The Design Academy considers critical issues of design, and fosters dialogue through its programming, exhibitions, and collaborations. Three themes are explored each year.

At the heart of A/D/O is the Design Academy, which offers a range of programming for professional designers, intended to provoke and invigorate their creative practices. It informs every aspect of the A/D/O experience, from events to installations, and explores a new theme every season.


The inaugural season of the Design Academy kicked off with a three-day festival from January 26-29, 2017. Programming explored the theme of “Utopia vs. Dystopia: Designing Our Imagined Futures.” Examining major cultural disruptions and scientific advances such as robotics, artificial intelligence, automation and new production technologies, the Design Academy asks whether designers will be the ones to tip the scales toward utopia or dystopia.

See more upcoming events for this season:

APR 21: WORKSHOP: Irregular Weaving With Stephen Burks & Dedon.
A weaving workshop with A/D/O Designer-in-Residence Stephen Burks and international outdoor furniture manufacturer Dedon utilizing a combination of Dedon fiber (extruded polyethylene) and other materials to explore the relationship of random pattern language to artisanal production.

/ Apply to Attend

Join the Newtown Creek Alliance for an evening of presentations, discussion and visioning workshop at A/D/O, the new center for design in Brooklyn. The event is free and open to the public. In addition to discussing upcoming 2017 events and volunteer opportunities the event will include presentations on the following:

-2016 Newtown Creek Water Quality Report
-Bioremediation Poster
-Riverkeeper Visioning Project for Newtown Creek


Join Bitsy Bentley as she leads this technology-aided ceramics workshop in Assemble's Factory installation at A/D/O over a course of five sessions.

Class dates: 
Monday May 1, Monday May 8, Monday May 15, Monday May 22 and Thursday May 25



Join us for the second Design Academy festival at A/D/O, for a full day of talks and programming on May 13. The event will mark the kickoff to Common Sense, the second season of the Design Academy, and will feature conversations with some of the world’s foremost voices in and around the field of design including:

Jay Osgerby, Barber Osgerby
Bompas & Parr
Chander Burr
Archie Coates, Playlab


Join us for our biggest annual PechaKucha Night at the recently opened A/D/O space in Greenpoint for an evening championing COMMON SENSE and in collaboration with the Design Academy at A/D/O and NYCxDESIGN, New York City’s official citywide celebration of design.



Check back soon for more events to come


This season’s Utopia vs. Dystopia programming has featured talks from the following.

David Byrne

David Byrne cofounded Talking Heads and created label Luaka Bop. Recent: The Institute Presents: Neurosociety, an immersive performance art production in collaboration with working neuroscience labs; Contemporary Color, an event inspired by the phenomenon of color guard; Here Lies Love, a 22-song production about the life of Imelda Marcos authored in collaboration with Fatboy Slim that premiered at The Public Theater, traveled to London’s National Theatre, and will be remounted at the Seattle Repertory Theater; Love This Giant, a studio album and tour with St. Vincent; and How Music Works, a book about how music is shaped. Recognition: An Academy Award, Golden Globe, Grammy, three Drama Desk Awards, five Lucille Lortel Awards, an OBIE Award, an Outer Critics Circle Award, and two Theatre World Awards.

Alice Rawsthorn

Alice Rawsthorn writes about design in the International New York Times and Frieze. Her latest book "Hello World: Where Design Meets Life" explores design’s impact on our lives: past, present and future. She speaks on design at global events including TED and the World Economic Forum’s annual meetings at Davos, Switzerland. Based in London, Alice was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to design and the arts.

Yves Béhar

Yves Béhar is a designer and entrepreneur who believes that integrated product, digital, and brand design are the cornerstones of any business. He is the founder and chief designer of fuseproject founded in 1999; he is also the Chief Creative Officer of Jawbone and the co-founder of August, the next generation home entry system.

John Maeda

John Maeda is an American executive spearheading a new convergence across the design + technology industries. He recently joined Automattic as Global Head of Computational Design + Inclusion and previously served as a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), a world-leading venture capital firm in Silicon Valley. An internationally recognized speaker and author, his books include The Laws of Simplicity, Creative Code and Redesigning Leadership.


Inaba Williams and MTWTF have produced ‘Utopia–Dystopia,’ an exhibition highlighting the vital role design plays now that we are entirely supported by technology. The multi-channel video installation presents snapshots of our technology-centered existence, acting as a prismatic interface with the spectrum of utopian and dystopian images we encounter at every moment in every place. The spaces, products, identities, and experiences offered up to visitors by these two New York-based firms are meant to ask, ‘What possible futures should designers propose at a time when to be human, to be true to ourselves, is to be completely one with technology?’


A/D/O has partnered with visionary designers to create site-specific installations exploring the theme of UTOPIA VS. DYSTOPIA in form and function. In our first season, we will feature original work from Assemble, MOS, and Olin.

Assemble's "A Factory as it Might Be" is featured on The Creators Project's latest episode of the The Process. Watch it here.



A/D/O is proud to announce that its very first designer-in-residence will be Stephen Burks of Stephen Burks Man Made. Burks and his team will reside in A/D/O this spring to work, prototype furniture and give a series of talks and lectures on design and the creative process.

For over a decade, industrial designer Stephen Burks has dedicated his work to building a bridge between authentic craft traditions, manufacturing, and contemporary design. Since 2005, Burks has consulted with non-profits around the world including Aid to Artisans, the Clinton Global Initiative and the Nature Conservancy, uniting the artisan, the designer and global brands in a triangle of immersive development. With his New York–based studio, Stephen Burks Man Made, Burks seeks to bring the hand to industry and extend craft traditions into the future. In 2015, Stephen Burks was the recipient of the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in product design and beginning this month he will be the first A/D/O designer-in-residence.