Ross Stevens

Ross Stevens, Senior Lecturer – Industrial Design

Victoria University of Wellington, 139 Vivian St, Te Aro campus, 64-4-4636165

Biography/ Manifest

Designing for mass production and hand-crafted products in various industry sectors has given Ross illuminating insights. The traditional discrepancy between input and output for consumer products has deepened the desire to create products that are manufactured more efficiently and less resource-consuming. For example, when Ross started work at his first professional job at Fisher & Paykel (1986) the term “environmental footprint” had not been heard of. Now, designing houses, high-end audio or future scenarios it’s one of the first considerations. Even during his time working for Philippe Starck in Paris questions about the environmental impact of production led to research into recyclable packaging and has culminated with his latest company PureAudio, where they reuse materials harvested from the production process.

He believes growing up in bi-cultural New Zealand has shaped his views and given him insights into the importance of natural cycles for a 4 dimensional design process. This interest was developed in his Masters of Design thesis ‘Worn out or worn in’ that explored the emotional significance of wear in electronic products.


Ross sees his main role in encouraging and provoking students to boldly go where no one has gone before with courses like Design Led Futures (DLF) and Future Under Negotiation (FUN). At the same time he also understands the importance of developing and fostering relationships with industry and international research companies to bring these dreams to life. These relationships help inform Ross about the changing needs of industry and allow early access to the latest technology.

At the moment the fastest developing technology in the field is 3D printing and Ross’ keen interest in future applications and implications of this technology has led to his involvement in Multi-property Additive-manufacturing Design Experiments (MADE). He sees 3D printing as one of the fundamental technologies that could change the impact of mass production on the environment by allowing local production and bringing industrial processes closer to natural processes.

He shares his time between teaching and practice as the Programme Director of Industrial Design and Design Director and co-owner of PureAudio.