Zeke Leonard

Assistant Professor; Chief Tinkerer

Art, Design, and Transmedia
Department of Design
Environmental and interior design

The Warehouse


M.F.A., Rhode Island School of Design

B.F.A., North Carolina School of the Arts


When his career as a theatrical set designer in New York City began to seem wasteful, Zeke began to examine his relationship to the things he designed and to think about their ultimate fate: The landfill. This prompted a return to study, and a stripping down of his values to a philosophical core. At the Rhode Island School of Design, his thesis was a deep study of the spaces we occupy and the phenomenon of social acceleration.  After graduating with honors, he embarked on a studio practice in Fall River, Mass, where he made bespoke furniture piece by piece by hand. He was also writing, developing a design philosophy that has a firm foundation in sustainable practices and responsible design. 

At SU, his teaching practice brings his research in sustainability in line with his work in socially responsible design.  He believes that all of design changes the world, and that as designers we must be thoughtful about how we bring about that change.

In addition, Leonard is the Chief Design Officer for Salt Works, a local job-skills-training project that uses reclaimed lumber and furniture making as a way to provide training to underemployed Syracuse residents.