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Royal College of Art

Misha Black (1910—1977) architect and industrial designer


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L. Bruce Archer


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A highly influential figure in the design methods movement, Archer taught industrial design engineering at the Central School of Arts & Crafts, London, before taking up a post as visiting professor at the Hochschule für Gestaltung at Ulm, Germany, in 1961 to 1962. The curriculum there had moved firmly away from notions of the designer as an individual creative artist to a member of a team with a wide range of disciplinary skills who was able to solve design problems in an informed way. Archer's analytical approach to design was conveyed in a number of seminal articles in Design magazine and made itself felt in his teaching and research activities at the Royal College of Art, London. There, from 1962, he headed the Research Unit of the School of Industrial Design (Engineering) under Misha Black. Funded by a number of key external bodies including the Nuffield Foundation, some major projects were successfully carried out by Archer's Research Unit, most importantly one devoted to hospital bed design that pioneered an extensive and systematic methodology. In 1967, L. Bruce Archer's work was recognized by the RCA: he was promoted to a professorship and the Research Unit given departmental status on its own right as the Department of Design Research. Amongst Archer's most important publications are A Systematic Method for Designers (1964), Technological Innovation: A Methodology (1971), and Design Awareness and Planned Creativity in Industry (1974).

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