**Interviews have been slightly edited for flow and brevity**
- Tell us your name, and what you do?
Madeline Macdonald, I am the Brand & Program Manager for TEALEAVES and our pro-bono initiative, Nature X Design.
- What corner of NYC is most conducive to your creativity? Why?
Without fail, I can always lose myself in a new museum exhibit or the New York Public Library. As I’m from out of town (Vancouver, Canada) I’m always discovering vibrant new enclaves of the city!
- Your most interesting recent DIGITAL & TECH design project?
I am currently working on the creation of a “Biodiversity Education Hub.” The visual-driven layout will provide an exploratory backdrop for an open-source platform of biodiversity projects. These projects are being carried out worldwide by non-state actors in order to support the United Nations Biodiversity Action Agenda.
- In this moment — climate, pandemic, other factors — one key way you see sustainability shaping your field?
The word transparency comes to mind — as a central theme shaping so many fields. Transparency reflects a responsibility to make information about sustainability targets, ethical practices, and equitable workforces openly accessible. I am motivated by the brilliant work of grassroots organizations and design thinkers using digital platforms to do so.
- In your practice, one concrete change you’ve made to further sustainability?
We have been working closely with experts in academia, industry and design to package meaningful stories on sustainability (In Good Taste), biodiversity (The Garden of Secrets), and social impact (Nature X Design). These take form in documentaries and other digital experiences that support global initiatives while highlighting the potential of design in their solutions.
We have applied what we’ve learned into an intensive examination of our own operations as a luxury tea company. This involves pushing the envelope beyond the luxury status quo, introducing home compostability to an industry latent in its evolution. We also expanded our product design process to prioritize low-footprint blends, incorporate non-invasive botanicals, and introduce efficient and delicious botanical powders!
- From what/who are you finding inspiration at this time?
I am thinking about the legacy of August de los Reyes as a founding mind behind inclusive design and his visions for the discipline of design in the 21st century addressing sustainability and equity as the next steps in the trifecta.
- NYC has spent some time on pause, but we never stopped celebrating it as a vibrant breeding ground for creativity and innovation. Who is an emerging talent in DIGITAL & TECH design in NYC that we should be watching?
I am inspired by the work of incredible design educators such as Dean Dori Tunstall of OCAD University and Ruki Neuhold-Ravikumar of the Smithsonian Institute.
- Tell us something funny.
While interviewing for our upcoming documentary release, visionary design educator Dr. Aoife Mac Namara told us that a prerequisite for her before going to art school was teaching herself to enjoy olives and black coffee.
Learn more at the Design Days event sponsored by In Good Taste HERE.