Ayse Birsel

Ayse Birsel, IDSA | Birsel + Seck

IDSA Board Education Vice President 2014-2016

Ayse Birsel has been designing award-winning products for over twenty years. She is the co-founder of Birsel + Seck, an innovative design studio in New York that partners with leading brands and Fortune 500 companies, including Target, Herman Miller, Hewlett Packard, Johnson & Johnson, Toyota and TOTO. She has also consulted with or for GE, Hasbro, Drucker Institute, Harvard Business Review and Bridgestone Turkey, among others, on design thinking, strategy and innovation projects. Called affectionately by the press the “Queen of Toilets” and “Queen Bee” for her bathroom designs and office systems respectively, she brings new solutions to old problems by thinking differently, using her user-centered, humanistic design approach and her unique process, Deconstruction:Reconstruction™. Birsel is also known for her acclaimed workshops, Design the Life You Love for individuals and Design the Work You Love for corporations, applying her design process to help people design their life and work. 

Birsel is the recipient of the 2001 Young Designer Award from the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Athena Award for Excellence in Furniture Design from Rhode Island School of Design and numerous design awards including the IDEA Gold honor and ID Magazine award. She is a speaker at international conferences—notably the Aspen Design Conference, IDSA and AIGA Conferences, the Indaba Conference and at DMI (Design Management Institute). She is a Fulbright Scholar, has a master’s degree in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute and is a graduate of Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. Her work can be found in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum and Philadelphia Museum of Art.  Birsel teaches Deconstruction:Reconstruction at Products of Design Graduate School, School of Visual Arts, New York. She lives between New York and Istanbul, with her husband and partner Bibi Seck and their 3 kids.


Birsel + Seck
Co-founder + Designer

Olive 1:1 Inc.
President + Founder


"Drawing is really a language to me--my first language. As a child, I learned to draw around the same time I was learning to write. In terms of thinking, it's as much a form of expression to me as speaking or writing. Sketching allows me to organize my thoughts, the clearer my thoughts, the simpler the sketches become."

Excerpted from Sketchbook: Conceptual Drawings from the World's Most Influential Designers.