Shashi Caan


Shashi Caan is a distinguished thought leader for architectural design internationally. As a practitioner, design futurist, educator and author, her dedication to furthering human betterment through and by design is reflected in her 25-year design career.

Leading projects and delivering innovation, she was formerly senior Designer with Gensler and then Design Director and Assoicate Partner with Skidmore, Owings and Merrill in New York. Since 2002, she remains a founding partner of her innovatively structured firm, THE COLLECTIVE, which has offices in New York, USA and Edinburgh, Scotland. Bridging world creativity through collaboration, Shashi Caan is a founding member of GloW-DESIGN (Globally We Design), where she also founded the World Youth Designer (WYD) Programs. She is the 2004 U.S. Designer of the Year and was granted the 2012 Golden Seat Architectural Master Award of China. In 2013, she was appointed the JDP Design Ambassador of Japan.

Holding Masters degrees in both Architecture and Industrial Design, she has been simultaneously active in education and has taught at numerous leading institutions around the world. From 2002-2007, she served as the Chair of Interiors at Parsons, the New School for Design, during which time she was recognized by IFMA as Educator of the Year (2005). In 2013, she was conferred an honorary doctorate from the NY School of Interior Design. She is the author of the seminal book, “Rethinking Design and Interiors: Human Beings in the Built Environment”, which has been translated into several languages.

For the advancement of Design at a global level, Caan has served on numerous national and international, industry and professional Boards of Directors. At the world level, she is one of only three two-term Presidents of the distinguished International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers (IFI), a service which developed and deepened the impact of Interior Architecture/Design across the world. For this work, Caan was recognized and honored by IFI as a Fellow of IFI (FoIFI) in 2014. Subsequently, as recognition of her international impact, she has been bestowed honorary fellowships in the UK (BIID), Australia (FLDIA), the US (FASID) and in Latin America (FCIDI). She is also a fellow of RSA, the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, UK.

Continuing to work with IFI, in November 2017, Caan was appointed IFI’s CEO and recognized in Uruguay (ADDIP) with their highest awards honor – “Excellence for Contribution to Design” – for her exemplary contributions to the field of Design.

A sought-after public speaker, Shashi Caan participates in design juries, panel discussions, workshops and lectures around the world. Over the last decade she has written some forty articles, essays and critiques, published both in the US and internationally. Caan holds a BFA (Hons) from the Edinburgh College of Art, the University of Edinburgh, as well as Masters degrees in Industrial Design and Architecture from New York’s Pratt Institute.
BFA (Hons), ECA, Edinburgh University, UK

MArch and MID, Pratt Institute, NY, USA

Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts Degree
New York School of Interior Design

professional affiliations
Fellow, International Federation of
Interior Architects/Designers (IFI)

Fellow, The Royal Society for the Encouragement of
Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA)

Fellow, Ibero-American Council of Interior Designers (CIDI)

Hon. Fellow, American Society of Interior Designers (ASID)

Hon. Fellow, British Institute of Design (BID)

Hon. Fellow, Design Institute of Australia (DIA)

noteworthy awards
Golden Seat Architectural Master Award , 2012
Shanghai International Design Festival, China

Global Advisor to the annual Shanghai Design Festival, 2013

Design Ambassador, 2013, Japan Institute of Design Promotion (JDP)

Educator of the Year, 2006
International Facility Management Association’s (IFMA)

25th Designer of the Year 2004, Contract Magazine, USA