the skinny
blkHaUS studios was founded in 2016 by artist and designer folayemi (fo) wilson and designer norman teague, as a chicago-based, socially focused collaborative design studio dedicated to using design as an agent of change to uplift and transform marginal communities. the name blkHaUS is inspired by the bauhaus, a german school of architecture and applied arts founded in 1919 on experimental principles of functionalism and truth in materials and during a time when african aesthetics contributed to the development of modernism. the aesthetics of the studio is an integration of the heritage and culture of americans of african descent and training in modernist design principles. the studio designs objects and spaces, produces small architecture projects and public art, and curates community-based art and design exhibitions and events.

wilson has remained principal of blkHaUS, and teague formed norman teague design studios in 2019. on occasion they work on collaborative projects. blkHaUS studios strives for its work and presence in the design profession to instigate greater inclusion of black and brown narratives in the history of design and promote design’s relevance to contemporary communities of color. blkHaUS promotes design as a language that can be used as an agent of change, so that communities of color can thrive and be seated at tables of power influencing contemporary urban and social design.

folayemi (fo) wilson earned a mfa from the rhode island school of design in furniture design with a concentration in art, history, theory & criticism, and a mba from new york university’s stern school of business. early in her career, she worked as a graphic designer and art director in new york and founded studio w, inc., a design consultancy that worked for such clients as: condé nast publications, time warner, essence magazine, the new york times magazine, black entertainment television (BET), and wiliams sonoma. she is a professor of art & art history at columbia college chicago and has served on the board of trustees of the american craft council. she was awarded a 3arts award in 2015, their next level award in 2020, and is a two-time recipient of a graham foundation for the fine arts award. her design work is held in the collection of the cooper hewitt national design museum.

photo:Nathan Keay with photo assistance from Joe Crawford.