The Emergence of Industrial Design as a Discipline

The design of public spaces is multidisciplinary by nature. Traditionally, this involved landscape architects, engineers, architects and urban designers. However, as the design of public spaces gets more importance in many countries, new professions are staking a claim to their inclusion. Artists (and sculptors) are known to be included in some design teams, as also industrial designers.

You are among the first generation of Industrial Designers to begin work in the design of Public Spaces. What was it like when you first started out?
When I started studying at the Design Academy in Eindhoven in the 1980s, the discipline of Industrial Design in the design of public spaces was in its infancy. At the Design Academy, the specialisation ‘Public Space’ had just been introduced. Prior to that, the Design Academy, which had grown in the city of Philips, was more focussed on purely Product Design and Product Presentation. With the increased interest in the 1980s in Public Spaces, the Design Academy introduced a specialisation in it. The first batch of specialists in Public Design graduated in 1991. I was part of the second batch (1992).