design ecologist and entrepreneur academic


Design matters now more than ever.

Every home is designed – from private residences to multifamily apartment buildings. Every workplace is designed – from the corner office to the factory floor.

And, when you leave work, you eat in restaurants we designed. You shop in stores we designed. Not just the front of house you experience, but also the back of house areas that keep these businesses running.

We designed the pharmacy where you pick up your prescriptions, the daycares and schools where you pick up your children.

When you are sick you are healed in hospitals we designed.

When millions of Americans give blood, get an X-ray, have surgery, get their vision checked, or do their annual exam . . . design is there.

everything is connected

The Design Ecology Lab at Auburn University explores the multimodal, multilayered interaction of people, places, products, and processes as they impact global health and quality of life.

We design the spas, nail salons, barbershops, chiropractic offices, therapy offices, jewelry stores, convenience stores, malls, and tenant spaces that keep our economy running.

In addition, interior designers provide keystone professional services to communities across the United States, among them:

  • designing secure government and military spaces;
  • sourcing and procuring valuable goods and commodities used from coast to coast;
  • and providing design-based tax revenue drawn from all 50 states and countless municipalities.
calculator, calculation, insurance-1680905.jpg
arrows, tendency, businesswoman-2167840.jpg

The interiors we design are also the most significant influencer of human health, wellness, and quality of life.

Interiors have a bigger influence on human life than TV and social media combined.

Time spent indoors
Time spent watching TV
Time spent on social media


The CHS Pathogen Lab at Auburn University is conducting novel research to model how fomites can transfer disease-causing pathogens via the designed environment.

Work with Tan

Explore the world through the lens of design. Learn to leverage design interventions to make the world a better place. View current opportunities for us to work together.

Photo of a man and a woman laughing at work
Photo of chicken eggs in a bed of straw

Interior design is everywhere. When you gather together to vote, to pay your taxes, to mourn or celebrate . . . you do so in the community centers, libraries, civic spaces, and houses of worship we designed.

It's your career. Choose your own adventure.

Online Learning with Tan

Learn with Tan at your own pace through these online courses, coaching programs, and ebooks designed to target specific gaps you need to bridge in order to level up your career and your lifestyle.

On-Site Learning with Tan

Learn with Tan in one of our nationally-ranked programs - bachelors through doctorate - at an R1 institution with Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement Classification.