A director of the First-Year Curriculum (Studios), and a BFA Art, Media, and Technology faculty member, Francesca Bonesio likes to emphasize the ability to adapt in her classroom. No matter what industry or discipline students go on to pursue, if they can’t keep up with rapidly evolving industries and technologies, they can’t thrive as creative leaders. “What’s really fantastic about this current moment is that it’s very challenging because we need to adapt all the time,” says Bonesio. “At the same time, it's very inspiring.”
Bonesio has demonstrated adaptability and versatility in her own career as an architect and artist. She got her start studying in Belgium, the United States, and Italy; obtained her PhD in Architecture at Politecnico di Torino; and eventually became the
art director of PRIMA, a micro-architecture foundation based in France.
Regularly featured by international press outlets and exhibited throughout Europe, Bonesio’s work transcends traditional boundaries between formal architecture and artistic expression. Her work isn’t just thoughtfully considered; it’s purpose driven.
In 2009, Bonesio co-founded Atelier 37.2, a human-centered design firm—named for the average temperature of human beings in degrees Celsius—that aims to challenge sustainability practices in art and design. Often working with discarded objects,
Bonesio and her team design experiences that invite people to build new relationships with their surroundings. Atelier 37.2 regularly consults with the luxury industry on disruptive sustainable design solutions, creating work that’s meant to “stimulate
one’s imagination instead of shaping it.”
In a way, Bonesio brings this philosophy to the First-Year Curriculum as well. Designed as a period of exploration and interdisciplinary discovery, the first year is meant to challenge assumptions and push students out of their comfort zones. “In the
classroom, we always try to guide students to understand how their design choices have meaning,” Bonesio says. She strives to convey the idea that making, in any field, requires thoughtful iteration and process. Developing those skills is essential
for becoming a designer for the 21st century. “I really encourage first-year students to work on low-tech and hands-on projects because that relationship of making to thinking, of how we put things together, find the meaning behind techniques, and
see the effect of our choices in the design process is very important,” she explains.
Reflecting on the future, Bonesio says she’s heartened by what she sees in the classroom. “I always enjoy seeing how students, even with such diverse backgrounds, have something in common. And that common thing, to me, is a very sweet vision of the future.
I think it's inspiring and a good sign.”