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Through SEGD Vanguards, we’re recognizing, amplifying and celebrating the designers and practitioners who are making a real difference, right now. Starting with Wayfinding + Placemaking—and now Exhibition + Experience—each list recognizes influential visionary practitioners, whose work throughout the past year has impacted their discipline—creating a more connected and inclusive world, by pioneering new ways of seeing the design process, methods, innovations—and more.
Shane Allbritton is a co-founder of RE:site along with her business partner Norman Lee. Their firm explores ideas of community, identity, and narrative within the context of public space. RE:site does this by creating public art, memorials, and commemorative spaces—which connect past and present—and by inviting the public to share in experiential moments, prompting collaborative viewership, curiosity, discovery, and dialogue.
Shane Allbritton’s personal and collaborative work is often a response to an ethos of place and memory. As a visual storyteller and mixed-media artist, she is deeply inspired by consultations with survivors, heroes, activists, and historians. Shane has dedicated nearly two decades expressing cultural stories through art and design.
Norman Lee is a co-founder of RE:site along with his business partner Shane Allbritton. Norman is the son of immigrants and part of a family that has organized for civil rights and racial justice for three generations—and he sees his artwork as an expression of that legacy. Since becoming a finalist in the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition, Norman has developed a unique approach to commemoration, defined by a sensitivity to the transcendent in addition to an open, inclusive vision of our society.
Together, Shane and Norman take a multidisciplinary approach to site-specific projects by working with experts in various fields and using diverse materials, styles, and modalities. RE:site’s body of work includes monuments, commemorative spaces, suspended artwork, interactive art for playgrounds, light sculptures, technology-based work, and wall features.
SEGD recognizes Shane and Norman as vanguards in Exhibition + Experience because their methodology centers target audiences and end-users as an integral part of the design process. Together, they tackle the most challenging topics—including climate change and slavery—in ways that create beautiful and memorable places often within the landscape or public spaces.
From Absence To Presence: Commemorative To Enslaved Peoples Of Southern Maryland juxtaposes the current site of a sports field with its slave past, holding the two in dramatic tension. This interplay connects our lives to the lives of the enslaved and causes us to pause and reflect on how we, as Americans, are connected to this history.
Waqas Jawaid is a partner at Brooklyn-based Isometric Studio where he leads a seven-person team alongside business partner Andy Chen.
Waqas received his undergraduate degree with highest honors from Princeton University and his Masters in Architecture with distinction from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. At Princeton, he was awarded the Frederick White Prize for his thesis on architectural apartheid in the Paris banlieus. Previously, Waqas worked at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, SANAA, Harvard Art Museums, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. He is a founding organizer of Climate Collective, a NYC-based organization that sparks civic discourse about climate change through design and storytelling.
Waqas has lectured at venues including Harvard University, the Center for Architecture, and Princeton University Art Museum. He has also served on the faculty of the Maryland Institute College of Art and the School of Visual Arts.
Andy Chen is a partner at Brooklyn-based Isometric Studio where he leads a seven-person team alongside business partner Waqas Jawaid.
Andy studied sociology at Princeton University where he was awarded the Pyne Honor Prize, the university’s highest general undergraduate distinction. He then studied graphic design at RISD, where he received his MFA as a Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow. Andy started his career at Pentagram, where he worked on the rebranding of Bausch + Lomb with partner Paula Scher. As a Fulbright Scholar at the Royal College of Art, Andy conducted ethnographic research on aging, sexuality, and social stigma. He is a contributor to Design Observer, Design Taxi, and Open Manifesto.
Andy has spoken at international conferences including the London Design Festival, Design Indaba, RGD DesignThinkers, and Kyoorius Designyatra. He has served on the faculty of the Maryland Institute College of Art and the School of Visual Arts.
Waqas and Andy are recognized for their leadership in consistently putting forward powerful, reflective, and beautiful work. During the racial justice uprisings, several of their exhibitions invited visitors to confront difficult subjects like policing in America and systemic racism. As designers, Waqas and Andy are leading and raising visibility for issues of race and social justice. Their free COVID strategies to help museums reopen was a thoughtfully executed and effective toolkit, and their Confronting Unjust Policing is a powerful primer for systemic reimagining. Both Waqas and Andy’s leadership prevailed in a time when this leadership was desperately needed.
Visit the official SEGD Vanguards webpage to learn more about these groundbreaking designers and practitioners.