Sessions at SXSW Interactive 2011 about Industrial Design

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Tuesday 15th March 2011

  • Designing Ideas, Not Objects

    by Robert Brunner

    About the Speaker: Robert Brunner’s career as an industrial designer is deeply tied with the evolution of the high technology industry itself. The son of a development pioneer of the first hard disk drives built at IBM, the San Jose native pursued a lifelong fascination for high tech products as a designer after graduating with a degree in Industrial Design from San Jose State University in 1981.

    Robert’s work has spawned numerous brand-defining designs during the past two decades. He founded Lunar Design in 1984 after working as a designer and project manager at several Silicon Valley companies. He subsequently went on to become director of industrial design at Apple Computer in 1989, where he established the internal design group and provided design and direction for all the company's products. In 1996, he became partner in the San Francisco office of Pentagram, one of the world’s most influential design firms, working with numerous Fortune 500 companies including Dell, Amazon, Nike and Hewlett Packard on strategic brand consulting and industrial design programs.

    In 2006, alongside his tenure as a Pentagram partner, Brunner launched Fuego, a new concept in outdoor grilling. As Fuego’s chief industrial designer, Brunner is re-defining the rituals of outdoor cooking by embracing high levels of modernist design and utility. In 2007, working with Interscope Geffen A&M chairman Jimmy Iovine and hip hop icon Dr. Dre, Robert helped launch the Beats by Dr. Dre brand of headphones and created the popular Beats Studio line. In a relatively short time, Beats by Dr. Dre has become the most sought after brand in personal audio. Today, he and his team create the majority of Beats products on the market.

    Robert left Pentagram in mid 2007 to found Ammunition, a design and development studio based in San Francisco. He leads his company as founder and creative director, focusing on communicating strategic innovation through product design, brand and surrounding experience. Ammunition’s current clients include Barnes and Noble, Polaroid, Kohler, Williams Sonoma and Adobe. Robert’s work has been widely published in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. His product designs have been recognized in numerous design and industry awards and reviews, and his work is included in the permanent design collections of the Museum of Modern Art in both New York and San Francisco. His firm Ammunition has been listed in Fast Company Magazine’s top 10 innovative design companies list for 3 years running, and last year Robert was featured in the magazine’s list of top 100 creative professionals. Robert also has taught advanced product design at Stanford University.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Ballroom D, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage audio clip

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