Nancy has been designing in the creative industry for 20+ years. She began her studies for medical microbiology, as a pre-med student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison but admitted to also taking many art history, film and design classes. Art should have been evident in her as a child, when her parents caught her drawing on their walls and furniture.
After years of working in the advertising and print industry, Nancy returned to school for graduate studies at Pratt Institute, to pursue her dreams as an art photographer. However, after a semester, she discovered industrial design and easily transferred into her new pursuit.
The next two and a half years proved to be enlightening, focusing on furniture design, which represents ‘functional sculpture’ to her. Summer studies of furniture and design at the Danmarks Designskole in Copenhagen, Denmark, proved to be successful, as she won the Best in Show for her chair design at the end of the summer. A semester later, her coffee table design was chosen to be part of the student exhibition at the International Center of Contemporary Furniture (ICFF) fair at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.
For her thesis, a study of bamboo and brocade led Nancy to Poitiers, France, to study construction with Colombian architect Símon Vélez. A small pavilion of bamboo imported from Colombia, was built in the two-week seminar and still stands at the Domaine de Boisbuchet. This seminar was part of an ongoing cooperative with the Centre Georges Pompidou and the Vitra Museum, led by internationally recognized designers and architects.
After receiving a Master’s of industrial Design, Nancy found herself working for a small furniture company in New York City. These custom furniture designs were primarily for residential clients, with the company’s factory manufacturing the designs locally. Her subsequent design positions all included companies that had their own local factories. This was important to her to incorporate custom design with manufacturing, in order to best create great fluid designs efficiently. Working with overseas manufacturers came later, which led her to a good understanding of mass production and its logistical challenges.
Leungdesigns is a multi-disciplined design company focusing on the ‘simplicity of design’. Form does follow function, but as the German designer, Hartmut Esslinger put it, ‘form should follow emotion’.