She is 42 years old American Israeli architect, designer, and professor at the MIT Media Lab. At MIT, she leads the Mediated Matter research group. She is known for art and architecture that combine design, biology, computing, and materials engineering. And her name is Neri Oxman. In the last few weeks she has suddenly started hogging limelight. No, she has not won any architectural awards nor done any path breaking research to deserve such sudden media attention. Still people are after her. Do you know why?
Perhaps, to find out the reason, one may have to look beyond her professional life. It is reported that famous Hollywood actor Brad Pitt is spending time with acclaimed architect and both are seen together on many occasions. It is said that both came together when Pitt was referred to Oxman to collaborate on an architectural project he was working on. However, both the sides claim there is nothing beyond professional friendship. Adding to the confusion is Oxman’s reported relationship with billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman. It is extensively reported that Oxman is dating Bill Ackman and interestingly, no denials have come so far from either side. But the stories are running all over US tabloids without any reactions from the people involved or believed to be involved. But Oxman is becoming popular without winning Pritzker Prize.
Having said that, Oxman who graduated from MIT’s Ph.D. program in design computation in 2010, is known to have coined the term “material ecology.” According to her profile on the MIT Media Lab website, material ecology “considers computation, fabrication, and the material itself as inseparable dimensions of design.” One well-known project of hers is the “Silk Pavilion,” which combines a robotic arm with a dome made by thousands of live silkworms. Another project is “Wanderers,” which consists of 3-D printed wearable skins designed to help humans survive on other planets. Further, her work is featured in permanent collections in several museums, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Boston Museum of Science.
So, she deserves to be known professionally too, though for that people may give credit to Brad Pitt!