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Visualizing tomorrow.

Actualizing today.




Founder of the MLL DESIGN LAB

Design/Artist Statement

By primarily working with moving image, painting, and book creation, my practice as a speculative design artist blurs the boundary between art and design. At the core of my work is focus on architectural intervention that disrupts the status quo to awaken new possibility. My creative process asks “What if…”, through my art that transforms design fiction into design potential. In FilmSense (moving image), a building becomes camera as it (re)presents nature by photographing its experience into human memory. In Oceana (moving image), the sea is (dis)placed as a pavilion that awakens human compassion for this deeply hidden realm. In BioBuilding (moving image), an architecture syncs with human biorhythms to rejuvenate human vitality – making hospitals unnecessary. In Approach (painting), an architecture spans the horizon to evoke questions and pose answers about the blurring boundaries between built and natural environments. And in Deepening Perception (book), each page is a progressive immersion into artistic levels of seeing for the ultimate design of built form. My growing body of work is a continual exploration into the art and design of poetic awakening through environments that spark a brighter future for the next evolution of humanity.


Maria Lorena Lehman is a visionary designer, artist, and author focusing on links between environmental design, science, and emerging technologies. Lehman is founder of the MLL Design Lab, LLC, and is author of the award-winning book entitled, Adaptive Sensory Environments. ArchDaily describes Maria Lorena Lehman as “one of the leading experts on delivering exceptional occupant experience through smart building design”. Her work attracts an international audience as it bridges between theory and application to unlock what environments can do to benefit people in innovative ways.

Lehman holds the degrees of Master in Design with Distinction from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and a Bachelor of Architecture, Cum Laude, from Virginia Tech. Lehman is recipient of the Harvard University Digital Design Prize for the “most creative use of digital media in relation to the design profession”. While at Harvard University, Lehman worked to innovate healing environments by researching at the nexus of architectural technology, digital media, and neuroscience within the Harvard Graduate School of Design, House_n. Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the Neuroscience Department of the Harvard Medical School.

Maria Lorena Lehman is internationally published and in numerous periodicals, including The Architect's Journal, Esquisses Magazine, Architect Magazine, and Forbes. Currently, her work looks for new ways environments can uplift quality of life by innovating experience through multi-sensory design, adaptive design, and emerging design process tools, strategies, and methods. At the heart of her work is a motivation to push the role of the environment into more proactive realms that empower people to thrive and achieve fulfillment at their highest potential. Maria Lorena Lehman has a vision for how interdisciplinary findings and innovations can converge together with creative and forward-thinking design processes to unlock more nurturing environmental futures. With ability to think and design "beyond the box", Maria Lorena Lehman unlocks new visionary possibilities for environments to inspire, amaze, and delight in ways not experienced before.


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Adaptive Sensory Environments by Maria Lorena Lehman

Winner of a Silver Medal
Nautilus Book Award

Adaptive Sensory Environments by Maria Lorena Lehman won a Silver Medal Nautilus Book Award in the Creative Process category. The book presents “a cutting-edge methodology for adaptive sensory design by fostering an inter-disciplinary approach in which aspects of neuroscience, biophilia, captology, nanotechnology, kinetics, and sensemaking all play critical roles in helping adaptive architecture ‘tune’ to occupants.” Established in the US in 1998, the annual Nautilus Book Awards recognize books in the genre of social and environmental justice. Previous winners include Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, Eckhart Tolle, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.



"Maria Lorena Lehman has established a formidable international reputation. She examines how technology, nature, learning from other design sectors and many other aspects can harness benefits for occupants and in this way transform architectural design."

Dr. Derek Clements-Croome
Professor Emeritus, School of the Built Environment
Reading University, United Kingdom

"After being in architecture both academically and within the industry for over 20 years, I feel as though what Maria Lorena Lehman teaches brings to light long lost and forgotten components, secrets, and keys to creating hi-functionality and attentive design. Something computers don’t often provide when the designer is in the trenches."

5-Star Review

"I was challenged with learning how to touch the soul through environmental design. Since learning from Maria Lorena Lehman, I now understand how through design beauty is not only seen with our physical senses, but also with our soul and spirit."

Deyanira Khouri, Architect

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