Event Luncheon Speaker Series

June 12, 2018 - 11:30am to 1:00pm

This event has already occurred.


Mercury Hall
615 Cardinal Lane
78704 Austin , TX


Form, Function, and Fallacies: The Structure of Coffee Lids

1 LU

The common plastic coffee lid seems like a simple solution to a simple problem—it keeps a hot liquid in a cup, prevents spilling when drinkers move from place to place, and also allows them to sip a little bit along the way. So if this is so simple, why are there hundreds of patents for these lids, from covers with peel-back openings to complex contraptions with rotating disks and levers?

Louise Harpman and Scott Specht, whose new book Coffee Lids: Peel, Pinch, Pucker, Puncture covers this obsessive problem-solving phenomenon, will discuss the dizzying array of design solutions that have appeared over the past thirty years and the often over-the-top detours that designers can make when presented with a compelling challenge.

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About the Speakers

Louise Harpman

Louise Harpman, AIA, is the founder and principal of Louise Harpman__PROJECTS whose work focuses on architectural design, design research, and urban design. Her current projects center on net zero energy buildings and micro-unit dwellings in her role as the Director of the zeromicro™ Applied Research Consortium. Her website is louiseharpman.com.

Before founding PROJECTS, Louise Harpman was a principal for 20 years in the architecture and design firm Specht Harpman. Specht Harpman received multiple Honor Awards from the American Institute of Architects and was named “Emerging Voices” by the Architectural League of New York. The firm was recognized in Wallpaper* magazine’s Architects’ Directory as one of the “top 50 up and coming architectural practices from around the world.” The firm's designs were featured at the Museum of Modern Art, the Municipal Art Society, the Van Alen Institute, and in gallery shows in the US and UK.

Specht Harpman designed and developed the zeroHouse™, a high-performance, off-the-grid micro dwelling, as well as the Manhattan Micro Loft. Both projects established Specht Harpman as international design leaders in the micro dwelling movement.

Scott Specht

Scott Specht, AIA, is the founder and principal of Specht Architects, an architecture, design, property development, and research firm with offices in Austin, Texas and New York City. HIs website is spechtarchitects.com. Before founding Specht Architects, Scott was, for 20 years, a principal in the architecture and design firm Specht Harpman. Specht Harpman was named “Tastemakers” by House and Garden magazine and was frequently listed as one of New York City’s “Top 100” architects by New York magazine.

In addition to his work at Specht Architects and Specht Harpman, Scott was a consulting designer for Studio Daniel Libeskind in Berlin, and worked with that firm on its winning New York World Trade Center planning competition scheme.  Scott was also a designer with Deborah Berke Architect, and Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, both in New York.

Scott lectures frequently about design theory and his conceptual work at conferences and symposia sponsored by such hosts as TEDx Talks, the American Institute of Architects, The University of Texas at Austin, The University of Florida, and many others.