Design Indaba News

Neri Oxman announced as speaker at Design Indaba 2018

Architect, designer and inventor, Neri Oxman, has been announced as one of the speakers at this year's Design Indaba Conference 2018.
Neri Oxman © Noah Kalina.

Oxman was born and raised in Haifa, Israel and told Surface Magazine in a 2016 interview that her childhood home was funky and full of creative energy. She was brought up in a family of architects, engineers, and intellectuals and after finishing mandatory military service in the Israeli Air Force she planned to apply to medical school. Two years later she changed her mind and applied to architecture school at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, where her father was a professor (and later, dean). She also joined the London Architectural Association School of Architecture, from which she graduated in 2004.

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Achievements and accolades

Currently based in Boston, USA, Oxman is an associate professor of media arts and sciences at the MIT Media Lab, where she founded and directs The Mediated Matter Group. Her work has resulted in more than 100 scientific papers and patents and 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 Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna (MAK), the Frac Collection and the Boston Museum of Science, amongst others including prestigious private collections.

Since 2005, Oxman and her team have won numerous awards and has grown in international scope and acclaim at venues such as the World Economic Forum, where she is part of the Expert Network, and the White House. In 2008 she was named “Revolutionary Mind” by Seed Magazine. In the following year she was named to Icon’s “top most influential designers and architects to shape our future” and to Esquire’s “Best and Brightest.” In the following year, Oxman was selected to Fast Company’s “Most creative people” and the “10 most creative women in business.” In 2014, Oxman was named one of the honourees of the Carnegie’s Pride of America. In 2015, she was named to Roads' 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.

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A language of creativity that carries meaning

Oxman is also a 3-D innovator. She, and members of her Mediated Matter Group, formed part of a team that developed a robotic system for 3D printing buildings and other large structures, a quick-curing printer that makes free-standing structures without any support structures. In 2012 she printed her own body-sized wearables and in 2016 she created a set of 3D-printed textured masks for the singer, Bjork. In addition to this, she also designed and produced new printing tools and processes, like the first 3D printer for optically transparent glass.

In a recent interview with W Magazine, Oxman said that she approaches the world as a whole by taking an integrative approach, not a world of parts, and that she likes to bring different fields and disciplines together.
“The same is true with my preoccupation with cultural expression. I am equally fascinated and awed by visiting an Alexander McQueen show as I am looking under a microscope. And this same level of intrigue visits me when I take on design journeys. I don’t think of fashion as fashion, or biology as biology. I don’t separate architecture, design or culture. What’s more important is a language of creativity that carries meaning. These things are all merely lenses with which to view the world. Sometimes they overlap, sometimes they don’t.”
Click here for Bizcommunity's special section on the Design Indaba and here for more information on the Design Indaba website.

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About Juanita Pienaar

Juanita Pienaar is an editorial assistant for the Marketing & Media news portal at and is also a contributing writer.