The history and practice of Industrial Design in Victoria Australia is my research interest and this blog include posts related to this interest as well as my practice as a designer and design educator.
The Q Touch point of sale terminal for Quest was a major project for the team of designers I had the pleasure to manage for Fred Blochlinger and Mark Johnson at the Outerspace Design Group. The team at the time included Monash University graduates Simon Kooymans, Catherine Joiner, Lai Meng Lau, and Tim Gamble. A concept design by Simon Kooymans was selected from the teams concept stage and this product is still in production and sold globally.
Quest Q Touch point of sale terminal designed by Outerspace Design Group 2002
Concept sketches for the Quest Q Touch by Outerspace Design Group.
The GBC LC series HPLC pumps were designed in 1987 and are still in production today. This is quite amazing given the technology changes over almost two and a half decades. The scientific instrument industry in Victoria in the mid eighties, including companies like Varian Techtron, BWD, GBC, and ICI Instruments, were a rich source of clients for young industrial design consultancy practices like Jon Seddon and Alan Howarth's, Ideation. Jon had worked at Philips CID Clayton after graduating from Canberra and they both worked at PA Technology/Invetech before starting Ideation.
This photo taken at the 1988 RMIT industrial design graduate show in "The Cafe" Level 4, Building 8. Lionel Suttie was the lecturer in charge of final year and Ted Kayser was teaching engineering drawing. This was Lionel's last year teaching and I would join Ted in 1989 which would be my first lecturing role at RMIT University. I remember well how much Ted helped me, after class one evening in Building 49, with my first product design for Silvan, the Trukpak. The accurate calculation of a products volume and allowance for shrinkage was new to me, so his years of experience was invaluable. He delighted in teaching me the ropes. The patterns were made from my drawings, aluminium tooling cast, and the product has been in continuous production from this tool ever since - precisely 200 litres. Thanks Ted.
Pictured from left at the 1988 RMIT industrial design graduation exhibition; Robert Pataki, Lionel Suttie, Edward (Ted) Kayser, Barry Loftus, Ian Edgar, and John Westwood.
Silvan TrukPak designed by industrial designer Ian Wong in 1989. Still in production.
This Vulcan Quasar heater project is an example of the skills and techniques gained by Robert Pataki whilst at Philips CID in Clayton, passed on to designers like Phillip Slattery. Robert was a part time lecturer at RMIT industrial design in the late seventies and early eighties. Robert developed presentation skills at ACI glass and Crown Beco Lighting, but it was his career at Philips, including the opportunity to work in Eindhoven alongside Syd Mead that refined his design sketching and presentation rendering techniques.
Concept sketches by industrial designer Phillip Slattery as part of the Vulcan Quasar project. Robert Pataki Design. PA Technology. 1980
Presentation rendering by industrial designer Phillip Slattery as part of the Vulcan Quasar project. Robert Pataki Design. PA Technology. 1980
The FM320 UHF radio was designed by Robert Pataki whilst a senior industrial designer at The Philips Centre for Industrial Design at the studio in Clayton, Victoria. This product was used in police vehicles and so will have played a part in many significant operations by Victoria Police. The design was awarded an Australian Design award.
Australian Design Award winning product the Philips FM320 radio designed by Robert Pataki
Concept renderings on canson paper for Philips FM320 Radio by industrial designer Robert Pataki.
Packaging design for Philips FM320 radio by Robert Pataki.
Whilst shooting the visit by the HT Monaro this week I took the opportunity to photograph the door to room 2B1A which was the location chosen for the first industrial design honours group at RMIT University. Coordinating this studio for Harold Medd was a pleasure and I know this group who still mostly keep in close contact will enjoy seeing that the studio logo and trademark door are still there. Richard DeNys I think cut the oval hole and Ye Chin Lim designed the logo. The door was originally purple and this exercise was part of the initiative to make the space meaningful to the students.
RMIT industrial design honours Studio door modified in 1990 and still in place today.
Younger voters will not recall a time without cardboard voting booths in Victoria. Designed by Arthur de Bono the concept has evolved and was featured as one of the STILL09 products. Arthur, Edward Kayser, Mark Wilken, Elivio Bonnolo, and John Alley established the Monash Industrial Design Group in the late 1980s with projects profiled in the Industrial Design surveys in Colin Wood's "Design World" magazine.
Cardboard Voting booths designed by industrial designer Arthur de Bono.
I would be suprised if the blokes who found the "welcome stranger" gold nugget near Dunolly were more excited than I was when I found, this week, the gold quartic salad set designed by Victorian industrial designer Lionel Suttie. The bright gold contents were great but the real excitement was for the box which was in near perfect condition. This one simple piece of cardboard means so much to my research project.
I was not aware of the packaging that went with this range of products developed by Lionel in the early seventies at the Nylex factory in Hartnett Drive Seaford. RMIT industrial design students had recalled visiting the factory as Lionel was the evening plastics design lecturer. I had seen many versions of the product and even the sales brochure, but never the retail packaging. The significance for me is that this range was clearly determined to be marketed with the focus on the designer and the commitment to design by the manufacturer. We see Lionel's signature and his position with the Industrial Design Institute of Australia is a key marketing component on the box. The wonderful seventies geometric package design is fantastic.
Bessemer Quartic Salad Set designed by industrial designer Lionel Suttie.
Designed by Lionel Suttie featured on Bessemer packaging.
Packaging highlights Lionel Suttie's status as a Fellow of the Industrial Design Institute of Australia.
This week legendary Australian film actor Bill Hunter passed away. His presence on screen in so many Australian films helps record who we are in a world so dominated by other voices.
My research and interest in the careers of Victorian designers is in part driven by my passion to share the contribution to our culture by these individuals. Holden cars, a willow esky, a brownbuilt filing cabinet, and decor school lunch boxes, are as much a part of who we are as "Priscilla Queen of the Desert". Which for me makes Phillip Zmood, David Flynn, Ron Rosenfeldt, and Richard Carlson as important as Bill, or Hugo Weaving.
I loved the story of Bill on the set as a "swimming" extra because of his early skills in the pool. He thought it didn't look that hard... "I could do that", and he did...bloody well. We have a few designers who also knew they could do it.... and did it bloody well.
Bill's passing also has a link to EJO as Smart Street Films is a client. Our work has involved designing the company identity as well as DVD covers for early Bill Hunter films "Backroads" and "27A" and also the Reg Mombassa film "Golden Sandles".
Australian actor Bill Hunter in 27A.
Backroads starring Gary Foley and Bill Hunter.
DVD cover art for Golden Sandals - The Art of Reg Mombassa by EJO
Smart Street Films branding logotype designed by EJO
RMIT University alumnus industrial designer Phillip Zmood returned today to RMIT Building 2 in Bowen Street where it all began. Phillip studied industrial design in room 2B1 in the early sixties and would go on to be the first Australian Head of Design at General Motors Holden. Phillip's work on the HT GTS Monaro formed a significant part of his portfolio to become a member of the Design Institute of Australia, an organisation in which he is now a Hall of Fame member.
RMIT University alumnus Phillip Zmood pictured outside Building 2 where he studied industrial design.
GTS Monaro viewed from RMIT University room 2B1 where alumnus Phillip Zmood studied.
Original sketches by Phillip Zmood showing some of his contribution to the design of the HT Monaro, including the iconic wheel trim, boot lid and tail lamp details for the model change from HK to HT. Sketches were displayed as part of 'Zmood - Designing Holdens" exhibition at Melbourne Museum.
Victorian Monaro Club member Gabriel pictured with Phillip Zmood and his Sebring orange HT GTS 307 Monaro.
Phillip Zmood signs the GTS Monaro for a very proud owner.
The raw talent and originality in Marc Pascal's design was evident in his earliest work as a student in industrial design at RMIT. I vividly recall in 1990 hanging in the Faculty of Art Gallery, Building 2 Level B, a working prototype of a glass light fitting designed and made by Marc as a second year student. It featured on the course brochure at the time and I will continue the search of my archive for the image. Marc like all RMIT industrial design students of that era completed a brilliant group furniture production project with Hendrikus Berkers, and I was fortunate to run this in Marc's time. The chair he designed with Peter Thomas is shown below. These projects, run in Building 4, were established by Dean Holmes I think, or at least I recall Dean working with my year which was a folding chair.
Student chair prototype designed and made by Marc Pascal and Peter Thomas whilst at RMIT.
Marc Pascal chaise designed whilst a student at RMIT University.
Orchid table lamp by RMIT alumni industrial designer Marc Pascal.
The Nylex Clock is a Melbourne icon. Why is it there?
Beginning as Moulded Products in North Melbourne the business established by John Derham was a pioneer in the manufacture of plastics in Australia. The business relocated to Cremorne Street, Richmond, manufacturing with brand names Duperite and Nylex. The top of the Richmond barley silos was visible from John Derham's corner office window and it occured to him that it would be an ideal spot to promote his emerging business empire. Nylex would go on to be one of the largest manufacturers of plastics in Victoria and employ as staff or consultants many Victorian designers including; Lionel Suttie, Geoff Fitzpatrick, Edward Kayser, Ross Whitehead, Michael Simcoe, and consultants Catalyst, Cobalt Niche and Design + Industry.
Melbourne Icon the Nylex Clock.
The "clock on the silo shows eleven degrees" are the lyrics from the Paul Kelly classic Leaps and Bounds. The film clip features the band under the clock on top of the Richmond silos, and is great for it's panorama of Melbourne circa 1987. During 1986 I would regularly pass under the clock on my way to Vermont South to work with my first employer John Westwood at John Westwood Design Associates.
I remember being very excited to be selected as one of the participants from all over Australia for the Domus Academy - Winter School facilitated by Chris Ryan during the early years of the Centre for Design at RMIT. Exciting, challenging, engaging it was a brilliant experience. The opportunity to work with Michele De Lucchi, Andrea Branzi, Enzio Manzini and share that experince with so many of my peers was great.
Industrial designer Ian Wong presenting to Domus Academy lecturers Michele De Lucchi and Andrea Branzi during the 1991 Winter School.
This is an image of the Unleashed RMIT Industrial Design graduate show. This was the second Graduate show during Harold Medd's period as course coordinator, and it was my fourth show. Staged at 333 Collins street this was a highly successful event. Shawn Cooper and Jamie Ferguson did a brilliant job designing laser cut exhibition stands for each student display. This was also the first Honours Studio group which I had the pleasure to coordinate.
Industrial designer Barry Hudson designed the award winning all plastic KE12 kettle for General Electric Croydon, Victoria, Australia.
The product was an early example of an all plastic electric kettle with a single handed opening spout and adjustable whistle. The use of an integral hinge for the spout opening mechanism utilised the unique live hinge property of polypropylene, now common but at the time a novel use and very efficient to manufacture.
Awarded the Price Phillip Prize for Australian Design 1978, the KE12 electric kettle was designed by Barry Hudson.
KE12 plastic kettle designed by Barry Hudson in Melbourne Australia. Prince Philip Prize for Australian Design 1978 and Australian Design Award winner.
KE12 plastic kettle designed by Barry Hudson in Melbourne Australia. Prince Philip Prize for Australian Design 1978 and Australian Design Award winner.
A recent chat with Kjell Grant about his early career took us on a journey back to 1955, but with modern tools, not to the time, but the place. In just a few minutes using, google, google maps and street view Kjell provided the confirmation, "Yes, that's it. My desk at Raymond Lowey on the top of the "Look" Building, 488 Madison Avenue, New York City". I had seen a photo of the office and Kjell had identified himself in the shot. Note exterior and window details and rails.
Industrial designer Kjell Grant pictured at his desk in the studio of Raymond Lowey Associates. 1955
Plan of 21st floor offices occupied by Raymond Lowey Associates, Look Building, 488 Madison Avenue NYC. Designer Kjell Grant's desk marked.
Decisions about a products design are taken with increasing haste and with fewer opportunities for review, comparison and evaluation. In this environment designers need high level design appreciation and decision making skills. The skills to read, evaluate and direct design were previously developed by being part of a design team in industry which fewer students are likely to experience upon graduating. RMIT industrial design students have benefited greatly from the experience of automotive designer Bernie Walsh and his capacity to provide expert tuition and meaningful feedback. The Wacom tablets and Sketchbook Pro software have facilitated a focus on design, not technique. Concept sketches by Ryan Fonceca.
It is hard to imagine an industrial designer who has contributed more to the image of Melbourne than Ian Dryden. Ian has been responsible for the design of this cities street furniture, lighting, tram stops, news stands, Xmas decorations and much more for over twenty years. The square street rubbish bins, amongst many other designs are "STILL" in production.
Melbourne City Council rubbish bin designed by industrial designer Ian Dryden.
Concept sketch of Melbourne City Council rubbish bin designed by Ian Dryden.
Ian Edgar's significant contribution to industrial design in Victoria began in Sydney, where he was born and educated. Initially working for British Motor Corporation and then Kriesler, Ian is one of the countries pioneers in industrial design. We spoke about his archive recently with these images from the Phillips "Modular 12" portable black and white television.
Industrial designer Ian Edgar with print of b+w television detail drawing.
Philips "Modular 12"b+w television designed by industrial designer Ian Edgar 1967
Engineering drawing of handle for Philips b+w television designed by Ian Edgar 1967.