Who We Are…
Director of Elio Studio
Leonora Oppenheim is a design storyteller, which is a neat way of saying she turns complex information into engaging narratives. Using both her design and writing skills, she specialises in crafting tales about social & environmental innovation.
In short, she’s passionate about provoking discussion and debate through creativity.
From working on plans for a chocolate factory with cacao farmers in the Ecuadorian Amazon to reporting on biogas toilets from the mountains of northern Ethiopia, Leonora has many a tale to tell of her adventurous and inspiring encounters with creative minds around the world.
Having started her career working for celebrated designers such as Thomas Heatherwick, Marcel Wanders and Atelier Van Lieshout, Leonora is now the director of her own studio, crafting narratives in collaboration with architects, designers, curators and scientists. Together their creative projects promote engaging conversations around social and environmental issues in public spaces.
Currently Leonora is pouring her efforts into Creative Data, an initiative that communicates data and research to the public through interactive design exhibitions and creative learning projects.
Leonora also regularly puts finger to key to tell epic tales of design derring and sustainability do for various online and print publications.
Leonora has worked on:
Design installations for: Bioregional (UK), University of East Anglia (UK), Castel Veciana(Spain), Niall O’Flynn (Spain), Marcel Wanders (NL), Atelier Van Lieshout (NL), Thomas Heatherwick (UK).
Consultancy projects for: Think Public (UK), Pop Up Festival (UK), Ellen MacArthur Foundation, (UK), Global Generation (UK), Futerra (UK), Ben Weaver Associates (UK), Jane Withers (UK),Lightning Fast (UK), Tabeisa (UK/Africa), Nick Hancock Design Studio (UK), D-Squared Design(UK), Architecture for Humanity (US), The Kallari Association (Ecuador)
Leonora has lived and worked variously in Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Barcelona, New York and Quito. These days she’s based in London, but continues to explore both locally and globally.
Leonora relishes any opportunity to step away from the keyboard and welcomes invitations to share her design adventures in person. She has presented at various wonderful places including: Royal College of Art (Jan 2013), British Museum (Feb 2011) Imperial College (Oct 2010) Cineforum – The Road to Ecotopia (Dec 2009), HEC Social Business Conference Paris (May 2009), Pecha Kucha Barcelona (Nov 2008), Grand Designs Live (Oct 2008), Birmingham City University’s Big Debate (Sept 2008).
Anna Maria Orru
Sustainable Design Architect + Environmental Researcher
Anna Maria Orru has over nine years experience working as an architect both in the UK and abroad. Between 2006 and 2008 she worked with Grimshaw on a range of projects including the Bournemouth Winter Gardens Arts Centre, the UCL Cancer Research Institute, the LSE School of Management, and the Bioreactor Plant for the Quinn Glass Facility.
Prior to Grimshaw she gained valuable site experience working on the Angel Town Regeneration Scheme which won the Building for Life – the Gold Standard Award in 2006 with Anne Thorne Architects Partnership. She has also had the opportunity to work beside Shigeru Ban on the Centre Pompidou Metz.
She is a passionate advocate of environmentally sustainable design and has carried out research in this subject area throughout her career. She worked with Ove Arup & Partner’s ‘Foresight and Innovation Team’, which resulted in her research being published in ‘ARUP: Drivers of Change 2006’ (GG). While at Grimshaw, she was involved in setting up and managing the Green R&D group that sourced new ideas and technologies that could influence sustainable architecture.
Anna Maria and Leonora are currently collaborating on an innovative packaging project which aims to readdress the value of waste.
Director of Nick Hancock Design Studio
Born and trained in Australia, Nick came to the UK in 1997 having already worked for some of Australia’s top practices. Once in the UK, he worked on a variety of projects developing his specialisms in complex geometry and lightweight steel structures, before joining Richard Rogers Partnership from 1999- 2004 where he worked on landmark buildings in the UK and around the world, becoming a senior designer and working on numerous award-winning schemes.
Nick left RRP in 2004 in order to go freelance and moved to Barcelona, Spain, but continued to work closely with the practice, consulting for RRP and later with RSHP on projects including the Las Arenas bullring renovation in Barcelona, the World Trade Center in New York, and a high-end private residence in Singapore.
Demand for Nick’s services has been so great that in January 2008 he moved back to London and launched Nick Hancock Design Studio, a small architectural practice based in Primrose Hill, enabling him to provide high-quality design solutions to a wider range of clients, both in the UK and internationally.
In August 2008 Nick invited Leonora to work on the Flying Bridge proposal to advise on the environmental aspects of the project.
Film, Video + Theatre
Tailormade Productions aims to create compelling productions across film, video and theatre, using collaborative and imaginative storytelling techniques.
Tailormade Productions is made up of Brek Taylor, Clare Tinsley and Elizabeth Mitchell and together they work as a writing/producing/directing team.
Productions include the live action and theatre video show ‘Recruitment Stars’, the Film London sponsored short film ‘Dead Bird’, the interactive vidcast ‘Alex Leap’, and ‘Ruth’s Tooth’, a short film using a combination of live action, puppetry and prosthetics. Currently, alongside developing the animated short ‘The Shipping Forecast’ and the collaborative theatre project ‘Set-Up’, the team are about to go into production on their first feature film ‘The Sea Change’.
Chris is a freelance illustrator and designer from Ireland. He has been working in London as an illustrator for the past 5 years. In 2007 Chris was named as one of TIME magazine’s DESIGN 100 list alongside many of the worlds best known designers and architects for the work he has been doing for Fair Trade and People Tree.
As well as his freelance work he has also taught illustration in Ireland / Hong Kong/ Korea and India . He taught a 3 week course at Srishti in Bangalore, India and gave several talks throughout 2008 at theSociety of illustrators Institute in Seoul, Korea. Chris has also created and given two different 10 week courses in design and Illustration in DLIADT in Dublin Ireland. He is represented in the UK by Eyecandy. Représenté en France par comillus.com
Anthony Dickens has been running his London-based product and furniture design studio for eleven years.
The essence of Anthony’s design is driven by a desire to create simple yet functionally innovative and thought-provoking objects. He discovers new ways to express traditionally designed objects, subverting archetypal forms and re-imagining the everyday things that surround us.
For example, creating a clock that expresses time in a more natural and representative way by displaying it in a linear fashion rather than a circular motion, or updating an Anglepoise task light to reflect today’s way of working on illuminated computer screens.
He divides his output between domestic and commercial product design.
Domestic products include the ‘Origami’ table range (Elle Decoration Award for best table), the Anglepoise ‘Fifty’ light (shortlisted for the Design Museum’s Brit Insurance Product of the Year) and the recently-launched ‘Around’ clock for Lexon.
Victoria Brooks is a Sustainability Communications Strategist consulting with global companies, organisations and NGOs on the development of sustainability stories that inspire change. With over 15 years in the communications industry, Victoria has worked with a range of clients including Sony Europe, PPR Group (Gucci, McQueen, Puma), Tesco, Kew Gardens and WWF, developing powerful communication of their sustainability messaging. In a five-year partnership with Sony Europe, she has Executive Produced a documentary for National Geographic, produced a series of viral films and originated an award winning digital crowdsourcing platform, Open Planet Ideas with WWF and IDEO.
Critic, Curator, Writer & Sometime Academic
I do: architecture and design; art criticism; cultural theory; food and drink, particularly breakfast and cocktails; classics and classical reception, especially Latin literature and aesthetics; eighteenth-century French literature.