Azeez Alli-Balogun

video / alumni / industrial-design

About Alumni Awards

The Alumni Awards provide an opportunity for ArtCenter to publicly recognize the talent, service and influence of our alumni.

2022 Alumni Awards

Azeez Alli-Balogun, Young Innovator

Azeez Alli-Balogun  (MS 18 Industrial Design) has received the 2022 ArtCenter Alumni Award for Young Innovator.

As Head of Design at the XQ Institute, Alli-Balogun leads product design of a transformative educational architecture to make high school education more equitable. He's also the co-founder and President of Aroko Cooperative, where he harnesses his passion for design to drive social impact by highlighting African and Indigenous cultures.

"Anything that you design is going to impact society in one way or another," he says. "How do we start to include different cultural perspectives and ideologies into the making of our lived experience?" 

Alli-Balogun grew up in a Nigerian household in Louisiana. "The fact that I was in between so many different cultures, I started to see the plurality of the way that humans can exist in the world," he says.

Azeez Alli-Balogun

We have electric cars, but a classroom looks the same as did 100 years ago. It hasn't kept up with the pace of change and innovation.

Azeez Alli-Balogun

The field of industrial design, including building medical devices, led him to ArtCenter, to develop the tools to translate concepts into tangible elements.

Throughout his career, Alli-Balogun has consistently championed inclusivity. At Netflix, he developed globalization tools that enhanced the platform's cultural inclusiveness. At IBM, he infused equity and humanity into the development of machine learning tools, affirming his dedication to creating technology that benefits everyone. 

Now at XQ, he's trying to reimagine high school education, which often doesn't account for different cultures and learning types.

"We have electric cars now, but a classroom looks the exact same way it did 100 years ago," he says. "It hasn't kept up with the pace of change and innovation." 

Alli-Balogun's endeavors underscore his belief in the power of design and technology as tools for social change, using the tools and strategies he honed in ArtCenter's Grad ID program.

"I've always wanted to impact people in a meaningful way," he says. "At ArtCenter, the projects that I did to constantly learn, iterate and improve—it's the same way I approach the work I'm doing now." 

The accompanying video was an ArtCenter production through and through and we are deeply grateful for this talented team:

Director & Editor: Rahat Mahajan (MFA 16 Film) | Producer: Christine Spines | Special Thanks: Keiko Doi | Motion Graphics: Mohit Sebastian | Camera (Interview): Farhad Ahmed Dehlvi | B-Roll: Rahat Mahajan | B-Cam (Interview): Joshua Kang | Location Sound: Deyo Forteza | Associate Producers: Keith Wang & Gloria Valdez | Co-Editor: Corey Howard | Sound Mix: Jeremy Jung | ArtCenter MGX: El Ogrodova (BFA 11 Graphic Design)