China – Internship

In February of 2015 I went to China to complete an internship. Since I had made the change from Mechanical Engineering to Industrial Engineering only recently I was not yet confident about my design skills and felt like I needed more experience before starting my thesis and finishing my Master’s degree. Additionally, I was really eager to go out and see some of the world.

I searched for an internship abroad and eventually found a great company based out of the UK called TECA STUDIO. After an interview and review of my work I was invited to Shenzhen China! A big step since I had never left Europe before. I wanted to get some experience under my belt so I took the plunge.

At TECA I got a lead designer function some of the projects I worked on were mine from start to finish, others I joined at varying stages of development. Unfortunately, I can for the moment not share any of the work I have done as outlined in an NDA I signed when joining the company. I can however say that this was an unconventional internship. I got loads of responsibility and the opportunity to prove myself made me more driven and focused than I have ever been.

My duties at TECA were performed mostly in the Shenzhen office with the Shenzhen staff (as pictured above). However, a big part of the internship was also visiting factories all over the South of China, making reports about their capabilities, discussing projects with their engineers or doing quality control on the factory floor (as pictured below). During these excursions I was always well taken care of with hotels and meals always provided for me, the Chinese are very polite in business and it was a real treat visiting their factories.

During my work I was lead and supervised by Andy (company founder) and Dina (planning manager). They were extremely helpful and pushed me to be better.

My Industrial design work at Teca included:

  • Audio equipment, designing accessories and packaging for Beyerdynamic and Astell & Kern. I was a big part of this project and was responsible for communication with the clientideas, conceptsdetailing, engineering and eventually even development and quality control of the whole packaging and travel case.
  • Baby and children’s products, for companies such as Nestle, Tommee Tippee and Britax. These projects ranged from Industrial design to Graphic design and often required extensive market research and customer feedback to back up design choices.

This kind of thing might seem like a pretty typical internship, but being in China offers the unique opportunity to visit factories. Going to China and doing an Industrial Design internship is like going to a baker to learn about bread, you learn about different production techniques and materials by visiting production facilities and looking at samples. This alone has given me an amazing insight into design.

While in China I also got into costume design, doing some freelance work for a small costume design company called “Kmodestyle” in Hong Kong. I learnt what it takes to make garments and found a new interest!

China is culturally very different than anywhere I have ever been. The Chinese people understand the meaning of desperately hard work. Working along side some great designers and engineers I have learnt a great deal, most notably I learnt to be driven and focused when trying to reach my goals and that sometimes this means giving up your personal comfort and going beyond what you thought you could or should be doing.

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