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Duncan Anderson Design Lecture Series Kicks Off With “Urbanized”

Published: April 2, 2012

The highlight of the Duncan Anderson Design Lecture Series this spring will be when documentarian Gary Hustwit screens his film “Urbanized” on Thursday, April 5, at 7 p.m. in the University Theater. Admission is free.

The series was established by the Anderson-Malcolm family to honor the memory of Duncan Anderson, a former CSULB industrial design (ID) student who died while attending the university. The series is offered in conjunction with a pair of $6,000 Duncan Anderson scholarships that support two outstanding industrial design majors every year.

Series organizer David Teubner, a CSULB graduate and member of the Design Department since 1992, thanked series benefactor Cecilia Anderson-Malcolm for her continuing yearly support, “It is Cecelia’s interest and support that makes our Industrial Design Program special,” he said.

“In the past, we brought one prominent lecturer to campus each year,” recalled Teubner of the original series. “Then we decided to create a class to assure us of an audience of a certain size. Once we had a class, we needed more than one speaker. The class meets 15 times, and the original idea was for seven speakers, but as it turned out, we were able to get more.”

The spring 2012 Duncan Anderson Lecture Series includes:

Filmmaker Hustwit on April 5, Director of Brand Communications for San Francisco’s Smart Design Anna Shaw on April 19; the principal architect at the New York office of Perkins Eastman Nicholas Leahy on April 26; food, retail and specialty interiors expert Deborah English on May 3; and Architectural Area Lighting’s Rob Nankil on May 10.

Hustwit is an independent filmmaker based in New York and London who has produced eight feature documentaries including the award-winning “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” about the band Wilco and “Moog,” about the electronic music pioneer Robert Moog. “Urbanized” features some of the world’s foremost architects, planners, policy makers and thinkers as it explores such little-known civic improvements as the bike lanes of Bogota, the walkways of Cape Town and the new housing projects of Santiago.

“The lecture series is going well,” said Teubner. “The series is in its fourth semester and it’s been quite an adventure. As time has gone on, we have taken bigger and bigger chances.”

Teubner believes the series offers CSULB students a great networking opportunity. “I’m amazed by the number of connections formed between industry professionals and CSULB design majors,” he said. “They’re seeing paths they never even thought of. That’s what’s really exciting about it.”

Teubner believes the ID program enjoys a symbiotic relationship with the local chapter of the Industrial Designers Society of America. “They help us and we help them,” he said. “They help us meet new people and we get involved with their events. Over time, we have gotten closer to the point where the former chair of the Los Angeles chapter and the current chair, Max Beach and Shelley Takahashi, respectively, are both here as adjunct faculty members. What’s great is that it strengthens our program because we have an ongoing direct link with industry.”

Duncan Anderson lecture series logo

The IDSA represents the industrial design profession, with a focus on furthering design quality, effectiveness and positive image. IDSA’s mission is to take the lead in the industrial design profession, mainly through networking but also by promoting education and professional development. IDSA-LA is the Los Angeles Chapter of the IDSA, the Southern California “voice” of the industrial design profession.

Past series highlights include the panel last November hosted by designer Megan Stanton on food preparation. “The panel setting has the advantage of disagreement. The members will not always see eye to eye and the resulting debate informs the students. It was fun, lively and never stopped. Someone was always talking and someone always had an opinion. Freya Estreller was praised for her high-tech ice cream sandwich trucks and her designs for the truck, the brand and the images,” recalled Teubner. “I wanted to explain to our students that they didn’t necessarily have to work for others. Our students have been given tools by CSULB’s Design Department that enable them to go out into the world and create their own opportunities.”

Another standout was Paul Rowan, who spoke to the series in November on “The Whole Brain Designer.” Rowan is a design pioneer in the housewares industry and is vice-president of design and founding partner at Umbra in Toronto. “It was while we were sharing dinner with Paul that he first mentioned opportunities for collaboration, the kind they’ve offered only to three other universities so far,” Teubner said. “Our students are now designing products for Umbra. The students’ first challenge was to study all of Umbra’s products to understand what they were about. Umbra offers cash prizes for the best projects and if Umbra decides to license any of the products that CSULB students design in the studio, the students and the school will sign a licensing agreement. The product actually will be produced, distributed and offered for sale. Not only will the student receive a modest percentage but so will the Industrial Design program. All of this is because of the lecture series.”

Teubner encourages other faculty members to make the same commitment to outreach that Design has. “I recently attended a faculty meeting where someone wished they had stayed in better touch with their alumni,” Teubner said. “We have always kept in contact with our alumni. From the founding days of the department, alumni relations have been a priority. I’ve tried to maintain and build on that with the series. Plus, the IDSA-LA has a webpage that gives the CSULB program extra credibility. Between the Duncan Anderson Foundation and IDSA-LA, CSULB’s Industrial Design program carries a lot of weight. It’s all coming together.”

–Richard Manly