Monthly talk part of Design Matters lecture series

thumb KenWoodCroppedDesign Matters is a lecture series featuring talks from architects and designers sponsored by the faculty of environmental design at the University of Calgary.

Ken Wood, executive director of San Francisco product design and development consultancy LUNAR, spoke to a Calgary audience on Mar. 15. The talk focused on the development of successful industrial design products and what is going on at LUNAR.

Graham Livesey, environmental design professor at the university and event organizer, says the lecture series’ purpose, which started over 25 years ago, was to “bring architects and urban designers to the public.” Livesey says Design Matters can show Calgarians what leading-edge design looks like.

He wanted to show the public that “design and good business go together,” Livesey says.

LUNAR was started in 1984, and has since been “creating beautiful, ingenious and charismatic products and services,” says the company’s website.


Ken Wood has been in the design business for 25 years and holds 50 product patents. He has also worked designing computers with Apple Inc., and has established a relationship between LUNAR and Hewlett-Packard’s home-product division.Ken Wood, executive director of LUNAR, spoke to a Calgary audience about products the company has helped to develop including the Powerbook 100 with Apple.
Photo courtesy of: LUNAR

Wood spoke about the progression of products that he has created with LUNAR. His talk gave attendees an insight into the minds of the creators at LUNAR, and what designers think about when creating a new product. Looks and functionality were key points in his talk.

Wood says it is important for people to realize that “there is somebody behind the products.”

Wood displayed a wide variety of pictures of products that LUNAR has developed over the years — everything from the Powerbook 100 with Apple to a reusable water bottle with a lid shaped like a tap to show the importance of drinking tap water over bottled water.

He says he wants his talks to encourage people to “buy well designed products.”

Julia Stainforth, an environmental design graduate student at the U of C, has attended all but two of the Design Matters lectures. She says that she has always liked lectures, and when they are low-cost or free it is good for her education.

She says she will be attending the final lecture next month, which will feature Preston Scott Cohen, a professor of architecture at Harvard University on April 5.

Livesey says there are many examples of good industrial design in Calgary, which makes the talks relevant for the public, with companies such as DIRTT Environmental Solutions and SMART Technologies.

All lectures are held monthly at the U of C’s downtown campus during the academic year.

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