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Transportation Design – a new course option available from September 2015

Transportation Design – a new course option available from September 2015
Arnaud Balduc

From September 2015, L’École de design will offer a specialization in Transportation Design as part of the undergraduate program in Product Design.

The Transportation Design option will be available from September 2015 to 2nd and 3rd year students on the Bachelor’s degree course. L’École de design Nantes Atlantique is the only school in the West of France to offer this option.

Arnaud Balduc, the course leader for Product Design and the inspiration behind this option, tells us about this new specialty offered by the school.

Why create an option in transportation design? And why offer it in the undergraduate curriculum?

Historically, the school started out teaching product design then gradually other forms of design made their appearance (spatial, graphic, etc.)
The Pays de Loire region offers tremendous opportunities for this specialty since it is home to a large number of actors in all kinds of transport.
I’ve been in charge of Product Design at L’École de design Nantes Atlantique for nearly 3 years. My entrepreneurial spirit naturally prompted me to develop something new in the school. My 15-year experience as a designer has given me the opportunity to work in two sectors: product and transportation.
Although these disciplines are very similar on the methodological front, they are often very different in terms of scale, processes and technology. We therefore decided to split them up into two separate entities.
For example, vehicle models are first built on a smaller scale whereas in product design it is easier to make quick & rough models on a 1:1 scale.
The undergraduate program was a natural choice. The Master’s degree programs offered by the school are not specialized by design profession but rather by theme: cities, digital culture, food, health & well-being.

What is the purpose of this option?

The aim of this option is to give our graduates a practical specialty which will make it easier for them to find work in agencies and industries dealing with the carriage of goods and people. It will also help to dilute the presence of our future designers on the job market so as not to saturate supply in relation to demand.

How will students benefit from this option?

More and more goods are being transported and the transport of people is also increasing steadily. There are numerous energy-related and environmental issues. Transport systems are increasingly connected (Wifi, Bluetooth, etc.) and we are seeing the emergence of concept vehicles which look more like mobile living spaces and bear no resemblance to the vehicles of the past 20 years. The challenge of launching this option is to prepare our students for the future requirements of transportation design.

Will this option offer a specialization in a particular area of means of transportation?

We will look at a wide range of means of transport (air, waterway, land, rail, etc.) and the transportation of goods and passengers, but particular emphasis will be placed on the study of responsible transport by looking at ways of using new sources of energy transmission, such as hybrid vehicles for example. Urban transportation is an ideal terrain for experimentation, for example the vehicles, which I was lucky enough to work on, like the Microbus at Gruau and, more recently, the Businova at Safra.

What kind of lectures and lessons will make up this option?

The transportation option is an integral part of the undergraduate curriculum. The lessons will be modeled on the 5 core areas common to each of the undergraduate programs (product, transportation, graphics, space and interactivity). These areas will of course include workshops, projects and theory-based learning specific to transport. Benjamin Walsh, who studied at ENSAAMA and the Royal College of Arts in London and worked as an interior designer at General Motors then at Citroën, will be the project supervisor in the transportation option. To mention just a few examples, there will be lessons and seminars on drawing and digital sketches, clay modelling, 3D modelling and digital animation, the history of transport modes through the centuries, etc.

Have you signed any specific partnerships?

Partnership projects take place in year 3, however we are already looking at potential partnerships with major public transport operators and a vehicle manufacturer, via the Sustainable Cities lab directed by Florent Orsoni.

Are there any graduates from the school working in the transportation sector?

Claire D’Achon springs to mind, a former graduate who is a designer at Iveco (Fiat group). Each year, accompanied by a designer from Alstom transport, Claire visits the school to talk to students in product design and - from September - transportation.