Alexis Hope Discusses Sexual Health, Bacteria in Design, and More

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Dr. Alexis Hope, an experimental designer and co-founder of focused.space, is known for her ability to create playful experiences that bring joy, self-compassion, and connection to others. Her focus is on designing spaces that promote artistic freedom, exploration, and community support. Currently serving as Chief Product Officer at focused.space, Alexis helps people achieve their personal, professional, and creative goals in a supportive community.

With a decade of experience at MIT and a PhD from the MIT Media Lab, Alexis has worked on a wide range of design projects. These include developing cameras for deep-sea exploration, creating learning technologies for children, designing tools for use in zero-gravity environments, and even improving breast pumps. Her work extends to the medical field as well, where she has contributed to the development of low-cost ultrasound machines for prenatal care in resource-limited areas. Alexis is a 2023 United States Artists Fellow in the field of Art & Design.

In addition to her design work, Alexis is also a musician. She sings and writes songs for two bands, Calico Beach Party and Double Bitch. Music is a passion for her, allowing her to tap into her creativity and find a sense of peace and escape while performing.

Alexis values a fluid approach to her work and personal life. She draws inspiration from diverse sources and takes time for activities such as long walks or engaging in meaningful conversations with strangers. Her work at focused.space allows her to maintain flexibility while still making progress towards her goals and commitments.

For the Friday Five, Alexis shares five sources of inspiration that captivate her. These include:

1. “Sexual Healing” by Nienke Helder: A project that challenges the narrative around sexual trauma and healing by offering sensory objects to help individuals find pleasure again after a traumatic experience.

2. “Feminist Designer” by Ali Place: A book that brings together designers from around the world to explore the intersection of design and feminist theory, offering a fresh perspective on the role of design in shaping culture.

3. Amino Labs: A company founded by Alexis’ friend, Julie, that encourages creativity with biology. They provide educational materials and kits for people to explore the possibilities of engineering new smells, pigments, biomaterials, and medicines using bacteria.

4. “Illuminate” by Chelsi Alise Cocking: An interactive art piece that brings movement to life in a space, created by artist and designer Chelsi Alise Cocking. Her experimental approach serves as a reminder of the importance of play in building a strong design practice.

5. Reversible Bracelet by Biba Schutz: Alexis’ cousin, Biba, is a jewelry designer in her 70s who combines playfulness with technical expertise. One of her most popular creations is a reversible chainmail cuff with a magnetic closure, showcasing her innovative design skills.

These sources of inspiration reflect Alexis’ eclectic and boundary-pushing approach to design. Through her work and personal pursuits, Alexis continues to leave a lasting impact in the worlds of art, design, and beyond.

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