Neri Oxman

We are creating a new design language directly influenced by the behavior of nature.

MIT Professor at the Crossroads of Art, Science, and Technology

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Neri Oxman | MIT Professor at the Crossroads of Art, Science, and Technology
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Neri Oxman combines breakthroughs in materials science (such as 3D printing) with design principles found in nature. Imagine a skyscraper made with concrete that can breathe and grow and “think,” or a chair that moves with your body. Buoyed by boundless enthusiasm, Oxman’s talks are obstensibly about what is possible when you mix art and science; but really they’re about possibility itself. 

Welcome to the world of Neri Oxman, an award-winning designer who looks to nature for practical design solutions. In jaw-dropping discussions of her work, Oxman opens a vista onto a lush, wondrous, and sustainable future within reach—one where technology and nature live in harmony. Featured on the cover of Fast Company's 100 Most Creative People in Business issue (2009), Oxman transcends the boundaries between art, science and environmentalism.

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 design research group. Her group conducts research at the intersection of computational design, digital fabrication, materials science and synthetic biology and applies that knowledge to design across scales from the micro scale to the building scale. Her goal is to enhance the relationship between the built and the natural environments by employing design principles inspired or engineered by Nature and implementing them in the invention of novel digital design technologies. Areas of application include product and architectural design, as well as digital fabrication and construction.


Oxman was named to ICON’s list of the top 20 most influential architects to shape our future, and was selected as one of the 100 most creative people by Fast Company. She was named a “Revolutionary Mind” by SEED Magazine and was included in Esquire’s Best and Brightest. In 2015 she has been named to ROADS’ 100 Global Minds: The Most Daring Cross-Disciplinary Thinkers in the World. Her work has been exhibited at MoMA (NYC) and is part of the museum's permanent collection. In 2012 the Centre Georges Pompidou Museum (Paris, France) acquired her works for its permanent collection. Other permanent collections include SFMOMA, the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Musuem (NYC), the Smithsonian Institute (Washington, DC), Musuem of Fine Arts (Boston, MA), Museum of Science (Boston, MA), FRAC Collection (Orleans, France), and more. She is included in prestigious private collections and has received numerous awards including a 40 Under 40 Building Design + Construction Award, a Graham Foundation Carter Manny Award, the International Earth Award for Future-Crucial Design, and a METROPOLIS Next Generation Award. Most recently, in 2014 Oxman has won the Vilcek Prize in Design, the Carnegie's Pride of America Award, and Boston Society of Architects Women in Design Award. She has been written about in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, WIRED, Fast Company, The Boston Globe and more. 

Neri Oxman received her PhD in design computation as a Presidential Fellow at MIT, where she coined the term Material Ecology to describe her research area. Prior to MIT she earned her diploma from the Architectural Association (RIBA 2 Hons) 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.

Speech Topics

Innovation & Creativity
Innovation in Design
In the work of Neri Oxman, the disciplines of art, science, architecture, and ecology fuse to form a new kind of discipline—one based on the lessons of biomimicry (in which we look to nature for design solutions). With breathtaking examples from her work—a chair that moves with your body weight, energy efficient buildings that can grow and change—Oxman provides a glimpse into the future of performance-driven design and how it’s literally reshaping our physical world. We must look past the surface of an object, Oxman says, and think instead about “how it behaves.” Avant-garde yet wholly accessible, Oxman makes a powerful and eloquent case for adapting sustainable, nature-derived concepts to tackle our most daunting challenges in design, business, society, the environment, and our daily lives.