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Who Is Neri Oxman?

Who Is Neri Oxman?
[Photo: Flickr user Joi Ito]

According to Page Six, Brad Pitt has a new friend–and maybe something more? She’s Neri Oxman, an associate professor at the MIT Media Lab and a superstar in her own right. What Pitt is to Hollywood, Oxman is to organic architecture and manufacturing.

Oxman on the cover of the June 2009 cover of Fast Company. [Cover Photo: Jeff Riedel for Fast Company]
The two met when Pitt was looking for an architect with whom to collaborate. As Page Six‘s source puts it: “Their friendship has not turned into romance … as both are cautious and this is, again, more of a professional friendship, but Brad is very interested in spending more time with Neri, she is fascinating.”

I don’t claim to know exactly what that means. But you can’t blame Pitt for wanting to spend “more time with Neri.” Oxman is one of the most intriguing researchers working today. A Fast Company Most Creative Person of 2009, she’s part architect, part biologist, part fashion designer, and her work is almost impossible to pigeonhole into a single field or aesthetic.

[Photo: Bret Hartman/Courtesy Of Ted]

At MIT, she has led construction projects like a pavilion woven with thousands of silkwormsa home for bees anticipating an age when the earth can’t support them, and even a wearable intestine that generated energy from bacteria and the sun. She’s also done a ton of work around 3D printing; she developed a dangling robot that could build large-scale structures and created a way to print in glass instead of plastic.

What Oxman embodies isn’t a single thesis on the future, but a blending of nature and technology that challenges the way we think about constructing buildings and objects. The worlds she presents are provocative and murky. Much like the world of tabloid dating journalism itself.

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