February 4, 2015 Interior Design Professor Named One of Thirty Most Admired Design Educators

headshot ryann aoukar

Ryann Aoukar, an associate professor of the University of Tennessee Interior Design Program, has been named one of the thirty Most Admired Educators of 2015 by DesignIntelligence through an annual report published by the Design Futures Council.

DesignIntelligence is noted as the most important and respected poll in the country for the design disciplines. Its rankings are equivalent to those of the U.S. News and World Report or the Princeton Review grading systems, which do not evaluate design programs.

The annual honor is given to leading design professionals who demonstrate excellence as administrators and educators. This is Aoukar’s first time receiving the accolade, which is vetted by DesignIntelligence staff with extensive input from thousands of design professionals, academic department heads, and students from across the fields of architecture, interior design, industrial design, and landscape architecture.

The publication cites:

With a background in interior and product design, Ryann Aoukar brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his classes. He is a “practicing professional who strives for excellence and expects it from his students.” Open-minded and incredibly honest, Aoukar pushes his students to think outside the box, improve their work and be their best.

Aoukar has received numerous accolades as an interior architect and product designer. His elegant, patented products include homewares, such as his Anton Strainer Bowl; one of the most energy efficient desk lamps on the market, the Luxo/GLAMOX Terea task light; jewelry, and furniture. Aoukar’s work follows a minimalist approach with many of his works also exploring digital fabrication techniques and prototyping strategies to produce economical, beautiful, and innovative objects.

In addition to teaching interior design studios, Aoukar also leads courses following his expertise. He teaches furniture and product design, as well as an elective course in product development and crowdsourcing. In the latter, students explore how to develop their ideas into executable and sellable wares. Aoukar has successfully funded projects through Kickstarter, including his more recent effort, a sustainable all-in-one strainer bowl which “reduces water use by 60% compared to other utensils” The campaign earned $83,000 to its goal of $5,000.

The French-Canadian designer, joined UT in 2010. Previously, he collaborated for several years with Rem Koolhaas, a Pritzker Architecture Prize winner, at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture in Rotterdam. He was also associated with global architecture firm Gensler, one of the largest design companies in the word, before establishing his own practice in 2007. He has worked on a wide range of design projects in the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, and China. Aoukar earned his Bachelor of Science in Interior Architecture from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Beirut, and a Master of Product Design from the Ecole Superior d’Art et de Design in France.

The UT Interior Design Program is the oldest program of the College of Architecture and Design. Its students earn a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design, and are eligible to minor in Architectural Studies and/or Industrial Design. The new Industrial Design minor, which Aoukar will heavily be involved in, is available to students beginning in fall 2015.

For more information about Aoukar and the programs of the UT College of Architecture and Design, please explore the college website.

C O N T A C T :

Kiki Roeder (865-974-6713,