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Top international designer appointed Professor

Victoria University has appointed New Zealander Simon Fraser, an internationally celebrated product designer, as a Professor of Industrial Design.

As Assistant Design Director for Porsche Design in Austria, Fraser has designed products ranging from television sets to mobile phones and even passenger trains. At Porsche he has worked for a select list of major international clients, including Sharp, TEAC, NEC and Samsung.

In late 1999, PRODESiGN magazine said Fraser had designed “some of the most exciting consumer products in the international market place”. Over the past twenty years he has won many international design awards, including awards for a television set, sunglasses with magnetic exchangeable lenses and a cordless phone.

Professor Clarence Aasen, Founding Head of Victoria’s School of Design, said he was elated that a new generation of New Zealand designers would be able to benefit from Fraser’s expertise.

“As New Zealand’s first Professor of Industrial Design, Simon will be an inspiring mentor for our staff and students,” Professor Aasen said.

“His appointment is tremendous news for the future of design at Victoria. Simon is a classic example of an ex-pat Kiwi who has carved a international reputation. Now a new generation of New Zealand designers will benefit from his expertise.”

“This is an excellent appointment,” said Science Faculty Dean Peter Englert. “To meet the demands of the world market New Zealand needs to be at the forefront of research, development and design.”

“With this in mind, Professor Fraser’s appointment has been made with a view to enhancing the links between the School of Design and the rest of the Faculty of Science. In developing these links Professor Fraser will add a new and distinctive dimension to the Faculty’s expertise in technology.”

“This Professorship is one of a series of very high level appointments we are making in the Faculty of Science, aimed at recruiting academic leaders who will attract students, research and development,” said Professor Englert.

Professor Fraser grew up in Hamilton and graduated from the Elam School of Fine Arts in Auckland in 1974. He began his design career at Fisher & Paykel, where he worked for four years before moving to Austria and starting work for Porsche Design. Over the past decade he has been a regular visiting academic and design tutor at the prestigious Art Centre School of Design in California and Switzerland.

Porsche Design is a spin-off of the Porsche car company. Ferdinand Porsche, grandson of the founder of the Porsche car company, managed the company’s in-house design studio until 1972, designing the legendary 911 Carrera. When the company was put under independent management, Ferdinand started Porsche Design, which focuses on the consumer product market.

Professor Fraser will start at Victoria in November.

Victoria University Wellington

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