UX Cake
UX Cake
Jan 21, 2019
Designing The Impossible with Nelly Ben Hayoun
Play • 37 min

Ep #26: This week we are talking about designing the impossible, with Dr. Nelly Ben Hyoun, founder and experience designer of Nelly Ben Hayoun Studios in London. They create large scale, extreme experiences like being an astronaut, or erupting volcanos, or recreating natural disasters, for organizations as diverse as Nasa, the European Space Agency, Google, Mattel, Nike, Lego, the list goes on and on. So designing impossible things is just part of every day for Nelly and her teams — and even though it sounds kind of wonderful and magical, maybe the end result is magical but the process is what she calls Brutal. And for her, that is a critical aspect of anything that is good design - there has to be contention or friction in creating something meaningful, what you get from a plurality of thinking, through a multi-disciplinary team.

Besides creating magnificent experiences at Nelly Ben Hayoun Studios, she’s also founded the University of the Underground in London, created an international Space Orchestra, recently completed a feature film about political theorist Hannah Arendt, she’s currently a Visiting Professor at the Royal College of Art, and that’s just a few of the things she’s up to. And next up, she’ll be working on becoming a mermaid…


The beautiful song “Mermaids" by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

Hannah Arendt 

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) taught political science and philosophy at The New School for Social Research in New York and the University of Chicago, widely acclaimed as a brilliant and original thinker, and author.

​The Human Condition, by Hannah Arendt 


Thinking Without a Banister: Essays in Understanding

by Hannah Arendt

Nelly Ben Hayoun - Films (from ImDB)

I am (not) a monster (Documentary) 2019 

Disaster Playground (Documentary) 2015 

The International Space Orchestra (Documentary) 2013

The sport of being a mermaid

Yes it’s true - swimming like a mermaid is an 'extreme sport.’ You’re welcome.

Follow Nelly



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