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Nicolas Hubert, industrial designer in Shanghai

Nicolas Hubert, industrial designer in Shanghai

Profile of a 2010 graduate working at Electrolux in China.

What is your educational background? What made you choose to study design?

After getting a scientific Baccalaureate (science and technology engineering), I developed my technical expertise with a 2-year vocational diploma in Micro-mechanics at a technical high school (Lycée Eugène Livet) in Nantes. Then in 2005, I joined L’École de design Nantes Atlantique in the Product Design Master’s program. In 2008, I was part of the first group of students to join the Transcultural Design program in the school’s new campus in China.

I’ve always had a real passion for applied arts and all things creative. My decision to follow a design cursus was completely natural as I wanted a career which let me combine this passion with my industrial background.

Why did you choose L’École de design Nantes Atlantique?

I chose L’École de Design Nantes Atlantique as I knew the product design course would give me a sound understanding of design methodology as well as project management skills. The school’s emphasis on work placements and experience abroad also had a strong influence on my decision.

Why did you opt for the Transcultural Design Master’s program in China? What did you get out of it?

My decision to choose the course in China was based on several factors:

• I wanted to do something out of my comfort zone by immersing myself in a completely foreign culture and forcing myself to understand and adapt to this new environment. For me, curiosity and adaptability are essential qualities for a designer.
• There was a strong attraction for China itself, with its economic power and its unlimited opportunities
• and finally the notion of adventure; the opportunity to be part of this very first group of students to go to China.

This experience provided me with many anthropological design skills as well as a very professional approach to management and communication, acquired in the various study projects carried out in partnership with international companies based in China.

What is your professional background?

After getting my Master’s in Product Design in China, I went to Beijing to work at the Danish Design Agency CBD, Christian Bjorn Design. For just over a year and a half, I built up valuable experience working as an Industrial Designer in the field of large household appliances and consumer electronics for local and international brands.

Two years ago I joined Electrolux as part of the founding team of their new design studio in Shanghai where I work today as Senior Industrial Designer in the small household appliances department.

Nicolas HUBERT. In charge of designing the coffee maker and electric kettle.PlusX design award 2014, in the Design et High quality category

How did you come to be recruited by Electrolux?

In 2010, I took part in the Electrolux Design Lab competition and I was shortlisted in the final 8 to present my project before a jury in London in the final of the competition. Following this experience, I stayed in contact with the Electrolux design team and they offered me a job in the Shanghai design team which had just been created.

The opportunity to pursue my career in a major international group like Electrolux and to be able to stay in China was exactly what I wanted. As an industrial designer, it’s a real opportunity to be near the factories and a great advantage to be at the heart of the production process as it means we can influence choices in terms of design innovation and quality.

In your opinion, what does China offer in terms of professional prospects?

With a great majority of international groups already present in China, the country offers countless opportunities for designers who want to launch their career on an international level, by enabling them to work on global-scale projects.

I’m convinced that China forces the designer to learn and be operational more quickly than any other place, because of its dynamism and its fast-growing economy. A professional experience in China sets you up for any other challenge you may face in your future career.

What are the pros and cons of working in a major international group?

I’d say that the biggest advantage is to be able to follow up projects, from the first sketch which defines the design language of the various product ranges right up to their production and market launch.

Working closely with multi-disciplinary teams including marketing and R&D on projects with global markets is also an exciting challenge, although it sometimes involves working round the clock.

Where do you see yourself professionally in the future?

My role as senior industrial designer at Electrolux has helped me to grow and develop as a designer, and the job continues to fulfill my expectations in terms of responsibilities and challenges over a broad portfolio of product ranges. In the future, when I master every aspect of this job, I’d like to move towards a more managerial post.

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