Is Pitt dating this Jolie lookalike?
BRAD Pitt is spending time with an acclaimed architect, award-winning artist and rock star MIT professor Neri Oxman.
The New York Post reports that architecture and design aficionado Pitt recently met accomplished Prof Oxman through an MIT architecture project and they have since become friends. Pitt was referred to Oxman to collaborate on an architectural project he was working on, we're told.
"Brad and Neri instantly hit it off because they share the same passion for architecture, design and art. This is best described as a professional friendship."
But the source added, "Their friendship has not turned into romance … as both are cautious and this is, again, more of a professional friendship, but Brad is very interested in spending more time with Neri, she is fascinating."
American-Israeli architect and designer Prof Oxman was previously married to Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov, who she has said had an "incredible influence" on her work.
Pitt is still finalising his divorce from Angelina Jolie.
A rep for Pitt, 54, declined to comment, but a friend added, "You are correct that they are just friends and she is very impressive."
Prof Oxman is currently travelling and could not be immediately reached.
Prof Oxman, 42, who bears more than a passing resemblance to Jolie, is a professor at the MIT Media Lab, where she founded and directs the Mediated Matter group, which conducts research into bonding design and architecture with natural and biological environments.
Her team has also been building 3-D printers capable of printing biological matter and glass.
According to her MIT bio, Prof Oxman "coined the term, and pioneered the field of, Material Ecology, which considers computation, fabrication, and the material itself as inseparable dimensions of design. In this approach, products and buildings are biologically informed and digitally engineered by, with and for, nature."
A number of Prof Oxman's works are created by animals or natural processes. One of her most well-known is The Silk Pavilion, an installation designed in 2013, which was woven by 6500 silkworms on a dome.
Her work is included in collections at MoMA, Paris' Centre Georges Pompidou, Vienna's Museum of Applied Arts and
Boston's Museum of Fine Arts and Museum of Science.
If she wasn't already impressive enough, in a 2016 Surface Magazine profile of Prof Oxman, MoMA senior curator for architecture and design Paola Antonelli called her "a person ahead of her time, not of her time. She is very rigorous, taking on a long view on where design needs to be, but at the same time also has an incredible talent and aesthetic flare, like an artist. Whatever she does has ground and credibility in science, but also a universal appeal for everybody, because her work is just so beautiful."
A prominent woman in an otherwise male-dominated field, Prof Oxman and her team have won numerous awards, including the International Earth Awards for Future-Crucial Design (2008), the Vilcek Prize in Design (2014) and an Emerging Voices award from the Architectural League of New York (2015).
Meanwhile, Pitt's Make It Right Foundation, which builds affordable houses for people in need with a focus on environmentally friendly sustainable development, has been working with international architects to build homes in locations including the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans, which was devastated by Hurricane Katrina and Kansas City, Missouri.
Pitt - who had considered becoming an architect himself - told Architectural Digest in 2016 that he hoped Make It Right's work would become a model for projects around the world. "When you realise that 40 or 45 per cent of the world's pollution comes from the way we build and maintain our buildings," he said, "it's just common sense to think that there's a better solution."
Pitt has also been working on furniture design with Frank Pollaro and sculpture. He told GQ Style last year that he was being mentored by sculptor Thomas Houseago: "I've literally been squatting in there [Houseago's studio] for a month now … I'm making everything. I'm working with clay, plaster, rebar, wood …"
This article originally appeared in the New York Post and is republished here with permission