You are here

Duncan Anderson Design Lecture Series

Spring 2019

Designers In Their Own Words

Through the years, the Duncan Anderson Design Lecture Series has invited top professionals to share their knowledge and experience with design students at CSULB. This coming year marks the expansion of that series to a bi-monthly event. Thanks to Cecelia Anderson-Malcolm and the Duncan Anderson Endowment, CSULB now has an ongoing design lecture series to rival those at private design schools. The CSULB Industrial Design Program is working closely with IDSA-LA, and its student chapters, to schedule an exciting line-up of speakers. Please let your chapter officers know of professionals you want to meet and hear at future events.

January 31 | Kim Karlsrud & Daniel Phillips


Commonstudio is Kim Karlsrud and Daniel Phillips

Thursday, January 31 7:00-9:45pm
In The CSULB Design Department Duncan Anderson Gallery

Kim Karlsrud & Daniel Phillips

There Is No Such Thing As A Vacant Lot: Experimenting With And Within The Urban Commons

How might creatives better engage with the social, ecological, and spatial complexities of cities?  Commonstudio founders, Kim Karlsrud and Daniel Phillips will share a series of urban interventions that examine the intersection of art, design, and science.

Commonstudio is a collaborative creative practice exploring the complex ecologies of the urban landscape. The urban realities we face today are fantastically complex. They require new ways of seeing, knowing, and acting.  As creative practitioners we attempt to explore these realities and our potential role in engaging them. We view urban landscapes from many scales and perspectives in an attempt to understand the conditions of the contemporary metropolis as a complex ecosystem. In the context of our "post-wild" world, reconciling “nature” and “city” into a more seamless space of understanding becomes an increasingly urgent challenge. We believe cities can become more vibrant, resilient, and responsive from the bottom up, and we embrace this challenge with a dual spirit of the serious and the playful. By using design and public practice as a framework for action, we view our role as collective enablers, seeking overlaps between the human and the non-human, the domesticated and the feral, the visible and the invisible. For us this means embracing rather than erasing the existing legacies and conditions that define the city, however messy they might be.

February 7 | Wolfgang Joensson – VIEWSDESIGN


Wolfgang Joensson of ViewsDesign

Thursday, February 7, 7:00-9:45pm
In The CSULB Design Department, Lecture Hall 112

Wolfgang Joensson

Iconic Design​

Some products have achieved an iconic status. They are recognized by many people and are the first that come to mind when talking about a product genre. During the lecture, Mr. Joensson will explain the term iconicity, show examples and explain how objects can become iconic.

Wolfgang Joensson is a South African born German industrial designer and educator. He lives in Paris, France and Corona del Mar, CA. Throughout his career he has worked with international clients ranging from small startup companies to industrial giants, creating award-winning product, graphic, interface and package design which can be found in shops and museums worldwide. He is also the co-founder of a start-up company for sleep technology out of San Diego, CA, and a book author. He likes cocktails, cooking, culture and conversation with clever people.

February 14 | George Escobar


George Escobar of Advent Film Group

Thursday, February 14, 7:00-9:45pm
In The CSULB Design Department Duncan Anderson Gallery

George Escobar
Advent Film Group​

Designing for Cinema: Beyond the Page, Set, Screen, and In-Between​

Every word on a script leads to a visual design approach. Bringing that design to life on the set isn’t just about constructing the physical environment, costumes, and props. Designing for cinema encompasses tone, movement, and emotion. And it doesn’t stop there. Post-production elements add other layers of design, including color grading, sound mixing, and music scoring. The pacing of scene, the cadence of the dialogue, and the rhythm of the cuts are all part of the grand design. This lecture will cover how a filmmaker incorporates all of these elements under the pressures of time, budget, and personalities. “Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy night."

GEORGE ESCOBAR co-wrote and co-directed Oscar nominated “ALONE YET NOT ALONE” (for Best Original Song) and “THE ISAIAH 9:10 JUDGMENT," which was Amazon’s No. 1 faith DVD for over 75 weeks in 2012-13. George also produced and directed “COME WHAT MAY," distributed by Sony/Provident Films, produced “EVERY BOY NEEDS A HERO," released by Capitol Distribution, and most recently co-wrote & produced the upcoming movie, “THE WORLD WE MAKE.”

His next film projects include two historical ’true-story’ features: TRAPPED, a Holocaust survivor story about teenager Anita Dittman, who escapes twice from Nazi prison camps as she sought to reunite with her mother. TRAPPED recently won 1st Runner Up at the Kairos Pro Award. Escobar’s other film, MISSILEMAN, is about Wallace Clauson, America’s top secret weapon during the Cold War.

George was a producing fellow at the American Film Institute Conservatory and co-founder of Advent Film Group. Previously, he was Vice President of Product Development for Discovery Networks, Executive Director of AOL/Time Warner. He holds seven U.S. patents for interactive design and video streaming technologies and is a regular speaker at many film festivals, workshops, and film schools.

February 21 | Adam Mefford

Adam Mefford

Thursday, February 21, 7:00-9:45pm
In The CSULB Design Department Duncan Anderson Gallery

Adam Mefford
Currency / /


Currency is a future-facing network which recognizes the relevancy of diverse human capital and supports all levels of entrepreneurship through public events and a private social network localized to Los Angeles.

March 7 | Vijendra “VJ” Nalwad

photo 564x200px

Thursday, March 7, 7:00-9:45pm
In The CSULB Design Department Duncan Anderson Gallery

Vijendra “VJ” Nalwad
Vice President of Engineering and Quality, Belkin International

Lecture Title TBD

copy to come

March 21 | Carla Diana

Carla Diana Designing in the Fourth Dimension

Thursday, March 21, 7:00-9:45pm
In The CSULB Design Department Duncan Anderson Gallery

Carla Diana

Designing in the Fourth Dimension​

While we can confidently say that the future is here in terms of technological advances, we are a long way from truly understanding its impact. To do so, we need to tinker, explore, and prototype the data-infused experiences that make the physical world around us unfold over the fourth dimension–time. In this talk, Carla Diana will discuss the impact of 4D Design, from interactive objects and clothing to mixed reality and robotics, looking at the critical work that today’s design students will do to shape the world of tomorrow.

Carla Diana is a designer, author and educator who explores the impact of future technologies through hands-on experiments in product design and tangible interaction. She has designed a range of products from robots to connected home appliances, and her designs have appeared on the covers of Popular Science, Technology Review and the New York Times Sunday Review.

Carla has been granted the honor of creating the 4D Design program at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, serving as its first Designer in Residence; it will begin accepting students in Fall 2019. She is an ongoing collaborator with the Socially Intelligent Machines Lab at the University of Texas, Austin, where advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning are manifest in expressive robots.

Carla writes and lectures frequently on the social impact of robotics and emerging technology and created the world’s first children’s book on 3D printing, LEO the Maker Prince. She is a coauthor of a forthcoming book on smart object design to be published by Harvard Business Review Press and currently cohosts the Robopsych Podcast, a biweekly discussion around design and the psychological impact of human-robot interaction.

She holds a B.E. in Mechanical Engineering from the Cooper Union and an M.F.A. in 3D Design from the Cranbrook Academy of Art.

March 28 | Rich Altherr

Rich Altherr


Thursday, March 28, 7:00-9:45pm
In The CSULB Design Department, Lecture Hall 112

Rich Altherr
President and Owner of Nature Comes Standard

Biomimicry And Design​​

I am the President and Owner of Nature Comes Standard LLC, a biomimicry engineering research and design consultancy. I am also the founder of the nonprofit Biomimicry Detroit which inspires (re)connection with nature, intellectual education, civic collaboration, and social activities in the Detroit-metro Michigan area. Nature has been an integral part of my Michigan upbringings from building tree forts as a child to living along the water’s edge. In contrast, I grew up with a strong affinity for cars, leading me to pursue a mechanical engineering bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and a mechanical engineering master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Over 20 years, I worked at Chrysler, GM, and Ford; an automotive supplier; and for a brief time, ran my own online eco-friendly home goods business.

While I have worked in many facets of the automotive design, the majority of my experience encompasses the design and development of automotive suspension
components at Chrysler/DaimlerChrysler/Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. In my continual effort to be ecologically mindful, I received my biomimicry certificate from Arizona State University (ASU) and a Biomimicry Specialist Certification (BSpec) from the Biomimicry 3.8. In 2020, I will complete a biomimicry master’s degree from ASU and Biomimicry Professional Certification (BPro) from Biomimicry 3.8. Besides my love of cars and nature, I enjoy kayaking, camping, hiking with Cheetah (my 9-year-old boxer-mix), or tinkering with my 1969 Dodge Charger and 1975 VW Beetle.

April 11 | Alexa Fleur

Alexa Fleur

Thursday, April 11, 7:00-9:45pm
In The CSULB Design Department, Lecture Hall 112

Alexa Fleur

Alexa Fleur is an entrepreneur and co-founder of nonprofit, Chicks Can Code, and co-founder of the newly acquired annotation technology company, CritiqueIt Inc. She is a writer, speaker and passionate evangelist for a human-centered problem solving method called design thinking.

All people have potential to innovate and problem-solve. Innovation and problem-solving will have its best chance of success with a proven method and a collaboration between diverse people. The results are measurable "intersectional ideas", solutions formed from unexpected combinations. 

The method we use is called Design Thinking. It’s a human-centered process that takes a team from idea to action. It blends the needs of people (what do people need?) with what’s feasible (what can we do?), with metrics of success (what defines success for us?).

April 18 | Robin Hayashi

Robin Hayashi


Thursday, April 18, 7:00-9:45pm
In The CSULB Design Department Duncan Anderson Gallery

Robin Hayashi

Copy to come

April 25 | Christian Bretz and Jessica Villarreal

Jessica Villarreal and Christian Bretz

Thursday, April 25, 7:00-9:45pm
In The CSULB Design Department Duncan Anderson Gallery

Christian Bretz and Jessica Villarreal

Virtual reality has been called the final medium, because once we are finally able to recreate a world we can live in digitally, whether in realistic or abstract form, what medium could possibly come beyond that? The limitless potential of this technology inspired us to be one of the pioneers of this new industry, with the mission of creating applications that utilize the immersive power of VR while simultaneously giving the user a greater appreciation for the real world.

Christian Bretz

Christian's fascination with virtual reality started in high school when he completely remodeled his entire school in the Quake 2 game engine. Realizing virtual reality technology was still a ways off from being widely available, he instead chose a career in filmmaking as a director, writer, producer and actor. During this time Christian created one of the first viral video short films ever made, and started his own video production company with clients that included NBC Universal, Machinima and Lootcrate to name a few.

Although Christian's focus was on film, he remained an avid gamer and kept himself informed of the latest gaming and tech trends. At the E3 Expo in 2013, Christian had the opportunity to try out an Oculus DK1 and was instantly convinced that this was the future of several mediums, and that VR tech was finally meeting its potential. Not wanting the industry to advance without him, Christian decided to quit film making and dive into the world of VR.

With no gaming development background, Christian taught himself how to program for VR in the Unreal Engine and co-founded VoyagerVR. The company was founded on the idea that virtual reality is a technological breakthrough that can be used for amazing things outside of just entertainment. So, within three months of self teaching he was able to release his first educational experience, Stonehenge VR. This program went on to inspire many users, became a launch title on HTC's Viveport, has been featured in several of the biggest tech, gaming, and entertainment blogs (Variety, CNET, Tech Crunch), and have installed exhibits in two of the most iconic museums in the country:  the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, WA and the Museum at Prairiefire in Overland Park, KS.

Most recently VoyagerVR was featured in Epic's Unreal Engine Showcase and is currently working on new multiplayer VR experiences featuring multiple historical locations.

Jessica Villarreal

Jessica has been hosting on-air video game coverage since 2005. Starting with All Games Radio, she has lent her talents to the likes of Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment (WBIE), Machinima, Spike TV, GameTrailers, SMOSH Games, What's Trending, Revision3 and appeared as a guest host on G4’s The Feed. She has also hosted internationally in Italy for the Yu-Gi-Oh Trading Card Game World Championships, and Japan to cover the live action Ghost in the Shell movie trailer reveal. Jessica's enthusiasm for games went beyond her work with the media as she was also the Co-Creator and Producer of "Best Game Show Ever" on YouTube.

As a Co-Founder of VoyagerVR, Jessica helps run the day to day business development, production, setting strategies, software development and building relationships that shape the company.

May 2 | Alyson Nakamura

Alyson Nakamura

Thursday, May 2, 7:00-9:45pm
In The CSULB Design Department Duncan Anderson Gallery

Alyson Nakamura
Charity: Water​

Embracing Iterative Design Principles to Build Meaningful Products and a Meaningful Career

Alyson is a designer based in New York City always seeking out the intersection of technology and social good. A self-taught designer, Alyson has designed for small agencies, midsize startups, and large companies like Expedia. She currently leads product design at charity: water, a nonprofit organization on a mission to bring clean and safe drinking water to every person on the planet. There, she focuses on the digital donor experience, including donating, fundraising, and reporting back on the incredible impact that supporters have.
Design iteration is most often discussed in relation to improved usability, better UX, and increased ROI. But at its core, iterative design pushes us to pursue a deep and honest understanding of the products we design and the users who encounter them. In this talk, I'll round up a series of case studies that illustrate how iteration fuels purposeful products and meaningful work.

May 9 | Graham Hanson

Graham Hanson

Thursday, May 9, 7:00-9:45pm
In The CSULB Design Department Duncan Anderson Gallery

Graham Hanson
GHD Partners

Lecture title to  come

Copy to come