ABOUT

Our work facilitates people to imagine and shape collective actions for more just, resilient, inclusive, and adaptive futures.

We call this civic future-making.

Formed in 1998 by Cézanne Charles and John Marshall, rootoftwo uses participatory design methods to create innovative and tangible experiences, events, artifacts, spaces, methods, and strategies.

Through interaction, participation, humor and play our work engages diverse stakeholders and publics to subvert and reimagine systems, infrastructures, and networks.

rootoftwo has been recognized with an AIA Michigan Honor Award 2016 Rules of the Road (with DAUB); SXSW Place by Design Finalist (2016) and Knight Arts Challenge Awards (2015 + 2014). Our work has been featured in Wired, FastCompany, Dezeen, Metropolis Magazine, Fresh Art International, Architectural Review, Architectural Record, and The Guardian.

Our team:

–   Conducts original qualitative (interviews, focus groups, case/precedent studies) and quantitative research

–   Develops related themes, narrative cases, scenarios, and frameworks

–   Creates prototypes to test ideas and assumptions physically, conceptually, and contextually with stakeholders

TEAM

Our team includes researchers, designers, creative practitioners, and technologists. We remix models of practice including studio, laboratory, workshop, think-tank, and agency - providing agile, diverse and resilient approaches to our work.

Cézanne Charles
Partner
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John Marshall
John Marshall
Partner
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Ash Arder
Ash Arder
Research Associate
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Lauren Rossi
Lauren Rossi
Research Associate
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Elizabeth Vander Veen
Elizabeth Vander Veen
Design Strategist + Researcher
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Collaboration is a core part of our philosophy, leading to projects co-created with architecture and design studios, urban planners, cultural institutions, artists, technologists, writers, policymakers, engineers, rocket scientists, and even a brain surgeon.

Karl Daubmann
Karl Daubmann
Owner + Principal at DAUB
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approach

We listen.

We take notes. We never assume that we have a full picture of what’s going on. There are always people who know more than us, our job is to discover and engage those folx, and uplift their voices so everyone can benefit from their knowledge, experience, and wisdom.

We do our homework.

We will look beyond the immediate scope of any particular topic or issue. Our sampling is purposive, extreme variant, and takes into consideration the adjacencies and affordances of the situation, context, timeline, and ecology of every project.

We don’t start “from scratch.”

On the planet where we live, there is no “from scratch.” We start with values. We seek out analogs, comparators and benchmarks. We look for patterns in what has come before, in the present, and chart possible consequences by building and breaking mental and physical models. We scaffold understanding by making frameworks and re-framing them.

We take our time.

We believe in quality over quantity. We make space for instructive tangents. We do what we do with, and not for. We’re always looking for how what we do is additive, and not extractive. We have to add up to more than the sum of our parts.

If we’re not right for a project, we can probably connect you with someone that is.

PARTNERS + NETWORKS

We have over two decades of experience designing and delivering projects and services grounded in design, research, technology, public policy, and cultural development. We are fortunate to work with highly collaborative clients, partners, and networks on more just social transformations.

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