Architecture Focus

Studio Introduction

MLL Atelier LLC is an award-winning design research studio,
founded by futures architect, Maria Lorena Lehman.

Studio Introduction

MLL Atelier LLC is an award-winning design, art, and filmmaking studio, founded by futures architect,
Maria Lorena Lehman.


A world of Joy.

The call is upon us to not only solve for global problems, but to also solve for global possibility. While the latter is important to consider, it is the former that primarily drives my creative practice. I believe that when we reach for what we can become, we see better ways to solve for what we have not yet been.

I see a future for our world where environments holistically nurture humanity to bring the best out in our nature as we actualize our highest potential. To build this vision, I create art that uses imagination to push design horizons.

Within my art, I present worlds that make the seemingly impossible, possible. This helps us rethink, appreciate, evolve, and nurture how we cultivate our own world – including our innermost being, as well as our external reality.

Buckminster Fuller once stated, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete”.

Through my research-based artwork, I am building new environmental design models with vision, creativity, and compassion. Ultimately, my mission is to cultivate a world of joy. By seeing beauty not only when it is easy, but also when it is difficult, life becomes richer because the feelings of curiosity, aliveness, and love win.

 Maria Lorena Lehman | Founder, MLL Atelier

Notable Milestones

1997 - 2004
Lehman earned the degrees of Master in Design with Distinction from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and a Bachelor of Architecture, Cum Laude, from Virginia Tech. Lehman is recipient of the Harvard University Digital Design Prize for the “most creative use of digital media in relation to the design profession”. While at Harvard University, Lehman worked to innovate healing environments by researching at the nexus of architectural technology, digital media, and neuroscience within the Harvard Graduate School of Design, House_n. Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the Neuroscience Department of the Harvard Medical School. Prior to research in academia, Lehman was a Design Associate at a notable and award-winning architecture firm.
Lehman launched the digital platform, Sensing Architecture which became a JDR Nominee for Best Architecture Blog in the Industry. During this time, Maria Lorena Lehman appeared in publications internationally, including ArchDaily, Esquisses Magazine, The Architect's Journal, Architect Magazine, and Forbes. Lehman's vision to create a better world through environmental design was deepening, and gaining traction in the media. During this time, Lehman also published the first edition of Bringing Architecture to the Next Level, a guidebook that would later be read by thousands.
2012 - 2016
In 2012, Lehman launched the MLL Design Lab (which later became known as MLL Atelier) and also founded the Sensing Architecture Academy of Design which taught an international student body of environmental design practitioners, researchers, scholars, and specialists. During this time, Lehman also authored the book, Adaptive Sensory Environments with Routledge as publisher. Lehman became a Featured Author with Routledge, and also continued authoring other contributions such as the chapter entitled Environmental Sensory Design in the 2nd Edition of the book Intelligent Buildlings.
2017 - 2018
In 2017, Adaptive Sensory Environments by Maria Lorena Lehman won a Silver Medal Nautilus Book Award in the Creative Process category. Established in the United States in 1998, the annual Nautilus Book Awards recognize books in the genre of social and environmental justice. Previous winners include Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, Eckhart Tolle, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Additionally, Lehman was Finalist in the Hewlett Packard (HP) Urbanization of Mars Rendering Challenge for her design concept animated film entitled Montsechia: The First City on Mars.
In 2019, international research built the case for "Interaction Narratives" based on the work of Maria Lorena Lehman. These findings were published in the peer-review research journal entitled "Buildings". In early 2021, Maria Lorena Lehman received the THA Innovation and Design Award for 3D Design Firm of the Year for the United States. Simultaneously, Maria Lorena Lehman deepened her research-based art practice to unlock new possibilities for architectural design through her unique artistic lens. The work of Maria Lorena Lehman is described as "evocative visual poetry of motion that is a new inspiration" by Daniel Smith, the company that creates watercolors for artists worldwide. In 2022, Maria Lorena Lehman received the THA Innovation and Design Award for Boutique Design Firm of the Year for North America.
In 2023, MLL Atelier LLC expanded into the Poetic Futures LAB and the Architectonomy School of Poetics to further disseminate environmental design research findings and discoveries with forward-looking organizations that help make a better world. Additionally in 2023, Maria Lorena Lehman was inducted into Marquis Who's Who in America.
The time is ripe to continue pushing the boundaries of what environmental design can do to uplift quality of life for the evolution of humanity and the planet. MLL Atelier aims to deepen and expand the vision of Maria Lorena Lehman in exciting ways that help guide our future toward highest potential trajectories. In this way, all of humanity, as both individuals and a collective, can experience a world that nurtures to bring out the best in all by helping each person to actualize their highest potential.
Here's to designing a better world!


Maria Lorena Lehman is a visionary and forward-thinking artist, author and designer. Her books and advice are an endless source of inspiration and they truly embody the future and progress of the physical space and people. She has a 360 degree vision and therefore her advice makes you broaden your imagination, and drives you through your design path. Her suggestions have helped me many times to understand the strengths of my ideas as well as its weaknesses, and have given me the means to develop every project in unpredicted ways.”

— Andrea Saliola | CEO at Pixies, Forbes under 30

"Maria Lorena Lehman has established a formidable international reputation. She examines how technology, nature, learning from other design sectors and many other aspects can harness benefits for occupants and in this way transform architectural design." 

— Dr. Derek Clements-Croome
Professor Emeritus, School of the Built Environment
Reading University, United Kingdom

"I was challenged with learning how to touch the soul through environmental design. Since learning from Maria Lorena Lehman, I now understand how through design beauty is not only seen with our physical senses, but also with our soul and spirit."

— Deyanira Khouri
Dominican Republic

"After being in architecture both academically and within the industry for over 20 years, I feel as though what Maria Lorena Lehman teaches brings to light long lost and forgotten components, secrets, and keys to creating hi-functionality and attentive design. Something computers don’t often provide when the designer is in the trenches."

— Archtitude, 5-Star Review
United States

"I present this testimony to express my gratitude and admiration for this website and the lecturer's outstanding performance, which shows abundant knowledge and strong presentation. These lectures by Maria Lorena Lehman have benefited me in my scientific life as a university professor and my professional practices as an architect. I always wish her good luck."

— Dr. Usama Konbr
Associate Professor, Architectural Engineering Department
Tanta University, Egypt