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Episode 60: Yasmine Mahmoudieh

“Making Architecture Materially Different,” with Yasmine Mahmoudieh, Founder, Principal, Yasmine Mahmoudieh Design

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EPISODE SUMMARY

Yasmine Mahmoudieh is an award winning architect on a mission to shift the way the building industry uses materials. She has designed landmark office buildings and interiors, such as the German headquarters of Aon, and has been at the vanguard of a more individual approach to hotel and leisure sector developments, working on acclaimed buildings and interiors for Radisson, Kempinski and InterContinental as many others. In Episode 60 of the NXTLVL Experience Design podcast – “Making Architecture Materially Different” host David Kepron and Yasmine talk about designing a future with new materials in mind.

EPISODE NOTES

ABOUT YASMINE MAHMOUDIEH:

Yasmine’s LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/yasminemahmoudieh/

Websites

Email

design@mahmoudieh.com

Twitter

BIO:

Yasmine Mahmoudieh, an acclaimed architect, designer, and tech entrepreneur, is internationally recognized for groundbreaking designs and an unwavering commitment to sustainability. Her work has earned her numerous international design awards, including the prestigious Global Sustainability Award in 2022 for her contributions to architecture and design in hospitality. With an illustrious career spanning prestigious institutions, she serves as a visiting professor at renowned establishments such as EHL Hotel School and Institut Paul Bocuse, inspiring emerging talents in the field.

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Additionally, Mahmoudieh is a sought-after speaker, lecturing around the world on hotel architecture, design, and development. She has even been invited to speak at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, focusing on the critical subject of sustainability in architecture and design.

Mahmoudieh seamlessly integrates modern technologies with traditional design principles, crafting captivating and immersive spaces that engage all senses.

As a prominent global ambassador for eco-conscious practices, she pioneers sustainable construction techniques, utilizing recycled plastics through 3D printing and exploring mycelium as a substitute for traditional building materials.

With an unwavering passion for harmonizing functionality, aesthetics, and sustainability, Mahmoudieh continues to shape the future of architecture and design with her profound influence and visionary approach.

SHOW INTRO: 

Welcome to episode 60 of the NXTLVL Experience Design podcast.

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This season will be no different than the previous ones where we continue to have great discussions with visionary leaders from various industries and professions.

These dynamic dialogues based on our acronym DATA – design, architecture, technology, and the arts crosses over disciplines but maintains a common thread of people who are passionate about the world we live in and human’s influence on it, the ways we craft the built environment to maximize human experience, increasing our understanding of human behavior and searching for the New Possible.

As usual, thanks go to VMSD magazine and Smartwork Media.

VMSD is the publisher of VMSD magazine and brings us, in the brand experience world, the International Retail Design Conference. The IRDC is one of the best retail design conferences that there is bringing together the world of retailers, brands and experience place makers every year for two days of engaging conversations and pushing the discourse forward on what makes retailing relevant.

You will find the archive of the NXTLVL Experience Design podcast on VMSD.com.

Thanks also goes to Shop Association the only global retail trade association dedicated to elevating the in-store experience.

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SHOP Association represents companies and affiliates from 25 countries and brings value to their members through research, networking, education, events and awards. Check then out on SHOPAssociation.org

In a minute, we’ll dig into my discussion with Yasmine Mahmoudieh – architect, designer, and tech entrepreneur, who is internationally recognized for ground breaking designs and an unwavering commitment to sustainability.

But first a few thoughts to set up our talk…

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I remember back in 2009 going to see the movie Avatar.

The narrative followed a typical story of white man’s colonization and subjugation of an indigenous peoples – this time on Pandora – a planet light years away from earth  – because presumably we had succeeded in trashing our own planet and had gone off to exploit the natural resources of another.

There were multiple other themes written into the script but in principle it dealt with what I would characterize as corporate greed and the decimation of natural landscapes an indigenous peoples.

The singular motivation to mining the planet’s natural resources?… the billions of dollars of revenue for a large corporation who was mining a natural resource called “unobtanium.”

Naturally the corporation militarized their operations under the guise that the 10 foot tall blue-skinned sapient humanoid indigenous peoples called the Na’vi – as well as the flora a fauna were… lethal.

Another re-telling of big bad corporations exercising their power over a helpless people by flexing their military muscle with sociopathic leaders with a bent for murderous behavior.

And adding insult to narrative injury, there was the denial of science and the well intentioned initiatives of creating Avatars of the Na’vi where humans could transfer consciousness into alien bodies cultivated in an enormous incubation chamber, that would then animate and go out among the native beings and infiltrate their community with the intention of learning more about them.

OK… So this is a story that we’re pretty familiar with.

Notwithstanding the re-telling of a narrative we all know, James Cameron the director, brough the theater-going public compelling visualizations of an imaginary verdant jungle-like environment. On the big screen of a movie theater it was immersive and realistic.

I’d say that for a while Avatar was a superb example of the use computer generated imagery that brought viewers into the experience of a distant world.

Ok, so as not to get bogged down with the nasty-self-serving-humans part of the story …

…one of the key feature of this world was the Home Tree (which the humans eventually destroyed as well).

Ok sorry I had to add that in…

Home Tree – and all other tress for that matter – created an eco-system, an integrated network, that was connected underground.

For the Na’vi people, Eywa was the living deity but not in the physical form humans would have expected.

Eywa was a biological sentient guiding force of life and was physicalized through a network of plants, trees and other wildlife that stretched across Pandora. Eywa acted to maintain equilibrium among all things.

Now… the obvious connection to be drawn here is the idea that our earth is a massive ecosystem and that there is an urgent need for our collective understanding that everything in this ecosystem works as a complex set of interdependencies.

Everything is connected to everything.

Our life energy is intimately intertwined with the planet’s natural resources. We are from the earth. Though, I believe, many often see themselves as separated from it.

I seem to have been having an increasing number of conversation with people where one of the things we end up returning to is sustainability. What the building industry does in negative ways to the environment and by consequence us, emotionally and physically.

The conversation is encompassing straight up building practice, materials and finishes and what the CO2 contribution is to the planet when we build things, anything.

Not a good thing for the environment and by extension not a good thing for us.

and… what the effect of the building typologies has to do with our emotional well-being – a field called Neuroaesthetics – how he built environment affects us at a mind-body level.

The sea of sameness and a building stock of overwhelming banality can undermine a sense of well-being. We are born experience expectant and our brains love novelty. The brain isn’t fond of being bored.

And yet, many of our urban environments are monotonous.

So not only is the building industry responsible for about 40% of the CO2 in the atmosphere contributing to the global climate problem, the buildings we are putting into the environment are, from the neuroaesthetics point of view, often not contributing to our sense of wellbeing since they often create city blocks that area mundane.

This is where my guest Yasmine Mahmoudieh enters the scene.

Her work has earned her numerous international design awards, including the prestigious Global Sustainability Award in 2022 for her contributions to architecture and design in hospitality.

With an illustrious career spanning prestigious institutions, she serves as a visiting professor at renowned establishments such as EHL Hotel School and Institut Paul Bocuse, inspiring emerging talents in the field.

Mahmoudieh seamlessly integrates modern technologies with traditional design principles, crafting captivating and immersive spaces that engage all senses.

With an unwavering passion for harmonizing functionality, aesthetics, and sustainability, Mahmoudieh continues to shape the future of architecture and design with her profound influence and visionary approach.

So why the whole description of the movie Avatar and undergound connections between trees and other forest plants?

Because that idea directly aligns with the emerging use of mycillium. What is mycelium?

Mycellium is tubular thread of cells that spread through the soil underground and connects the roots of plants to one another. It is like the earth’s natural internet. Everything is connected…

Why would understanding the portential use of Mycellium as a building material be important ?

Well… it is a naturally occurring substance and research suggests that it has a positive effect on enhancing immune strength.

As a prominent global ambassador for eco-conscious practices, Yasmine Mahmoudieh pioneers sustainable construction techniques, utilizing recycled plastics through 3D printing

and exploring mycelium as a substitute for traditional building materials.

The Na’vi and Eywa had something goin’ on. And humans just bulldozed it all in search for a rock in the ground. A familiar story with tragic outcomes.

I think that the more we turn to ancient indigenous traditions, understand them and perhaps augment them with modern science, the more we may find solutions to some of the more profound eco challenges we now face.

ABOUT DAVID KEPRON:

LinkedIn Profile: linkedin.com/in/david-kepron-9a1582b

Websites: 

https://www.davidkepron.com    (personal website)

vmsd.com/taxonomy/term/8645  (Blog)

Email: david.kepron@NXTLVLexperiencedesign.com

Twitter: DavidKepron

Personal Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/davidkepron/

NXTLVL Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nxtlvl_experience_design/

Bio:

David Kepron is a multifaceted creative professional with a deep curiosity to understand ‘why’, ‘what’s now’ and ‘what’s next’. He brings together his background as an architect, artist, educator, author, podcast host and builder to the making of meaningful and empathically-focused, community-centric customer connections at brand experience places around the globe.

David is a former VP – Global Design Strategies at Marriott International. While at Marriott, his focus was on the creation of compelling customer experiences within Marriott’s “Premium Distinctive” segment which included: Westin, Renaissance, Le Meridien, Autograph Collection, Tribute Portfolio, Design Hotels and Gaylord hotels.

In 2020 Kepron founded NXTLVL Experience Design, a strategy and design consultancy, where he combines his multidisciplinary approach to the creation of relevant brand engagements with his passion for social and cultural anthropology, neuroscience and emerging digital technologies.

As a frequently requested international speaker at corporate events and international conferences focusing on CX, digital transformation, retail, hospitality, emerging technology, David shares his expertise on subjects ranging from consumer behaviors and trends, brain science and buying behavior, store design and visual merchandising, hotel design and strategy as well as creativity and innovation. In his talks, David shares visionary ideas on how brand strategy, brain science and emerging technologies are changing guest expectations about relationships they want to have with brands and how companies can remain relevant in a digitally enabled marketplace.

David currently shares his experience and insight on various industry boards including: VMSD magazine’s Editorial Advisory Board, the Interactive Customer Experience Association, Sign Research Foundation’s Program Committee as well as the Center For Retail Transformation at George Mason University.

He has held teaching positions at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.), the Department of Architecture & Interior Design of Drexel University in Philadelphia, the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising (L.I.M.) in New York, the International Academy of Merchandising and Design in Montreal and he served as the Director of the Visual Merchandising Department at LaSalle International Fashion School (L.I.F.S.) in Singapore.

In 2014 Kepron published his first book titled: “Retail (r)Evolution: Why Creating Right-Brain Stores Will Shape the Future of Shopping in a Digitally Driven World” and he is currently working on his second book to be published soon. David also writes a popular blog called “Brain Food” which is published monthly on vmsd.com.

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The next level experience design podcast is presented by VMSD magazine and Smartwork Media. It is hosted and executive produced by David Kepron. Our original music and audio production by Kano Sound. 

The content of this podcast is copyright to David Kepron and NXTLVL Experience Design. Any publication or rebroadcast of the content is prohibited without the expressed written consent of David Kepron and NXTLVL Experience Design.

Make sure to tune in for more NXTLVL “Dialogues on DATA: Design Architecture Technology and the Arts” wherever you find your favorite podcasts and make sure to visit vmsd.com and look for the tab for the NXTLVL Experience Design podcast there too.

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