I was born in Havana, Cuba. My parents and grandmother had been trying to escape Castro’s communist dictatorship for 5 years. Our family in the US was somehow able to pull strings to bring us to Panama and later Miami, where they helped us settle in. Ten years later, as I was receiving scholarships to attend Parsons School of Design with the support of grant-making institutions, the devastating impact of the collapse of the Soviet Union had led 35,000 desperate Cubans to take to the sea in makeshift rafts to try to reach US shores – many would never reach them.
Hyperakt is the product of a great 20+ year friendship built on shared values. In our very first foundation year classes at Parsons, I bonded with another student who shared the same work ethic. She was quiet and reserved, which I definitely wasn’t. She was also totally unconcerned with being cool and just wanted to make awesome work, which I admired tremendously.
Julia and I, both immigrant kids from communist countries, knew that our families had worked hard and made enormous sacrifices for the opportunities we enjoyed. This was the foundation of a lifelong friendship and partnership. Together, and with the help of many others, we have built a company around the mutual respect and admiration we have always had for each other.
Hyperakt was born in September of 2001, shortly after we graduated and just as we were all wrapping our heads around the tragedy of 9/11. We had a lot to learn, but ignorance makes you fearless. We took every project we could get our hands on and learned how to run a business the hard way – slowly. This proved to be invaluable.
When Barack Obama entered the scene and social justice began to once again meaningfully enter public discourse, the economy was in a freefall. It was indeed time for change.
Julia and I decided our effort would be most useful supporting local arts and social justice organizations. We were eager to elevate their stories, and empower them with better design to further their impact.
Hyperakt is the product of what brought us together to begin with – we’ve built a design practice around shaping a future where everyone has a fair chance – like we ourselves had so many years ago. Today, we are proud to be surrounded by a diverse, talented team who are all driven by this passion.