Robert I. Blaich, FIDSA
Inducted into the Academy of Fellows: 1981
US industrial designer with a BFA in industrial design from Syracuse University, he worked in design and marketing before starting with the Herman Miller Furniture Company in 1953, and served as its vice-president of corporate design and communications from 1968 to 1979. In 1980, he became head of design at Royal Philips Electronics in the Netherlands, where he integrated engineering, marketing, and design and built a new corporate image of global design. In its 80-year history (as of 2005), Philips has had only five directors, including Blaich.
An active member of IDSA, he became a Fellow in 1981. He was president of The International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) from 1985 to 1987. In 1990, he received an honorary doctorate in design from Syracuse University and in 1991, was knighted by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.
He remained at Philips until his retirement in 1992, when he founded Blaich Associates in Aspen, Co. He wrote Product Design and Corporate Strategy (1993), and New & Notable Product Design (1995). In 1999, he became chairman of the board for the design firm of Teague (formerly Walter Dorwin Teague Associates).
Blaich is on the board of the Institute of Design-IIT, The College of Visual and Performing Art at Syracuse University, The Beal Centre for Strategic Creativity-Ontario College of Art and Design, and INDEX-2005 and 2007, Copenhagen, Denmark. He has been a juror for five consecutive Red-Dot awards in Essen, Germany, and a visiting professor in the Department of Industrial and Interaction Design at Syracuse University. To continue his active interest in sculpture, he studies every summer at the Anderson Ranch Art School in Snowmass, Colo. His winter pastime is skiing.