Nelly Ben Hayoun is a designer of experiences. Sometimes called the "Willy Wonka of Design and Science" or “Part designer, part performance artist, part space traveller”, Nelly and her team are known for transcending boundaries.
They create orchestras together with NASA space scientists, put dark energy in your kitchen sink or create places such as The University of the Underground, Nelly’s latest venture that teaches critical thinking, unconventional research and social dreaming to post-graduate students.
At her studio in London, Nelly told me more about how it all came about and what it means to design an experience.
9:41 “It’s a very complex period to live in. But at the same time, now is the time where you can define your own rules, your own jobs. Being this kind of hybrid that exists in all different places. And perhaps one of the beautiful chances that we have today is the possibility to travel a lot, to understand that the world is not that massive and that we’re all connected.”
14:12: “These institutions, you can’t really mingle with them or have a critical discussion about life on Mars. But because you’re playing the dobbro and I’m playing the trumpet, and because we have set up a certain set of dynamics inside the International Space Orchestra, you start to evolve this really important conversation. And it goes way beyond music. It actually goes into the core of why an agency like NASA exists.”
19:20 “Do I say no? Yes, I say no. Always.”
28:47 “If everybody is always agreeing with you then you are doing shit work. And perhaps I was doing shit work up until this point. And maybe right now I’m actually doing the best work. Because right now I’m having a critical response, and that’s good.”
36:55 “Curiosity is what drives everything. Be curious, never give up, and especially put yourself in situations where you know you’re going to fail.”
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