Mike Anusas on Secondment at 4c

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Mike Anusas at 4c Design

I’m Mike Anusas, a Lecturer in Design in DMEM at the University of Strathclyde. Like a few of my colleagues at 4c, I originally studied Product Design Engineering at The Glasgow School of Art and the University of Glasgow. After graduating I worked as a Design for Environment researcher at Glasgow Caledonian University and following this I started a small design partnership (Anusas Design + Development) with a fellow GSA Product Design graduate, James Anwyl; here we developed products and exhibitions for clients such as Rawlplug, Pilkington Optronics, Cullen Packaging and Glasgow1999. I then held positions with Cullen Packaging and later with Buro Happold London, before starting my career as an academic.

Within my academic career I’ve been focused on enhancing DMEM’s studio-based design teaching and developing a new area of research in design perception and sustainability. We now have graduates working for many leading product brands; whether locally, for Tannoy and Hoover, or further afield for Dyson, Adidas and Apple. It’s also great to see 3 of our graduates at 4c! However, for the last few years, I’ve been really keen to refresh my industry experience, and get up-to-date with new design skills and knowledge to benefit my teaching and research. An opportunity presented itself recently, with the Royal Academy of Engineering Industrial Secondment award and I was delighted that my application was successful!

I’m now in my fourth week of work and it has been a fantastic experience to be part of the 4c team. I’ve already learned a lot to take-back to DMEM and I hope that I can contribute to 4c through my product design skills and offering a different perspective on design.

In my work I’m going to be focused on design practices which align with my academic expertise. So this means a focus on product form generation, particularly in conceptual mechanical design, aesthetic definition and human interaction design. I am also keenly interested in developing an up-to-date understanding of the modern contexts of technological design, in terms of both the commercial contexts of cost, time and client liaison and the practice contexts of how design teams actually work through projects on a day-to-day basis.

Mike Anusas with the 4c team

To date I’ve been working on project and business planning around a new innovation and conceptual mechanical design work in relation to this. In terms of design skills, I’m getting a chance to develop my creative thinking, sketching skills and digital modelling skills. It’s been great to get my hands on the latest version of SolidWorks and I’m impressed as to what a highly accessible, advanced and rapid modelling system it has matured into. I’ve also been getting some really informative experience in experimenting with the use of NURBS/surface based approaches to digital modelling, using Rhino. This experience is helping to consolidate my understanding of surface modelling and its relevance within industry, as well opening me up to new ways of thinking about product form generation.

Soon I’ll also be working on projects requiring investigations of user perceptions and trends in design aesthetics. I’m keenly interested in how 4c think about users and how my own perspective on human factors might be relevant to projects.

I think the key value of my work so far is gaining a first-hand intensive experience of how design really occurs in everyday practice; which I have often noted is quite different from its documentation in textbooks or its representation in conventional design theory.

I’m indebted to 4c, my University and the Academy for supporting this opportunity and I think it reflects exceptionally well on the commitment that Strathclyde and the Academy and are willing to make to ensure that universities are engaged with the type of modern practice that is evident in companies like 4c.

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