Surface Summer School

Dror Benshetrit’s Passion-Based Design Philosophy

Speaking about his own desire to bring ecological harmony to architecture and design, Benshetrit urged students to focus on things that are meaningful.

Dror Benshetrit, the founder of Studio Dror and SuperNature Labs, spoke to the students at Stuart Weitzman School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania as part of the Surface Summer School lecture series. The students are in the midst of a competition to design a mobile testing unit for COVID-19.

Takeaways: Benshetrit recanted his own journey after graduation and how he learned to manifest his experiences into his multidisciplinary work, which runs the gamut from small product design to large architectural projects. For instance, his signature Peacock Chair was born out of a breakup. “It left a strong duality in me in terms of what it means to be vulnerable and also gather strength,” he said, comparing the feeling to a peacock’s colorful plumage which is used to both scare off predators and attract a mate.

More recently, moving outside of New York City to help remedy his then-pregnant wife’s insomnia sparked a new relationship with nature and a fresh outlook on eco-consciousness that led him to launch Supernature Labs. “Today, our most important task as architects, designers, policy makers, [and more] is shifting from sustainability to ecological harmony,” he said. “We have to think about our problems holistically and comprehensively, and look at the built environment as a whole.” He advised students to concentrate on the things that are meaningful to them as they embark on their careers. “Your curiosity is what is going to make the world a better place.” 

See the full schedule for the lecture series.

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