Susan Lyons

Susan Lyons is the President of Designtex, a design and product development company providing research-based materials for the built environment.
Previously, Lyons was the Executive Vice President of Design and Marketing for Designtex, leaving in 2002 to start a collaborative studio focused on sustainable product development.

Before returning to Designtex in 2012, Lyons consulted for Herman Miller as the Creative Director for Materials. Other studio projects included the design of a patented closed loop system of printing whose goal is to eliminate the concept of waste by designing products so that their material value can be harnessed again and again in the future instead of ending up in a landfill.

Lyons’ work in sustainable product development began in 1993, when she approached William McDonough to collaborate on a project to develop the first cradle-to-cradle product—a collection of compostable contract textiles. Their work together has been recognized globally as a model of sustainable business development and has been chronicled in case studies used by UVA’s Darden School of Business and Harvard Business School. The project and resulting products won the highest honors for the Design Museum in London.

Lyons worked in India establishing village cooperatives that could produce exportable products using traditional methods such as block printing, applique and tent making. With local artisans, Lyons designed retail products that were exported to the U.K. and the United States.

While a student at Williams College, Lyons and two classmates started Alliance Editions as an independent study. AE investigated the intersection of art and commerce and became a company that designed printed t-shirts and bags for museums, cultural institutions and retail stores. Clients included the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Santa Fe Opera and Bloomingdales.

Lyons is on the board of the Green Blue Institute. She is the recipient of numerous design awards and her work can be found in museum collections both here and in Europe.

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