TED Blog

Bran Ferren’s life pivoted on a trip to Rome at age 9. He’s the son of two passionate abstract expressionist artists, who taught him that art wasn’t just decorative but about communicating ideas, and the grandson of a cabinet-making factory owner, who often took him on field trips to buy electronics to take a apart and reassemble. So Ferren didn’t have high expectations when his family visited the Pantheon.

“From the outside, it didn’t look particularly interesting,” Ferren, the former president of R&D at  Walt Disney Imagineering and the co-founder of Applied Minds, says on the TED2014 stage. “But when we walked inside, I was immediately struck by three things. It was pleasantly cool, despite the oppressive heat outside. It was very dark. And the only source of light was a big open hole in ceiling, called the oculus … As we walked to the center of the room, I looked up at…

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