Passionate about how good design improves lives, motivated by how people interact with objects and spaces.
Using Design Thinking to study work and lifestyle patterns, AJ Kassenaar has created furniture, electronics, housewares and interiors that offer simple, beautiful functionality. Teaching student designers keeps her view fresh and relevant to how we live now.
AJ established Snap Design in Boston in 1998, when she designed the Studio Collection for Crate&Barrel, the company's first ready-to-assemble home office furniture line. For Cuisinart, she designed numerous kitchen electrics, including the best-selling EasyPop popcorn maker, blenders, a breadmaker and the CleanWater countertop water filtering units. She worked as a consultant to several design firms in Boston, including Essential, Altitude, Ziba and Product Genesis. An expert with color and materials, she helped define branding for the PolaroidOne and izone cameras and developed palettes for Oral B toothbrushes. (google.com/patents, Anne Judith Kassenaar)
As an Assistant Professor at Wentworth Institute of Technology, AJ helped plan the industrial design department's curriculum. She currently teaches 3-D design and studio classes. She has taught and lectured at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Harvard Graduate School of Design, and Babson College MBA program.
AJ grew up in Winnipeg, Canada, and studied interior design at the University of Manitoba. She worked for three years in Montreal on commercial interior spaces at Canadian Pacific and Moureaux Haupsy Design. She moved to New York, where she completed a Masters of Industrial Design at Pratt Institute, studying form with Rowena Reed Kostellow. At the same time, she designed a medical office building in Florida by transforming a house into a facility for patients to receive chemotherapy in a congenial environment. Researching doctor-patient relationships led to her thesis project for Pratt: A reclining chair for medical examinations.
AJ's residential interiors integrate contemporary design into older homes, where she restores and re-uses original elements to preserve the integrity of the architecture. She has overseen construction, working with contractors and the trades. She typically incorporates weatherization and green-building techniques.
AJ is a member of the Industrial Designers Society of America and the Designers Accord. She served for two years on the board of Greenschools, a non-profit group that aims to create healthier learning environments.