Nelly Ben Hayoun, dubbed the "Willy Wonka of Design and Science", is an award-winning director and designer of experiences, a critical explorer and a fearless and passionate provocateur. Her creations are orbiting the world in the International Space Station and she has collaborated with a number of prestigious musicians and platforms.
In 2014 Wired magazine awarded her with a WIRED Innovation Fellowship for her work to date and its "significant impact on the world" whilst in 2013, Icon magazine touted Ben Hayoun as one of the 50 international designers "shaping the future". Additionally, in 2015, she was nominated for a Women of the Year Achievement Award which rewards, since 1955, women "who have made a significant achievement" and "are being recognised for their strides in making the world a better place".
As part of Ben Hayoun's trademark’s "Total Bombardment", she engages with multiple communities and audiences. She achieves this through her various roles, which include Designer of Experiences at the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute, Head of Experiences at digital company WeTransfer, a member of the Space Outreach and Education committee at the International Astronautical Federation, a United Nations Advisor to the UN VR (Virtual Reality) labs, an advisory board member at AIGA (American Institute for Graphic Arts) in Los Angeles, and a visiting professor at the Royal College of Arts and the Architectural Association. Most recently Nelly has taken a role as Chief Partnerships & Strategy Officer at the San Francisco based independent print publisher McSweeney’s.
Blasted from a Japanese launch pad, her projects have been orbiting around the earth in the International Space Station since May 2015. She assembled and directs the International Space Orchestra (ISO) – the world first orchestra of space scientists and astronauts from NASA. Her multilayered, experiential design practice has previously resulted in collaborations with Grammy award-winning musicians such as Beck, Damon Albarn, Bobby Womack, The Prodigy, Penguin Café, Ed Banger Records, Savages and most recently icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós. She is a keynote speaker and has spoken worldwide about the value of experiential design practices in the context of outreach, community and education. Her work has been exhibited at the National Museum of China, MOMA, V&A and other leading design institutions.
Ben Hayoun is the author and director of two feature-length movies.
Ben Hayoun was awarded one of the UK largest artistic awards, The Arts Council England Exceptional Award for her feature-length movie Disaster Playground. Disaster Playground is following the chain of commands in place in the event of hazardous asteroid impacting the earth. It was nominated for a Vision Award at SXSW 2015 and is distributed worldwide on Netflix and other digital platforms. Paola Antonelli, senior curator at MOMA declared about it: "It's Dr. Strangelove meets This Is Spinal Tap. You straddle a big red phone and go on a wild ride along a chain of command that is complex and exhilarating". Ben Hayoun and her studios have worked and consulted for the likes of world-class clients including NASA, Google HQ, Mattel HQ, BBC, Autodesk HQ, XL Recordings, AIGA (American Institute for Graphic Arts) and The Guardian amongst many others. Her latest project; The Life the Sea and the Space Viking was selected as one of the Best of The Year 2016 by the Metropolitan Museum in NYC.