Mechanical Design instructor gives iconic art second life online

Canadian industrial designer Lawrie McIntosh has pushed design boundaries by creating new ways to produce items which we use every day.  For that, he’s considered a pioneer of Canadian industrial product design.

But in the 1960s, he designed something way outside the box. McIntosh created a set of Canadian animal souvenirs for the Canadian Souvenir Competition.

“I probably designed the animals to show that I am not just an engineer,” said McIntosh.

Each was originally constructed from a flat sheet of copper with etched fold lines.

Recently, the animal souvenirs have come back to life through SAIT instructor Greg Ball.

Ball, industrial designer and Mechanical Design Technology instructor, used textbooks in the classroom that featured McIntosh’s work.  When he heard McIntosh was living in Calgary, Ball connected with the retired designer, and requested that he present some of his work to SAIT students.

“That’s where this all got started,” said Ball. “We got (all) this really positive feedback from people wondering how they could get a hold of them (the animal souvenirs), or buy copies.”

When someone suggested the design patterns could be sold on the Internet, Ball and McIntosh jumped into action.

For the past two years Ball and McIntosh have been adapting McIntosh’s original designs to PDF files so that they could be downloaded from the Canadian Design Resource (CDR) website, along with written assembly instructions and photographs.  However, the CDR found the written instructions were limited, and suggested developing instructional videos.

That’s where two SAIT students, Michael Peel and Brent Gibson, came in. “At that time Michael and Brent had done an amazing video in my class for another project,” said Ball.

For about one year, Peel and Gibson have been making videos to accompany the designs.  They worked with various editing software, even utilizing green screen technology.

“Working with Lawrie was an absolute pleasure,” said Peel in an email.  “He is incredibly talented and an icon of Canadian design.” Peel and Gibson are bringing a new perspective and energy to the historial work.

“After fifty years, to see these things come to life, that is fantastic,” said McIntosh.

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