Nelly Ben Hayoun

Dr. Nelly Ben Hayoun is a designer of extreme experiences that aims to bring the sublime to life. Dubbed the “Willy Wonka of Design,” Dr. Nelly Ben Hayoun is an award-winning French designer and filmmaker who creates multi-dimensional experiential projects at the intersection of science, theatre, politics and Design. Wired awarded her their inaugural Innovation Fellowship in 2014, and Icon magazine recognized Dr. Ben Hayoun as one of the top 50 designers 'shaping the future' for her pioneering “total bombardment” design philosophy.

Her laboratory, NBH Studios, is on a mission to bring chaos to the world; she is the founder and director of the International Space Orchestra the world’s first orchestra of NASA space scientists and astronauts; and most recently she founded the University of the Underground, a subversive tuition free educative and cultural programme that is on course to create disorder in academia.


This class investigates contemporary semiotics and mythological accounts of history and collective fears as a creative framework for design and experiential practices (film, music, architecture). Using the texts of political theorist Hannah Arendt as a framework, participants are tasked to identify systems of meaning, narrative figures and technological collective fears (such as Grey goo for example) at the start of their designed experience and theatrical re-enactments. They are mixed in groups with which they create monsters and engage in performing re-enactments that they both select, script, design and perform as a result of their research.