Brooklyn-based experiential designer Jennifer Whitney was just announced as NA Collective‘s new Creative Director. Prior to joining NA Collective, Whitney worked for Refinery29, where she collaborated on the popular 29Rooms experience (images below). NA Collective’s Founding Partner and Chief Creative Officer, Chiara Adin, says, “We were drawn to Jennifer’s ability to bridge gaps in culture, technology and lifestyle when building experiences. As we continue to work with brands to push the boundaries with adventurous activations, we are thrilled to have her on board and bring new levels of thinking to how marketers approach experiential.”
Name: Jennifer Whitney
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Design school attended: Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)
How would you describe your work?
Colorful, informed, thoughtful.
Where do you find inspiration?
I often feel inspired by emerging artists in sculpture and in painting. I love seeing how they explore and manipulate materials in new ways. There’s a good deal of overlap between fine art and design in the experiential space currently, and it’s exciting to see that being embraced.
Who are some of your favorite designers or artists?
Alexander Girard, Robert Therrien, Tara Donovan, Walter De Maria, Robert Irwin, Donald Judd, Imi Knoebel, Sol LeWitt, Richard Serra, Dan Flavin, Keith Sonnier… I could keep going.
Do you have a favorite among all the projects you’ve worked on?
29Rooms – I loved the momentum that resulted from creating a space for emerging artists; to see brands give them a platform through partnership was also really exciting.
Is there a project that stands out to you as having been the biggest challenge of your career so far?
29Rooms stands out as my largest project completed to date, but when I was at David Stark Design some of the most exciting projects were for financial companies. They were open to out of the box solutions; the challenge was taking a subject like “Volatility” and translating it into decor that told a story.
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
I hope to continue to create experiences that inspire others and are at the forefront of our industry. I am most interested in working with companies who want their brand to tell a narrative and connect with their audience in an authentic way that’s true to their own brand story.
What’s your best advice for designers today?
Embrace process. In an age where we are saturated with information and have endless access to inspiration and imagery, it is critical to keep questioning. Try not to hide behind the excuse that you think it’s all been done before – the truth is it hasn’t. I believe the only space left to be truly original is within your own process, so keep making!