A/D/O by MINI | Designing with Pride

Designing with Pride

To celebrate Pride month, we asked a group of queer-identifying creatives how the LGBTQ+ community is impacting the future of design.

Pride month takes place every June, commemorating the Stonewall Riots that took place in New York on June 28-29, 1969 – kickstarting the Gay Rights Movement. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the uprising, and the city is hosting countless events to coincide with the occasion.

A/D/O is joining in the celebrations by throwing a free party at our Brooklyn space on Saturday June 29, 3-7pm. Following the final talk in the Interlude+ series for queer youth, the festivities will feature a diverse lineup of LGBTQ+ musicians and DJs – including Starchild & The New Romanic, Lauren Flax, and Debit. Find out more and register for free tickets.

We have also taken this opportunity to recognize the LGBTQ+ members of our wider community and their importance to design. We spoke to these creatives and asked them all the same question: "How is the LGBTQ+ community impacting the future of design?"

See their responses below:

Photograph by Michelle Huynh

Trueing

How is the LGBTQ+ community impacting the future of design?

With openness and sensitivity! Design must adapt to perspectives other than the mainstream – so that everyone can enjoy the spaces, objects, experiences, etc. that designers bring into the world.

Yabu Pushelberg

How is the LGBTQ+ community impacting the future of design?

Glenn Pushelberg: The LGBTQ+ community impacts the future of design by thinking about space differently – in an open, inclusive way. The community can understand how design affects the experience of secluded peoples. We’re contributing new perspectives.

George Yabu: The LGBTQ+ community is smart, engaging, user-friendly and inspiring. We impact the future of design by using these skills to bring new, considerate ideas to the table. It doesn't matter who or what your designing for, we can solve it.

Photograph by Victoria Janashvili

Jane Greenwood

How is the LGBTQ+ community impacting the future of design?

Improving working conditions. Earlier in my career, as a founding member of the Organization of Lesbian and Gay Architects and Designers (OLGAD) in 1993, I joined others to fight hard to break down barriers to employment, healthcare, and outright discrimination for the LGBTQ+ community. I am still proud of these accomplishments, as they have made it easier for everyone who followed.

Self-awareness and self-confidence. Being out, proud and confident gave me a boost as I honed my professional skills and set my sights on a leadership position in architecture. Any openly LGBTQ+ professional likely has a high level of self-confidence. I know clients appreciate honesty and openness and if that’s attributed to being out, then all the better.

Encouraging diversity. I design workspaces that are populated by a diverse community so why wouldn’t I have a diverse design team everyone brings their unique design sensibility to the creative process and the amalgam of these diverse views enriches the outcome.

Gabriel Maher

How is the LGBTQ+ community impacting the future of design?

By challenging the design industries embedded privileges and breaking its orientations towards normativity – a normativity that prefaces a particular type of body, with a particular mobility and agency in the world.

Formafantasma

How is the LGBTQ+ community impacting the future of design?

Using its transformative potential to create more opportunities for inclusivity and to develop bold new ideas challenging the status quo.

Photograph by Daniel Kukla

Misha Kahn

How is the LGBTQ+ community impacting the future of design?

I think it’s funny to connect design and pride, for lots of reasons! Designing has always felt gay to me, and yet it’s largely been the domain of heterosexuals.  I think it feels gay because it’s inherently deviant – it requires imagining that something other than the mainstream offering, the existing thing in front of you, might be great and necessary.

I also feel that the sweeping amount of acceptance for LGBTQ+ people (I know there’s still a lot of plot holes here) is kind of a shocking change from the America I went to high school in a little over a decade ago. This makes me feel that maybe we could start accepting all the radical design solutions that we must. If all those people who called busted pop machines and boring teachers "gay" can now be totally chill with adult males enjoying [sex together], then maybe they can also learn to think it’s totally cool to farm bugs in their walls.

The earth is dying because we refuse to imagine living in a material world that looks, feels and functions in a totally new way. Instead of rethinking everything, we do what many gays did and dress in polo shirts to normalize ourselves and assimilate - we greenwash by slapping on bamboo siding or replacing bulbs with LEDs. What we need to do is be loud, and charge past these stubborn unimaginative people, completely reimagining our approach to making, consuming, traveling and eating.

Instead of thinking about getting people to accept LGBTQ+ people into society as normal, we need to focus on getting people to accept radical paradigm shifts as preferable.

Photograph by S J Dupré

Cas Holman

How is the LGBTQ+ community impacting the future of design?

LGBTQI folks are naturally great designers because many of us, in an effort to make a world that fits who we are and feels right, have designed our own identities and ways of existing. This requires actively rejecting staid archetypes. Queer and intersex people haven’t historically seen ourselves in the media, so we build new or non-traditional families and community.

I’m so happy to see more models of how to be and how to live represented in the media. Kids (queer or not) have even more examples to learn from and hopefully ignore completely to become glorious creatures we cannot even imagine today.

Text by Dan Howarth.