This November is TedX in Santa Barbara and we are so excited to announce that our designer, Lori Dennis, will be on stage speaking about the potential that design and furnishings’ have on bringing us closer to ending homelessness. Learn more about the event here. In preparation, we thought we’d share some of the best Ted talks on the impact of design and building on the blog today. So go beyond the aesthetics and luxury of interior design and architecture and watch these 10 incredible thinkers on design’s impact:

1. Sarah Murray: A Playful Design Solution

Born out of frustration that architects and designers only catered to luxury markets, Sarah Murray designed a video game for homeowners to custom build their own homes and have them delivered to them. She’s on a mission to democratize custom designed homes.

2. John Cary: How Architecture Can Create Dignity for All

Architect John Cary has figured out the solution to shortening the line in women’s restrooms and making hospital rooms more comfortable for women in labor: diversity in design. He recognizes that a lack of diversity in design can lead to thoughtless, compassionless bathrooms.

3. Michael Murphy: Architecture that’s Built to Heal

Architect Michael Murphy wants to replicate the model of local food markets for local building in the areas that need it most: Rwanda, Haiti.

4. Alejandro Aravena: On Bringing the Community Into the Process

Incredible architect Alejandro Aravena does something designers almost never do: check their ego at the door and share the lessons learned from their mistakes. He implemented a plan combat homelessness in Chile, then worked with the community moving in to continue evolving and amending his initial plans.

5. Moshe Safdie: On Reinventing the Apartment Building

Architect Moshe Safdie recognizes the unsustainability of the suburbs due to high density, but strives to do away with the typical high-rise model of apartment-building living. He prioritizes a connection with the outdoors so that his plans involve openness and lots of light.

6. James Howard Kunstler: On the Tragedy of the American Suburb

Kunstler’s takes a comical approach to discussing such a cynical topic – the way the public and communities have been fractured by the expanding acceptance of suburbs sprawl as the primary areas we live and why that idea came to be and how permeable, public spaces are key to creating a country worth caring about.

7. Yves Behar: On Designing Objects that Tell Stories

Product designer Yves Behar offers insight into design thinking and what it means to tell stories through the design of everyday objects.

  1. Ross Lovegrove: Organic Design Inspired by Nature

Lovegrove is a fan of ‘fat free’ design – a modern designer’s approach to creating objects and spaces that have no more or less than is needed, a philosophy reflected in the form and aesthetics of spaces that has the power to deeply affect inhabitants and people who interact with the designs.

9. Norman Foster: On his “Green Agenda” for Architecture

As a green design firm, we always think about designing for the future and not just for the now. Foster discusses some important nuances to designing with sustainability in mind like how far in advance you can anticipate designing for and how the aesthetics of green design are actually really cool!

10. Liz Diller: On Tech-Powered Architecture

Architect Liz Diller discusses another form of forward-thinking design that gets us really excited: technology. Her firm has designed some incredibly unusual buildings that she says were designed with a type of ‘creative nihilism’ in mind.