Where do you draw inspiration from?
blkHaUS studios was founded in Chicago. A city filled with architecture, fast cars, packed restaurants, barbecues, jazz clubs, house music in park land and skater-made public space. All of which is occupied by human bodies: Black, white, brown and yellow. There is the connecting aesthetic culture of city life that fuels us: music, video, artifacts, community and, of course, historical memories of where we’ve come from. As designers and educators, we are constantly inspired by the beauty that our city and the disciplines that come with exposing the design process.
Can you talk about your practice in the light of a global pandemic and sociopolitical crisis—what changed, what remains the same?
Like most of the world, blkHaUS studios has pivoted to highlight voices and conversation that contemplate the ways to advocate, teach and expand our minds around what design can produce in a positive light. In our Raising Products series, in collaboration with Design Museum Chicago, we’ve heard narratives from local architects, designers, city and urban planners about how to navigate Covid and how designers respond to problems. blkHaUS studios is working on amplifying solutions and planning upcoming collaborations. Our latest talks with Dr. Brandi Thompson Summers (University of California, Berkeley), Toni L. Griffin (Harvard University, founder of Urban Planning and Design for the American City), and Commissioner Maurice Cox (City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development), moderated by Kamilah Rashied (Court Theatre Director of Education) gives light to what “BLACK SPACE” is as it relates to community improvement. youtu.be/Nx6cQk3S2eM
Where do you see the future of design in the post-COVID world?
blkHaUS studios sees the future as before: “Black” with less physical movement. There is room for cultural acceptance and advocacy for Black spaces to carry out cultural creative expression. Where designers of colors and different backgrounds get to create or have a hand in creating new Black space. From bodegas and thrift stores to boutiques, our small businesses will pop up and stay up as thriving businesses that take a stake in their communities as equity holders. With love and labor, design will make strategic moves to reinstate the small business within the American Dream.
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