Founder and Principal of the Shashi Caan Collective, Shashi Caan’s project work demonstrates an understated sensibility, uniting the multiple layers of architecture, interior and product design. Through a unique collaborative design process, The Collective provides architecture, interior, workplace and product design solutions which focus on supporting people both pragmatically and qualitatively. The Collective’s collaborative structure results in highly innovative and successful work as exemplified by the firm’s reputation and receipt of major industry awards and accolades from sources such as Metropolis, Architecture and Interior Design Magazine; the IIDA, GlobalShop and NeoCon. Ms. Caan was Contract Magazine’s 25th Anniversary 'Designer of Year’ in 2004, as well as IFMA’s ‘Educator of Year’ for Greater New York in 2006.
Ms. Caan is a multi-talented designer, acclaimed internationally for bridging the divide between design practice, theory, and education. At the forefront of advocating the role of Design in society, Ms. Caan holds the highest positions in international design advocacy, as president of The International Federation of Interior Architects/ Designers, IFI - representing over 270,000 designers worldwide – and as previous Executive Chair, and current Executive Committee member, of the International Design Alliance, IDA. The IDA is the international umbrella organization which includes IFI as well as the peak global bodies for Graphic Design (Icograda) and Industrial Design (Icsid).
Previously, Ms. Caan held senior positions in three major US firms; Swanke Hayden Connell Architects (SHCA), Gensler, and Skidmore Owings and Merrill (SOM), where she was Director of Design and Associate Partner. Her diverse international portfolio of work includes architectural interiors projects of 1300 to 3 million square feet, as well as several product lines and an executive aircraft interior for Alcoa and Gulfstream. Her clients include SEPA-The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, Goldman Sachs; Fidelity; Merrill Lynch; Inver House Distillers; Mohawk Industries; Carnegie Science Center; DuPont, and NBC Studios. Ms. Caan is also a sought-after textile designer and an internationally-recognized color authority, as evidenced in her widely-publicized live-lab study, Spatial Color.
Equally respected for her valuable contribution to design education, Ms. Caan is the former Chair of the Interior Design Department at Parsons The New School of Design in New York City. She has been on the faculty of several educational institutions including Pratt Institute. Active in research for the development and improvement of design education, Ms. Caan has worked with New York’s Columbia University, conducting a research program exploring the parameters and content for an innovative new design curriculum. Invited for keynotes, juries and panel discussions, she regularly lectures internationally and, in her capacity as visiting professor, she conducts master classes at educational institutions worldwide.
Ms. Caan sits on numerous advisory boards and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA). Academically, she holds two Masters Degrees respectively in Architecture and in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute and a BFA (hons) in Environmental Design from the Edinburgh College of Art, UK. Her professional work and writing is well published in design journals and periodicals. In May 2010, Ms. Caan was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts Degree by the New York School of Interior Design (NYSID).