Simon Fraser

Prof Simon Fraser profile picture

Professor of Industrial Design Architecture and Design Faculty Office


Dip. Fine Arts (Hons) Industrial Design, University of Auckland, New Zealand


Simon’s professional career as an Industrial Designer includes four years at Fisher&Paykel where he contributed to the design and development of home appliances, as well as their first healthcare products in the then newly established Healthcare Division. This was followed by more than twenty years in Europe at the highly regarded Porsche Design Studio, where he designed a wide range of consumer and capital products for major international clients. He was appointed Assistant Design Director at Porsche Design in 1997.

In 2001 Simon joined the VUW School of Design as the founding Programme Director of Industrial Design. He took over as Head of School in December 2006 until 2013 and was subsequently appointed to a three year term as the Associate Dean (Research & Innovation) for the Faculty of Architecture and Design. In addition to teaching undergraduate courses Simon also supervises and examines postgraduate candidates. He has a long track record of industry collaboration in both teaching and research.

In 2002/4 Simon participated in the Government's 12 member NZTE Design Industry Taskforce to develop strategies to raise the global competitiveness of New Zealand businesses ‘by design’. He was subsequently appointed to the Better by Design Advisory Board. More recently he has participated in international review committees in Australia and the Netherlands to evaluate and advise on design research performance. He is also a Steering Committee member for the Consortium for Medical Device Technologies (CMDT).

Current appointments include; a Principle Investigator (Design and Additive Manufacturing) for the New Zealand Product Accelerator; Associate Director/Principle Investigator for the Technology Platform/Design & Manufacturing in the Medical Technologies Centre of Research Excellence (MedTech CoRE); a Principal Investigator National Science Challenge 10/Science for Technological Innovation, Portfolio 5: Materials, Manufacturing Processes and Applications/Spearhead project: Bio-based Composites for 3D printing.


Simon has over 30 years experience in practice based research for industry and academia, with an increasing shift in emphasis from the mass production of manufactured products to digital fabrication and additive manufacturing. Current activities focus on facilitating translational research by bringing together early stage science and design research, with a view to more effective commercialization and end-user impact. Examples include: materials science research and design applications for industry through the NZ Product Accelerator; integrating design into bioengineering and clinical research through theDesign & Manufacturing Technology Platform in the Med Tech CoRE; exploring design applications for early stage science in the National Science Challenge#10, Science for Technological Innovation, Spearhead Portfolio 5: Bio-based composites for 3D printing.

His research websites are:

  • MADE, Multi-property Additive-manufacturing Design Experiments. This is the concerted manifestation of 15 years of research and knowledge at Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand) into emerging digital technologies – specifically 3D printing – and its commitment to educating students for a changing and challenging new world.
  • Smart Interactions Design. In the Smart Interactions Design lab, the design and research expertise of industrial designers, media designers and design researchers get together to work in multidisciplinary teams with professionals from other disciplines, including engineers and clinicians, to solve real world problems.

Selected publications and events

‘Renewing Materials: 3D Printing and Distributed Recycling Disrupting Samoa’s Plastic Waste Stream’ Taito-Matamua,L. Fraser,S. Ok,J. Conference: Unmaking Waste 2015. Zero Waste Research Centre for Sustainable Design and Behaviour and the University of South Australia. May 2015.

‘Digital Craft in Digital Space: a paradigm shift in the making’. Fisher,M., Fraser,S., Miller,T., Stevens,R., Tinnin,J., Zwaan,A. 7th international DeSForM Conference (Design and Semantics of Form and Movement) April 2012 Wellington. ISBN 978-0-475-12389-3 pp222-233

New perspectives on form: Real-time, virtual modelling in networked 3D environments. Fraser, S., Lyons, M., Miller, T., Barnard, M., Henning, H., Looser, J., Seichter, H., Billinghurst, M. Proceedings of VR@P4, Edited by: Paulo Jorge Bartolo et al., London, CRC Press, ISBN/ISSN: 978-0-415-87307-9, pp.543-549.

Exhibition Curation: The 3D Digital Archive of the Future. With the National Library of New Zealand. April/June 2015.

Conference Coordination: DeSForM 2012: Design & Semantics of Form & Movement. International committee member and coordinator of the DeSForM2012 committees.