2023 Pioneers in Design

Pioneers in Design is the IIDA Northern California Annual Chapter Event which honors pioneers from the design community who demonstrate innovation and inspiration. Our honorees have led novel efforts or breakthroughs in practice or implementation and have brought new understanding of the impact design can have on people from the individual to entire communities.

We’re proud to introduce this year’s pioneers!

Ronald Rael & Virginia San Fratello

Individual Tickets available NOW!

Sponsorship Closes this Friday, May 19!
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Event Agenda

4:30pm – doors to SF Jazz open for social hour (no-host bar)

5:30pm – doors to theater open and guests begin seating

6:00pm – show begins, introduction and Distinguished Honoree Award

6:30 – 7:30pm – moderated discussion with Virginia and Ron

7:30 – 9pm – Hosted Reception (beer, wine, signature cocktail and passed hors d’oeuvres)


Please contact info@iidanc.org



Tuesday, May 23 2023


4:30-9:00 PM


SF Jazz
201 Franklin St
San Francisco, CA 94102


IIDA Northern California


Frontiers of Art & Design

Design can be a tool for activism. Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello are architects and alchemists who explore how to use design to build cultural and social bridges, tell stories, rethink materials, and make emerging technologies more accessible and equitable. Rael and San Fratello will share stories from the border, discuss new materials and methods for 3D printing and reflect on a decade of consciously creating disruptive situations to bring attention to some of the most pressing issues of our time.

2023 Pioneers

The creative practice, Rael San Fratello was named an Emerging Voice by The Architectural League of New York and was awarded the Digital Practice Award of Excellence by the Association for Computer-Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA). More recently, Rael San Fratello received an Art + Technology Award from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). They are the co-authors of Printing Architecture: Innovative Recipes for 3D Printing (Princeton Architectural Press 2018), a book that reexamines the building process from the bottom up and offers illuminating case studies for 3D printing with materials like chardonnay grape skins, salt, and sawdust. They are also partners in Emerging Objects, a creatively driven, 3D Printing MAKE-tank specializing in innovations in 3D printing architecture, building components, environments, and products (a short documentary of their work can be seen here) and co-founder of Forust, a sustainable 3D printing wood start up.

Their work has been published widely, including in the New York Times, Wired, MARK, Domus, Metropolis Magazine, PRAXIS, Interior Design, Domus, the Architects Newspaper, the  Public Art Review, and recognized by several institutions including The National Building Museum, the Red Dot Design Museum, the Bellevue Museum, For Freedoms, the YBCA 100, and included in the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum in Mumbai and LACMA.

Ronald Rael

Ronald Rael is the Eva Li Memorial Chair in Architecture in the Department of Architecture in the College of Environmental Design and is also the chair of the art faculty in the Department of Art Practice at the University of California Berkeley. He is a designer, architectural researcher, author, entrepreneur, and thought leader in the fields of additive manufacturing and earthen architecture. He is the author of Borderwall as Architecture: A Manifesto for the U.S.-Mexico Boundary (University of California Press 2017), an illustrated biography and protest of the wall dividing the U.S. from Mexico (featured in a TED talk by Rael), and Earth Architecture (Princeton Architectural Press, 2008), a history of building with earth in the modern era.

Virginia San Fratello

Virginia San Fratello is the Chair of the Departments of Design and Art & Art History in the College of Humanities & Arts at San Jose State University.  She is an International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Educator of the Year recipient and one of Silicon Valley’s Women of Influence. Her research interests connect local and traditional material practices to contemporary technologies and issues. She is a design activist and creative technologist in the fields of additive manufacturing, interior design, and product design.

2023 Event Sponsors