SXSW 2019 "The Architects Are Invading"

On the morning of Sunday March 10, 2019, I took the stage with fellow architects and designers Jenny Wu and Sid Jatia in Austin, Texas at the SXSW Conference to talk about architecture & product design. It was my first time to speak publicly about my architectural background and how it has influenced and shaped Renzoe Box. From the modular design of the case itself, to the logistics of manufacturing, architecture has played an important role in guiding me through this process.

Building a building is no small feat. Building a great space that people enjoy is an even bigger challenge. And even further still, producing a unique product that can be customized to a lot of users: probably my biggest challenge to date.

During our panel we discussed the parallels of designing at different scales, and lessons learned across these scales. The biggest overlap I can share thus far in my journey with Renzoe Box is the delicate balance between listening to my internal design voice, and the feedback I receive from my customers and user base. When producing a product like Renzoe Box that is meant to be for the masses, it is critical that I listen whole-heartedly to my customers. However, if I took on every design change request or idea, Renzoe Box would be a far cry from its roots, and I believe what makes it special. As a designer, a creator, and as a CEO, I have to know when to edit and when to hold steady.

There's a big difference when you design something that can be sent out into the world, potentially in the hands of millions of people. Versus a building that is fixed to a particular geographic area and will likely only impact those who live close by. A product can be mailed to anywhere across the globe, thus in some ways making it a far more daunting task to design.

Below you’ll find a photo gallery of the panel, as well as some other SXSW happenings.

Thank you to SXSW for the invitation to speak. Thank you to my fellow panelists for sharing your experience and knowledge. And thank you to my dearest Austin friends who showed up to support me for my first public speaking gig about Renzoe Box.


René Graham

Founder & Creator of Renzoe Box

For the official SXSW Event listing, please visit:

Photos by Michael Hsu, Samuel Chang, Jasper Gregory and Eli Ratansi

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