Born in Chicago in 1969, Stephen Burks has become one of American’s preeminent industrials designers. He studied architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology and product at the university’s Institute of Design and attended Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture before founding Readymade Projects in 1997 and becoming the first African American designer to work with Boffi, Calvin Klein, Cappellini, Estee Lauder, and Missoni. Burks has not been selfish with his success, though. He has worked as a design consultant for Aid to Artisans and the Nature Conservancy as well as produced a collection for Artecnica’s Design for a Conscious line.