Design Thinking, Strategy, Visual Communication, Digital Art
THNK School of Creative Leadership, Vancouver | THNK Fellow
Domus Academy, Italy, 1987–1988 | MA in Industrial Design, with distinction
Simon Fraser University, Canada, 1981–1983 | visual arts, communication, and computing
San Francisco Art Institute, USA, 1977–1979 | visual arts studies
Visual Communication Design
Born, Nairobi, Kenya
Roots: Indian | Citizenship: Canadian
I like to make a difference in people’s lives and make discoveries — I get this from my mum. I prefer negotiating my way forward and being diplomatic — I get this from my dad. I grew up post-colonial Kenya, steeped in the tremendous beauty of the landscape and in widening dichotomies. I measured time by counting the days until our next beach holiday in Mombasa, attending boarding school in between, until I left Kenya to attend high school in England.
Learning the Arts, 1977–1988
Domus Academy, Italy, 1987–1988 / MA in Industrial Design
Simon Fraser University, Canada, 1981–1983 / visual arts and technology studies
San Francisco Art Institute, USA, 1977–1979 / arts studies
I studied art with great breadth—visual arts, technical theater, sculpture, photography, and scenography, alongside communications and computer science—learning machine language and PL/C, until my work for EXPO’86 and my design portfolio earned me a spot at the Domus Academy in Milan. The Italian language enchanted me and intense design study elevated my design mind. I studied with the likes of Andrea Branzi, Vico Magistretti and Gaetano Pesce. I completed my master’s degree with Francesco Binfaré, Art Director for Cassina. I lived the life, met the people, and saw behind the curtain.
Designing in Milan, 1989–1996
Industrial Designer, 1989–1996 / Freelance / Milan
After Domus, I lived and worked in Milan for an additional eight years—working on my own projects, participating in invitational exhibitions including 100% Make-up, and Abitare il Tempo, and exhibiting work at Galleria Bianca Pilat. I designed objects for industries including Alessi, Segno, Venini, Stilnovo and B&B Italia, and worked with Atelier Mendini, Studio Alchemia and Studio Michele De Lucchi. In 1994, I set up the product design studio for surrealist fashion designer Cinzia Ruggeri, where we developed a number of succesful products. When I was full, it was time to move on.
Growing Multimedia, 1996-1998
Creative Director, 1996–1998 / DNA Media / Vancouver
Back in Canada, I launched into multimedia, entering the UX/UI realm while it was still in its infancy. The Neilsen Norman Group were charting the waters, making room for a user-focused design culture in software and pushing at the edges of growth—where I most like to play. These years culminated in my creative direction of a critically-acclaimed media piece celebrating the mastery of pianist Glenn Gould, and helping to introduce a human-centric design process at Nikon Digital’s scanner division.
The .com Boom and Bust, 1999–2001
Director of Design, 1999–2001 / ThoughtShare Communications Inc. / Vancouver
UX/UI led me into the .com boom. I became a founding member of a start-up that went public with 10M in financing. I loved the blue sky thinking and intense whiteboard sessions, as we created a sophisticated suite of visualization software for collaborative knowledge sharing of web-based content. I developed and lead the 12 person design team in concept development, UX/UI design, and branding as we grew the company to 90+ staff.
Creative Convergence, 2002–present
Design Consultant, Principal at Vanilla Five Creative Inc. 2002–present / Vancouver
- Frank Gehry (Gehry Partners / Gehry Technologies)
- Swire Properties
- SFU – Contemporary Arts
- SelfDesign Learning Foundation
Work Exhibited at:
- MOCA | USA
- Vitra Museum | Germany
- Milan Triennale | Italy
- National Building Museum | USA
- DAC | Denmark
- Walt Disney Concert Hall | USA