Industrial Designers Visit Laurence for the STEAM Elective Kickoff

On Friday, March 9th, world-renowned industrial designer, Michael DiTullo, and CEO of Chatsworth-based ICON 4x4 cars, Jonathan Ward, visited our students to talk about their collaboration making and designing custom-made Land Rovers and Broncos. Both of these innovative makers talked about their passion for design and making their dreams come true to an audience of students who will be creating designs for their own electric cars as part of a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) elective.

As part of Laurence School's STEAM program, students work on design-thinking projects aimed at inspiring them to use their imaginations and technology - old and new - to make the world a better place, such as imagining how 3-D printers could be used to make more affordable prosthetics and designing inventions to help people with Cerebral Palsy live more independently.

DiTullo shared with students the story of how his math teacher "caught" him doodling in class. Rather than scolding him, she encouraged him to attend the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design. Famous for his sketches, DiTullo spoke about the importance of visual fluency, explaining that "people have been drawing as a form of communication twice as long as [they've] been talking."

Students were then treated to a visit with Ward, who brought one of his coveted Icon FJ model cars - a carefully crafted and revamped Land Rovers. "I always loved cars, sketching, and taking apart stereos and putting them back together," he said. "I stayed true to my dream and hoped people would want to buy them." And they did. The Icon FJ model starts at $200,000 and Jay Leno commissioned Ward's company to work his design transformation on a 1958 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud.

Before leaving, DiTullo demonstrated signature interview style that gets to the heart of what clients really want for their designs by interviewing a student about how she would want a car to be designed for her own family. DiTullo live sketched her ideas, while students in the audience made their own sketches. DiTullo's sketches have become the designs for a host of products including Air Jordans, ICON cars, Vtech toys, and a range of consumer electronics from smart watches to speakers.

DiTullo also learned a lot from his visit to Laurence - read what he had to say in his article: What I'm Learning from Designing with Kids.