n|a designlab



n|a designlab was founded by Nootan Bharani and Andy Owens.

Nootan Bharani

Nootan Bharani is a fierce champion of the continuum of communities and a thoughtful leader of processes to shape places where people want to be. As an architect and maker with deep background in environmental sustainability, Nootan has a propensity toward existing buildings and in-between spaces. Nootan has spent most of her career in non-traditional practice, working directly with neighborhood partners on projects at a wide variety of scales. Nootan is currently the Associate Director of Design and University Partnerships at Arts + Public Life, and a lecturer in the Humanities Division, at the University of Chicago. Previously, Nootan was Lead Design Manager for Place Lab at the University of Chicago where she was thought and practice leader for building projects. Prior to coming to the University of Chicago, she was Managing Director for CB&I Sustainable Design Solutions of Illinois. Nootan is also a volunteer in Chicago Public Schools where her children attend, co-leading initiatives for caregivers of students with disabilities.

Andy Owens

Andy Owens has worked in the fields of graphic and interactive design since 1997.

In 1995, prior to graduating from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA he started working for EDGEstudio, a local architecture firm. Andy continued to work at EDGE until 2005. During his tenure, he worked with the principals in charge to develop their graphic and interactive division and eventually served in the position of lead designer.

He moved to Chicago in 1999 and spent the next six years working remotely for EDGE, maintaining East coast connections in Pittsburgh, New York and Philadelphia while also establishing new connections in the midwest.

In 2005 Andy left EDGE to join Chicago-based interactive firm TribeAgency. Initially hired as a senior designer, he quickly rose to the position of creative director and led the design team, guiding clients through the design phase of interactive, print and branding projects.

In May of 2010 Andy left TribeAgency to pursue co-found n|a designlab with an initial focus on graphic and interactive design. His current roster of clients includes architects, photographers, filmmakers, funding organizations, educational institutions, furniture designers, and medical practitioners. He works directly with clients and also consults with design agencies across the country.