Zeina Koreitem, John May named “emerging designers to watch” by The Architect’s Newspaper

Jack Erwin Flagship Store (2018), New York City, designed by MILLIØNS. Photo by Ned Castle.

John May and Zeina Koreitem of MILLIØNS. Photo by Ned Castle.
John May and Zeina Koreitem of MILLIØNS. Photo by Ned Castle.

“Who are the names you need to know? Who are the designers to watch?” asked The Architect’s Newspaper for a recent feature on the profession’s up-and-coming talent. Among the six designers selected are the Harvard Graduate School of Design’s Zeina Koreitem and John May, faculty in the Department of Architecture and co-founders of Los Angeles–based MILLIØNS.

The article surveys some of the firm’s recent work, including “Bathing, Again,” a furniture set designed earlier this year for an exhibition at Friedman Benda gallery in New York City. Its 3-D printed communal washbasin surrounded by a series of thermally-radiant stone slabs offers a contemporary interpretation of the pre-modern idea of bathing as an extended social event.

"Bathing, Again" (2018). Photo by Ned Castle.
“Bathing, Again” (2018). Photo by Ned Castle.

Also mentioned are a few of the pair’s forthcoming projects, including the exhibition “Under Present Conditions” (2019), recipient of a 2018 grant from the Graham Foundation. The show will approach modernist typological inventions through a contemporary lens, highlighting some of the investigations, texts, and design speculations produced by MILLIØNS.

Among other recent projects, Koreitem also published an interview feature with Carolyn L. Kane in the September 2018 issue of Project. Koreitem’s conversation with Kane, a historian of color, touches on color through multiple registers and across multiple disciplines: color as synthetic, color as computational, and color as taboo, feminine, and other. With color as an entry point, they take up the dichotomy between the technical and the subjective, and how computational media, with its priorities of efficiency and workflow optimization, might still allow room for experimentation within representation. The feature also provides an opportunity for Koreitem and Kane to discuss design research and the dynamics of architectural representation.

MILLIØNS, "Projectors 1," as featured in the September issue of "Project"
MILLIØNS, “Projectors 1,” as featured in the September issue of “Project”

Speaking about her practice at MILLIØNS, Koreitem explains, “Generally, our work breaks down into two kinds of explorations and there is not an easy or simple relationship between the two, although both are experimental and exploratory—the first might be understood as ‘proto-architectural,’ in which we insulate the experiments and objects from a whole series of ‘real’ considerations: scale, life, social, and political histories. We do that so that we can focus on certain unavoidable technical conditions, in order to disrupt or dis-invent the workflows or routines that to some extent determine digital culture in architecture today.

“We always find ourselves asking, in some way or another: how can we work with images, rather than on images?”

At the GSD, Koreitem is as Design Critic in Architecture and May is Director of the Master in Design Studies Program and Assistant Professor of Architecture. May also co-edited the GSD’s Platform 10: Live Feed publication and exhibition.

Koreitem and May, both graduates of the GSD, are joined on the Architect’s Newspaper list by alumna Alda Ly (MArch ’10) of Alda Ly Architecture & Design.