Funny Like Natalia Ilyin


We knew she was blonde, not so fond of Modernism, and could get fired up after a cheese Danish or two. But we didn’t know Natalia Ilyin was drop dead hilarious.

Watching her presentation “Beyond ‘good’ design principles” at the Schools of Thoughts conference all we could think is, “Damn, this chick needs a talk show.” She opened with a story about being a human dress form for Capezio when she was broke in NY that was so full of earnestness we wanted to go have a beer with her at that moment to hear more.

She painted a great picture of design as similar to society or a city, with increasingly complex levels of interaction, but it’s the little explanatory nuggets she dropped in there that made it so awesome. Example: “Design is a big mush of dog hair and we’re stuck in the middle of it.” Makes total sense. Her advice for those trying to move back and forth from generalist to specialist? “Even good designers end up in the loony bin,” she said with total seriousness. “I would know.” We doubted it, but we couldn’t stop laughing.