Alice Blackwood chats to industrial designer Rowen Wagner, ex-Launch Padder and now Melbourne-based toy designer.
January 19th, 2012
Getting a prototype into production is an up-hill climb for most emerging Australian designers. Seeing a prototype go into production, complete with manufacturer and retailer, relies on any number of factors – good relationships and contacts with industry, excellent exposure, and often being in the right place at the right time.
For Melbourne based designer, Rowen Wagner, it’s been a steady road to success. Wagner is currently working as a toy designer for Moose Enterprise, and has held previous roles as an industrial designer in automotive and street furniture design, as well as teaching Industrial Design at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).
His ’Grandson’ clock, created through his private industrial design practice, saw him gain vital industry exposure as a Finalist in the 2010 Launch Pad program. As part of Launch Pad, Wagner exhibited his piece at Saturday in Design (attended by over 5,000 members of the A&D community), and took part in Launch Pad networking and mentoring sessions.
“Exhibiting work and making connections is critical for an industrial designer – Launch Pad provided a good opportunity to engage not only with industry retails and buyers but also fellow designers,” says Wagner.
He also adds: “I’ve really come to appreciate, post Launch Pad, the importance for industrial designers not to work towards producing exhibition-ready pieces, but commercially feasible designs, ready for mass production.”
Following his involvement in Launch Pad, Wagner continued to develop various products – one his most exciting collaborations being the Melbourne Design Award-winning ’Ellipse’ tissue dispenser, developed with manufacturer/retailer Workshopped.
The ’Grandson’ clock, too, is now available commercially.
Bolstered by these two successful ventures, Wagner recently made the move from Sydney to Melbourne, joining Moose Enterprise as a toy designer – “which I am really enjoying,” he says. “Toy designers work for the most brutally honest and testing of clients – children.”
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