Dr. Ben Hayoun is a critical explorer, and a fearless and passionate provocateur; a designer of experiences, she leads the hybrid design studio ‘Nelly Ben Hayoun Studios’ in London. There, Dr. Ben Hayoun, dubbed ‘the Willy Wonka of design and science, designs extreme experiences for you to become an astronaut in your living room while dark energy is being created in your kitchen sink and a volcano erupts on your couch. She is the Designer of Experiences at the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute at NASA Ames Research Center; Chief of Experiences at file tranfer service WeTransfer; a member of the International Astronautical Federation; a member of Women in Aerospace, a United Nations Advisor to the UN VR (Virtual Reality) labs, an advisory board member at AIGA (American Institute for Graphic Arts) in Los Angeles, and a keynote speaker speaking worldwide about her experiential practice. In 2014, Wired Magazine awards Dr. Nelly Ben Hayoun with a WIRED Innovation fellowship for her work to date and for its potential to make a “significant impact on the world”. Dr. Ben Hayoun is the author and director of two feature length movies (the International Space Orchestra and Disaster Playground). She was awarded one of the UK largest artistic awards, The Arts Council England Exceptional Award for her feature-length movie Disaster Playground, nominated for SXSW vision award in 2015 and available on Netflix North America. Nelly assembled and directs the International Space Orchestra (ISO) – the world first orchestra of space scientists and astronauts from NASA and through this has collaborated with Grammy award-winning musicians such as Beck, Damon Albarn, Bobby Womack, The Prodigy, Penguin Café, Ed Banger Records, Savages and most recently Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós. Nelly and her studios have also worked and consulted for the likes of world-class clients including NASA, BBC, Lego, XL Recordings, MINI, Converse and Mattel amongst many others.
Nelly received her MA with distinction from the Royal College of Arts in Design Interactions, she holds a Ph.D in Geography (Human geography and political philosophy) from Royal Holloway, University of London. In 2016, she was awarded with Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London Teaching award.