Chris Lefteri is one of the most influential people currently working in design. He is an internationally recognized leading authority on materials and their application in design and his achievements in this area have changed the way designers and material industry consider materials. He has published eight books on design and material innovation, which have been translated into five languages. Over the last 10 years they have been instrumental in changing the way designers view and use materials. He has delivered workshops on materials and design across Europe, North America and Asia. Chris Lefteri Design Ltd has worked with several Fortune 100 companies and major design studios across Europe, the US and Asia helping them formulate strategies for effective materials integration in the design process. He is editor and creative director of Ingredients magazine, which has a subscription of over 5000 designers across the world. He has delivered lectures for amongst others: Nike, Philips Design, LG Electronics, Samsung, Dyson, Hyundai and Roca Sanitario. The studio also works with major material suppliers such as Corning Glass, Eastman Chemicals and Exxon Mobil helping them to market their products to the design industry. He was the Visionary in Residence at Art Centre College of Design in California in 2008 and has been a guest lecturer at Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Design Academy Eindhoven, CCS, SCAD and LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts in Singapore. He is currently a Theme Champion for Smart Materials, for the Uk’s Creative Industries Knowledge Transfer Network.
Rosanne Somerson was appointed Provost of Rhode Island School of Design in July 2012. As RISD’s 25th chief academic officer, Somerson is responsible for leadership and administration of undergraduate and graduate academic programs, curriculum, faculty, academic governance and operating budget.
Somerson received a BFA in Industrial Design from RISD and has been a member of the faculty since 1985. Throughout her career at RISD, she has held leadership positions including Program Head of Graduate Furniture Design, then as Department Head of Furniture Design from 1995-2005, a department that she played a significant role in founding in 1995. She served as Interim Associate Provost from 2005-2007, during which she helped design the RISD Brown Dual Degree program and brought focus to academic facilities and technology.
Somerson maintains a robust creative practice by designing and creating furniture for exhibitions and commissions, and as a partner in DEZCO, a production furniture company.
Her work has been exhibited widely throughout the world and is represented in many prestigious private, corporate and museum collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Renwick Collection of the National Museum of American Art, Washington, DC, the Yale University Art Gallery and the RISD Museum of Art. She has served on the boards of the Haystack Mountain School, ME, the Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston, is a named Fellow of the American Craft Council, and is the subject of an interview that forms part of the Smithsonian Institute Archives of American Art Oral History Program. As a sought after international lecturer, juror, exhibitor and evaluator she applies both local and global perspectives to her work.
She has received awards and citations for her work as a designer, artist, and teacher, including two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, and the James Renwick Alliance Distinguished Crafts Educator Award. In April 2012 she received the Award of Distinction for lifetime achievement in the field of studio furniture by the Furniture Society.
Billie Faircloth, AIA, is the Research Director at KieranTimberlake, a prominent architecture firm established in 1984 and a leader in practice-based architectural research and environmentally innovative buildings. She leads a trans-disciplinary research group of nine professionals leveraging research, design, and problem solving processes from fields as diverse as environmental management, chemical physics, materials science and architecture.
As director, Faircloth fosters collaboration between disciplines, trades, academies and industries in order to define a relevant problem solving boundary for the built environment. In her professional and academic research Billie pursues an answer to the question: “Why do we build the way that we do?” In addition to her practice, she teaches at the University of Pennsylvania and lectures on design research worldwide.
Billie received a Bachelor of Architecture from North Carolina State University and a Master of Architecture with Distinction from Harvard University.
Watch Billie on TEDxPhilly - "The beauty & mystery of the 2x4"
Prior to joining the Daniels Faculty, Margolis worked as a landscape architect for Hargreaves Associates in Boston and had a primary role in the design of a 3-mile post-industrial waterfront in Knoxville, TN. She worked closely with the city to create one of the first fully adopted form-based-codes for a major metropolitan. She was also Co-Founder and Director of Research at Harvard Graduate School of Design’s Material Collection and before that, Director of Research at Material ConneXion, Inc. in New York.
Her 2007 book Living Systems: Innovative Materials and Technologies for Landscape Architecture has since been translated into 3 languages and has become a widely used reference book in architectural design instruction as well as for professional practice. Margolis is currently working on two books titled: Out of Water, Design Solutions for Arid Regions and VERTicalia, Design and Construction of Green Facades.
Margolis received a Bachelor of Fine Art in Industrial Design from the Rhode Island School of Design and a Masters of Landscape Architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design.