Industrial Designer of the Year 2014: Lukas Peet
Are you ready to let Lukas Peet alter your environment?
The industrial section of the design world is a different sort of fish. Where a slick new residence will get accolades from all who pass by it, and tourists will stop their cars to photograph a shiny new sculpture, industrial designers must adjust themselves to the reality that their masterpieces almost immediately recede into the fabric of people’s lives. To the extent they elicit a response at all it’s of the, “I should have thought of that” variety.
The work of Lukas Peet elicits a lot of “I should have thought of that.” Anyone who’s ever hung a chandelier that is supported by one cord yet powered by another eyes Peet’s deceptively simple Rudi light, its sole cord attached seemingly in the casual way cool Europeans throw on a scarf, and thinks, “Now, that’s clever.” Or they look at his industrial, felt-covered Slab series lighting, chic but muted, and think, “That’s a really good idea.” But spend more than a few minutes with the Canmore-raised designer and you realize his goals are less about personal accolades and more about designing objects whose functionality incorporates everything that is needed and almost nothing that isn’t—a product, in part, of his Rocky Mountain upbringing: “Growing up in the mountains meant I was close to nature all the time, and there’s no more insightful way to learn design than seeing nature at work: only the bare essentials of form and functionality are present and evolution takes care of the rest.”
From Alberta, an 18-year-old Peet moved to Holland, where he spent four years at the prestigious Design Academy Eindhoven (alma mater of Tord Boontje and famed expeller of Marcel Wanders). His Canadian sensibility, coupled with his exposure to the greats of European design, has resulted in a design ethos that’s all his own. It’s this fresh outlook that’s seen the now 27-year-old designer rack up accolades that would be the envy of a practitioner twice his age: commissions from Brooklyn producer Roll and Hill and Umbra, winning the Emerging Designer competition at Toronto’s Design Exchange and having a solo exhibition at their museum earlier this year. Judge Sarah Fager, a designer for Ikea, wryly understated his accomplishments when she noted that Lukas has “been very active and focused since graduation,” and judge Paolo Cravedi of Alessi singled Peet out for an even higher compliment: “We valued Lukas’s appreciation for the art of craft, something that [many] young designers are sadly losing.” And then there’s everyone else who sees a Lukas Peet design and says: “I should have thought of that.”