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Stephen Burks: Shelter in Place

November 19, 2023–April 14, 2024

Winner of the 2023 Collab Design Excellence Award, Chicago native Stephen Burks is an industrial designer whose innovative approach to design synthesizes craft, community, and industry. Stephen Burks: Shelter in Place, which originated at the High Museum of Art (Atlanta, GA), surveys the last ten years of Burks’ craft-centered, workshop-based design practice at midcareer. In addition to global craft projects, furniture, lighting fixtures, and other industrial products, the exhibition features a new speculative project—Shelter in Place—which explores new ideas regarding our relationship with our homes, especially in the wake of a global pandemic, and invites active participation from visitors.

Main Building

Free with museum admission

Pay What You Wish admission on 1st Sunday of the month & every Friday night

About the Artist

Chicago native, Stephen Burks (b. 1969) is one of the most recognized American industrial designers of his generation. Independently and through association with various non-profits, he has worked as a product development consultant in close collaboration with artisans and craftspeople in over ten countries on six continents.

Stephen and his Brooklyn-based studio have been commissioned by many of the world’s leading design-driven brands to develop collections that engage hand production as a strategy for innovation including Cappellini, Dedon, MASS Design Group, Missoni, & Roche Bobois. His work has been exhibited internationally, including the Studio Museum in Harlem, the High Museum of Art, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Stephen is the only African-American to win the Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in Product Design and the only industrial designer to be awarded the prestigious Loeb Fellowship at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Stephen Burks (American, b. 1969) with his prototype, The Ancestors (2022), from the series and exhibition Shelter in Place. Photograph by Caroline Tompkins.


Stephen Burks: Shelter in Place is organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, in collaboration with the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


Stephen Burks: Shelter in Place, the 2023 Collab Design Excellence Award exhibition, is made possible by The Lisa S. Roberts and David W. Seltzer Endowment Fund in Support of the Collab Design Excellence Award Exhibition. Additional support provided by Collab.


The organizing curator is Monica Obniski, Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the High Museum of Art.

In Philadelphia, the exhibition is curated by Alisa Chiles, Assistant Curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture.

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