Dubbed the ‘Willy Wonka of Design and Science’, award-winning director and designer of experiences Nelly Ben Hayoun is a critical explorer, a fearless and passionate provocateur. 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”. Finally in 2015, she was nominated for a Women of the Year Achievement Award. Ben Hayoun’s roles include Designer of Experiences at the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute, Head of Experiences at We Transfer, a member of the Space Outreach and Education committee at the International Astronautical Federation, a member of the British Interplanetary Society and Woman in Aerospace, a postgraduate fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and a United Nations Advisor to the UN VR (Virtual Reality) labs.
Ben Hayoun assembled and directs the International Space Orchestra (ISO) – the world’s first orchestra of space scientists and astronauts from NASA. The ISO recordings and CD were blasted from a Japanese launch pad in August 2013 and have since been orbiting around the Earth in the International Space Station. Her multilayered, experiential design practice has previously resulted in collaborations with composers Beck, Damon Albarn, Bobby Womack, the Prodigy, Penguin Café and Ed Bangers records. Her work has been exhibited at the National Museum of China, MOMA, V&A and other leading design institutions. Her latest feature length movie Disaster Playground, on emergency procedures and asteroids, was nominated for a Vision Award at SXSW 2015, 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.’