My Second Nature is Feeding My Soul Through Design


By Kiana Wenzell

My Second Nature is feeding my soul through designed experiences. I love to surround myself with beautiful spaces, people, and things. Just as we eat food for nourishment or take a walk for physical fitness, we also need to feed our hearts and souls by consuming healthy visuals with our eyes and consuming positive words and music with our ears.

Even the clothes that we wear become a part of designing our lives. That is my second nature: I am intentional in my actions when it comes to the type of media that I consume on a daily basis. To not design is designing by default. I love flowers and gardening. I love art and museums. I love water and the sun. I love babies and cute dogs.

My Second Nature is to remember that design is everywhere and everything and to appreciate every moment.

As the project manager for Detroit Creative Corridor Center, Kiana Wenzell is passionate about design—and that doesn’t just mean a cool building or a print (though she loves those too). “Nonverbal communication is stronger than verbal,” she says. “And if we think about it like that, we’re being spoken to all day every day.”

Design has always spoken to Kiana: As a kid in North Rosedale, she would walk around the neighborhood with her family, wishing she could go inside all the beautiful homes and look around. Today, that’s part of her job: She organizes DC3’s Drinks x Design events, monthly gatherings that combine cocktails and networking with design-oriented themes, like interior design. The events often take place in interesting locales, like True North, a unique live/work campus, and Kiana is constantly touring spaces and talking to the people who live and work there to plan the right event for that space.

Kiana is also passionate about design justice, which involves designing with the participation of the people who will use the environment so that they have a stake in the space and feel empowered to contribute to it and use it. She’s even started taking her young niece and nephew to college campuses, so that they feel comfortable when it’s time for school.

Designers who Kiana loves include Carole Harris, a prominent fiber artist and lecturer, and Chandra Moore Banks, director of design at coG-studio. But Kiana also sees design everywhere, from what she eats to what she wears. She aims to be intentional in all her choices—right down to the birth of her daughter Kayla. She kept her room quiet and peaceful, read from a book of positive affirmations, and took strolls: “That was part of my design experience, walking the halls of the hospital.”

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