possibility, there are no longer boundaries between science and art, or between industrial design and nature. Crucially, these products are meant to create a more sustainable future rather than just dazzle and impress, leveraging nature itself to make humanity more compatible with the environment. In this presentation, which can be customized to any industry, Oxman delves into her most radical designs and conceptions, with the aim of stimulating audiences into imagining how they, too, can use nature to create products that address human needs and help solve the world’s problems.

From Nature-inspired Design to a Design-inspired Nature

New technologies such as gene editing are providing designers and architects with more possibilities than ever before to create innovative new products. But such a process also requires creativity, imagination and an understanding of how one can use design to reshape nature itself to solve humanity’s problems. In this presentation, the visionary architect and designer Neri Oxman instills a sense of the underlying philosophy behind her acclaimed designs. Crucially, Oxman reveals her modified “Krebs Cycle” that allows her and her team to work within the four quadrants of art, science, design and engineering to ideate and change the world.

Media

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