An international career… at a French company
In common with nearly 30% of our Master’s graduates, Arthur Senant decided to pursue his career abroad after finishing his degree. Although based in Hong Kong, he is working for the French group Carrefour. Interview with an inquisitive designer.
Can you remind us of your educational and professional background?
In 2003, after doing an HND diploma in Electrical Engineering & Industrial Computing (DUT), I joined the Product Design Master’s course at L’École de design. In 2008, I did my final internship at Décathlon in Lille before graduating. Then he worked for the Nantes-based industrial design agency Faltazi in 2009 and for Innovate Product Design design agency in Salisbury in 2010. 2011 marked the beginning of his adventure in Hong Kong with Groupe Carrefour. And I’m still there in the capacity of Design & Packaging manager.
Why did you choose design after an HND in technology (DUT)?
I didn’t really have a scientific background so I was looking more at engineering schools. I decided to change direction during the second year of my HND in Electrical Engineering and industrial computing, towards a course combining both the technical skills acquired over the past few years and research into aesthetics and practical uses. During your first years at L’École de Design, you try and find your path, you learn about the industry and gradually, thanks to the work placements, you get to know your future profession and the many career possibilities. In the 4th year, my career guidance was relatively clear and simple. I wanted to combine practicality and pleasure, and turn my ever-increasing passion for design into a career in a motivating environment. That’s why I quickly decided to discover other cultures and stimulate my curiosity every minute of the day. I certainly have my fair share of challenges and complications here in Hong Kong.
Can you give us an example of a typical product you’ve worked on?
I’ve worked mainly on sacoches d’ordinateur POSS. With over 120,000 bags sold a year, these Poss bags have made an excellent name for themselves on the national market. Hardwearing and practical, every feature has been carefully designed: a perfect mix of elegance and style, durable and functional, they were designed to take care of your multimedia equipment.
In your career so far, what have been the constraints and successes?
The salary can put you off when you start a career as a designer. Sometimes you have to be prepared to make sacrifices in the first few years. But by making the right career choices and especially by proving your worth to the company (or to yourself), the balance will naturally right itself if you put the work in.
In fact, that’s how the successes start happening quickly: commercial successes, recognition of the profession, increased responsibilities, personal fulfilment, etc. But a success is above all a team success, an idea doesn’t come about by itself, development doesn’t happen when people work alone and the same is true for marketing. I think that my greatest success is to have met so many people from different backgrounds through my professional activity, each of them incredibly talented in their respective fields, who have helped me to grow and share these successes and convictions. One of our greatest achievements was managing to get rid of all the polystyrene in the packaging of Carrefour’s electronic products. That may be surprising coming from a product designer, but for me it’s a huge source of satisfaction.
What inspires you today?
Even though it’s a bit of a cliché, you can find everything in nature: colours, shapes, sounds, movements, light, even mathematics. Yes, the best designer is Nature and not Apple.