Design crusader

Stephen Burks, one of the most recognized American industrial designers of his generation, uses every project opportunity to bridge the gap between the luxury brands he works with and his passionate commitment to design with a conscience. IIDEX/NeoCon Canada is pleased to welcome him as the Design Keynote speaker on Friday, Sept. 25 at 4 p.m. His topic is “Are You a Hybrid? Design As an Agent of Social Change.”

As the founder of Readymade Projects, based in New York, Burks believes that technological advances paired with rapidly changing economic realities demand that design rewrite its own rules. His cross-disciplinary approach and collaborations with artisans in the developing world are the hallmarks of his hybrid practice. As he puts it, “The excesses of the last two decades, resulting from the proliferation of goods, continue to have disastrous consequences for the planet.” This global crisis offers an opportunity for design practitioners of every stripe to interact meaningfully with visionaries in business, science, the arts, social work and public policy, and to play a powerful new role in the transformation of our shared reality and emerging future. 

Active internationally with Aid To Artisans and the Nature Conservancy, Stephen Burks studied architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology and product design at IIT’S Institute of Design; he also attended Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture. His clients include Cappellini, Moroso, Boffi, Coty USA, B&B Italia, Missoni, Calvin Klein and Audi. He is a member of the Cologne Furniture Fair international trend board. Burks’ work has been published and exhibited internationally.