Design Council chief design officer Mat Hunter is leaving the organisation to take on a role at the newly formed Central Research Laboratory.
Hunter, who has been at the Design Council for five-and-a-half years, is taking on the post of strategy director at the CRL.
CRL has been set up by a team including founding director Daniel Charny. It is backed by developer Cathedral Group and aims to support product-led businesses at every stage of their development. Hunter says: “CRL has made some great progress already in attracting a pilot cohort of ventures which is currently receiving support, next comes the work to evolve the longterm strategy and to grow the facility.
“It’s exciting to see growing activity in the UK for generating new design-led manufactured-product businesses.”
CRL is based at the Old Vinyl Factory in Hayes, west London, formerly home to record label EMI and the EMI Central Research Laboratory.
Hunter says the move will build on the work he has done at the Design Council through initiatives such as Design Council Spark, which aims to support manufactured product-led start-ups.
Alongside his role at CRL, Hunter says he will also be starting up a separate, second initiative, focused on innovative health and care product and services. He says: “This is an area of increasing interest and activity in the UK and one where great design must be at the core.”
Hunter says: “I’m delighted to be joining the leadership team at Central Research Laboratory, helping them to develop the UK’s first purpose built facility dedicated to entrepreneurial makers.
“Digital technologies have transformed the way in which we manufacture, finance and market physical products and its exciting to be constructing some of the support system that will help create a new generation of product businesses.
Hunter adds: “I’ve learned a huge amount while at the Design Council about how design drives innovation in diverse contexts and I’m especially proud of the products and services that we have helped bring into existence through our Challenges programme. I wish Design Council well for the future.”
Prior to joining the Design Council, Hunter was a partner at IDEO, where he worked for nearly 15 years.
Design Council chief executive John Mathers says: “Mat led the Design Challenges team, demonstrating how design can create new solutions for some of the biggest, most intricate issues of our time.
“I’d like to personally wish Mat the best of luck in his new endeavours. The scope of his new roles, and our own ambitious plans, will mean that I am sure this will not be the last time we collaborate.”
Mathers says Hunter’s former role will be incorporated into the new director of design programmes position, part of a number of senior role changes at the Design Council.
As well as a the new director of design programmes post, the Design Council is also bringing a new director of marketing; a programme development manager for the Design for Europe programme; and a deputy director for architecture and built environment in Design Council Cabe.