Sheena Tu Sheena Tu is the co-founder of Meshki Design Center, where she oversees the firm’s work across the fields. Passionate about all aspects of design, she specializes in web design and development, as well as presentation creation and implementation, on behalf of a wide range of clients.

Prior to founding Meshki, Sheena spent nearly a decade helping clients with many forms of design initiatives, including branding, presentations, motion graphics, video editing, UI/UX design, web programming and development, 3D design, and much more. Through creative thinking, technical design prowess, and an outside the box approach, Sheena continues to push herself with each and every project.

While it may sound a bit cliché, design truly runs in Sheena’s blood. Her father has spent his professional life as an interior designer and businessman, and her grandfather was an accomplished artist, painter, illustrator, and Art Director for a prestigious newspaper in Southern China. In fact, her grandfather’s art was one of her first sources of design inspiration and she often reflects on his work as she thinks about her own projects.

Born and raised in Guangzhou, China, Sheena’s close-knit relationship with her parents and grandfather helped to mold her into the person she is today. As a child, she kept a regimented schedule that was teeming with competitive activities like swimming, track & field, roller-skating, board gaming, and playing musical instruments on both regional and international levels. Her mother and mentor, known for being endlessly patient and supportive, is responsible for helping to manage Sheena’s busy schedule and instilling in her the idea that competing was not about winning or losing; rather, it is about being part of the process and being the best that you can be.

These teachings from Sheena’s family have stuck with her and helped to propel her forward in her academic and professional career. She graduated from UC Davis with honors, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Bachelor of Science in Textile & Clothing and, as well as a Master of Fine Arts focused on Design, Technology & Music. Through this educational background in diverse disciplines, Sheena found herself well-equipped to apply her knowledge to creatively solve contemporary real-world problems for businesses.

Mahan Soltanzadeh is the co-founder and co-CEO of Meshki Design Center, where he heads up all marketing and business development operations. Forward-thinking in his approach to leveraging new technologies in the design process, he also acts as the product manager for Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (XR) software development for the firm.

No matter the medium, Mahan specializes in taking design projects of all sizes from the conceptual stage all the way through final production. His world-class technical expertise includes visual ideation and technical software, including 2D, 3D, CAD and BIM applications and visual programming for 3D animations, simulations, and VFX. His passion for design and making the world a better place has also inspired him to focus his future efforts to utilize AI and robotics to tackle the issues of homelessness and assisted living by applying principles of sustainable design.

A rising star in the industry, Mahan’s work has been featured in prominent international design competitions and trade shows across the globe. Always one to think creatively and solve problems, he approaches each project with excitement and vigor as he helps to bring Meshki’s vision to life and to the forefront of the design industry.

As a child in Tehran, Mahan harnessed his youthful energy into a passion for design through illustration and painting. His focus and attention to the smallest details were evident dating back to his earliest drawings of beloved animals as a young child. As he grew older, he became an avid handballer, soccer player, bodybuilder, meditator, and student of martial arts. To this day, Mahan practices several martial arts styles and applies the discipline learned over the years from this craft to his professional work as a world-class designer.

A lifelong learner, Mahan holds several undergraduate and graduate degrees from the prestigious Azad University of Art & Architecture in the fields of graphic design, interior architecture, and environmental design. Prior to and during his formal design education, he cut his teeth in the business world through sales and marketing roles, and as an entrepreneur specializing in branding, advertising, trade show, interior and architectural design and construction, and commercial exhibit organization.

With this robust educational and professional background, he moved to the U.S. and taught courses on Commercial Exhibition Design before transitioning back into his professional career where he has expanded his work in a variety of design-related fields, including lighting design, education, and software development with a keen focus on AR and VR.

Sahoko Yui is a consultant for Meshki Design Center, specializing in user experience research, design, and development. She combines academic experience with skill sets gained from the completion of real-world, practical projects to deliver immense value to Meshki’s clients.

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sahoko uses qualitative methods to validate emerging technologies and create user research-driven designs. She employs this approach as she partners with Meshki’s design, development, and engineering teams to deliver product design features and roadmaps to develop products and services for clients. Her extensive research and development skills and hands-on projects have laid the foundation for our future endeavors in the mentioned fields. Sahoko also aids Meshki with its ambitions for developing cutting-edge solutions for assisted living design and tackling the important issue of houselessness using AI, robotic technology, and applying sustainable design principles.

Sahoko has extensive experience in landscape architectural design and research. While completing her Ph.D. in Geography at the University of California, Davis, she assisted the team at Meshki with several design, planning, and research projects in this space. One of these projects was the complete landscape design of Cruess Hall at UC Davis. With her input, the team came up with several innovative ideas, including the design of adaptive furniture for students to use on campus and the creation and presentation of ReFrame, which is UC Davis Design Department’s installation prototype for the prestigious Sofa Chicago event.

Continued collaboration between Sahoko and the team at Meshki has resulted in several successful projects over the years, and her expertise in this space presents a great opportunity for clients looking to bring their visions to life.

Teaching Experience

Mahan taught a wide range of design classes at the University of California, Davis, and American River College. He ran workshops for students across the campus, covering real-world experience, knowledge, and skills.

He also designed and taught a new upper-division course, Design 185 - Commercial Exhibition Design, at UC Davis. The class encompasses several design disciplines, including exhibition design, interior architecture, environmental graphic design, lighting design, and product design.

Course Roster

Mahan taught one of the graduate students to learn the principle of AutoCAD and 3D Studio Max to design, simulate, and render her lighting design MFA final project. During this course, the student learned a ray tracing plugin titled Chaos V-Ray on Autodesk 3D Studio Max that helped her with her final lighting simulation for her thesis project.

Teaching the principal of the AutoCAD software with a graduating undergraduate student to design students helping them to learn the software and fulfill their respective design assignments in AutoCAD, including interior design, fashion design, and graphic design.

Design cultural and commercial exhibition environments, including exhibition development and object selection, spatial planning and architectural finishes, object placement and staging, interpretive strategies, and exhibition and promotional graphics.

Computer-assisted drawing and modeling using a mid-level, multi-use CAD program. Basic architectural drawing and modeling techniques in both two-dimensional and three-dimensional CAD environments. Mahan taught students in this class to use design software and rendering plugins, including Vectorworks, Rhinoceros 3D, and Artlantis.

Introducing computer-assisted drafting and design (CADD) and basic technical drawing. This course covered orthographic and isometric projection concepts, utilizing CADD to produce basic technical drawings for basic architectural, mechanical design.

Introduction to mechanical drafting, including scaled drawing, orthogonal projection, isometric, axonometric, and perspective. This course includes basic rendering techniques.

Introduction to digital tools emphasizing graphic design, including theory, practice, and technology. This course includes principles of color, resolution, pixels, vectors, image enhancement, layout, visual organization, visual hierarchy, and typography.

Creating an Original Course

Background on DES 185

Creating Design 185 (DES 185) allowed Mahan to utilize his 10 years of experience in exhibition design, from design to construction, exhibition to trade show organization, while working with several international clients, and share his knowledge and perception with students. These students describe the course as challenging but extraordinary because it gave them an excellent practical understanding of how to put their knowledge into action. They especially loved the multidisciplinary aspect of the class and the fact that they had a chance to approach an actual client and develop a valuable and practical design for that client. During teaching this course for several years, Mahan received numerous messages that the students appreciated the knowledge they learned in the class and that it helped them to make better choices during their respective job hunting after graduation. Several students also had a chance to be hired by that client to fulfill what they started in class and get paid for their efforts and design.

Selected student work

Summary of course topics

Students need to get into groups of four, read the chapter in "Exhibition Design" by Pam Locker, and using images and captions, develop a visual presentation that illustrates the chapter's main point and takeaways. Also, working in teams of two, select a trade show exhibit from the list of 10 pdf exhibit design projects provided by the instructor. Research the exhibit, the client, and the design team. Develop a visual presentation that illustrates the exhibit project using images and captions to describe the design features and qualities, the audience experience, and whether the product/industry is marketed effectively.


Phase 1 starts with students in groups of two or three who will choose a company and contact the person in charge of exhibition design and construction. Schedule a meeting with the person to go through the series of questions inside the creative brief included in the course material. By interviewing this person in phase 1, the students have a much more understanding of their respective clients and needs. Then, groups will use a list of exhibition and tradeshow events that they can envision their clients attending, as well as a mockup of exhibition space slots. Each group will choose one of the slots for their respective clients to develop their design narrative and concept.


Phase 2 is an essential phase in the design process for building consensus and seeking approvals from the various stakeholders and clients. Scale models are still the best way to play with space and relative heights and explore object positioning. They are accessible and allow multiple users to view and interact with the elements. Students will use their scale model to explore the boundaries of the given space. Think about multiple levels, traffic flow, nearby booths, restrictions, essential products, protection and security, seating requirements, and presentation. Depending on their business strategy, some clients like to have private VIP spaces or limit certain areas for specific audiences. Remember to apply universal design principles and be mindful of the intended audience.


Phase 3 concentrates on detail, finish, and how to evoke an appropriate mood or atmosphere using materials, color, light, and architectural embellishment. The exhibition designer must understand basic construction principles and proper materials, as well as how to safely secure an object or structure. At this stage, the design team works closely with other professionals such as engineers, fabricators, technicians, media developers, vendors, and the client's marketing team. The designer creates the aesthetic direction for the environment where the products will be placed; this includes the furniture or mounts for supporting or protecting, the color behind or around, and the lighting illuminating an object.


In Phase 4, each application of the graphic identity should be tailored to suit a particular format and respond to any given client branding guidelines. Exhibition and promotional graphics are typically the responsibility of an exhibition graphic designer working in collaboration with a curator or marketing team. The graphic exhibition identity has to have the flexibility to be applied across a wide variety of formats, from exhibit texts to billboards and brochures. Exhibition graphics are associated with environmental graphic design and follow many of the same criteria applied to wayfinding and signage systems. As a rule of thumb, posters, and banners display the exhibition title (perhaps abbreviated), the venue or company logo, and a strong image that captures the essence of the exhibition, product, or brand—a carefully selected detail or crop is the most effective.


Compile the entire process (Phases 1–4) into a final design intent presentation book. The book summarizes the exhibition planning process and your final design intent. The quality and execution should be exemplary. If you were to move into the next design phase, it would involve detailed construction drawings, fabrication, and production specifications. Excision and design professionals will attend the final critique. Attendance is mandatory on presentation day.


Student final presentation