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Embracing Multiculturalism With Michael Marshall, AIA, NOMA

Editor's note: this podcast episode originally appeared on the Gensler Design Exchange podcast. Throughout Black History Month, the Gensler Design Exchange podcast is featuring special episodes that celebrate Black heritage and discuss how design can evolve to become more diverse and inclusive.

The sum of our different cultures, lifestyles, and backgrounds is what ultimately enriches the urban experience, and it’s critical we celebrate these differences by creating gathering spaces where everyone is invited to participate, be themselves, and openly share their unique experiences. As designers, we need to work harder to design spaces that are open, equitable, and safe.

Michael Marshall, design director and principal of Michael Marshall Design, talks about the importance of embracing multiculturalism in a recent Gensler Design Exchange podcast conversation with Gensler Global Director of Design Jordan Goldstein.

Kicking off the episode is a Q&A with Gensler D.C. Interior Designer Dom Sanchez, and Gensler Atlanta Interior Designer Gail Malone, speaking on the importance of community to create action toward a more inclusive future.

In the interview, Marshall, whose highly-acclaimed work has won countless industry awards and is featured in the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture, discusses his incredible career, design inspirations, and standout projects.

Throughout his career, Michael Marshall has strived to drive toward a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive future by making the urban experience fair and just for everyone and using design “to create greater opportunities and access in the arts, education, and for community services and resources that enhance and improve people’s lives.”

We’re at a place where we’re trying to, as they say, raise all boats, and we need to do that on a big spectrum, and it’s racial, social, economic, and now’s the time.
— Michael Marshall, AIA, NOMA

He also talks about how diversity is an important investment in the future and how establishing clearer, more accessible education pipelines for people of color into architecture and design professions is a critical component to bringing the change we need to see in our industry — and in the world. He stresses that as we strive to become more inclusive as designers, creating spaces that truly represent the communities we design for, we must broaden our conversations on diversity to include socioeconomic, as well as racial perspectives, to build a better world through the power of design.

For the full episode transcript, click here.

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