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A semester in Mexico City

A semester in Mexico City

Charline Havart, a first-year MDes student in Mutations of the Built Environment, spent a semester at Centro University, specialized in professionalizing creativity, in Mexico City. She talks about her experience.

Can you tell us a bit about your studies since leaving high school?

I did an Economic/Social Baccalaureate majoring in art before applying to do my first year at L’École de design Nantes Atlantique. I then joined the school’s advanced diploma work-study program in Spatial Design where I spent two years between school and the company Evidences Mobiliers. I thenjoined 3CI (International Class) which bridges the gap between the advanced diploma and the Master’s program. With 2 years’ experience under my belt, this allowed me to pursue my studies in an English-speaking class with a strong international dimension.
Subsequently, I applied to join the Mutations of the Built Environment MDes (in English) in the Sustainable Cities Design Lab and I chose a school in Mexico where all my lessons were in Spanish.


What made you choose this destination for your exchange semester and why this establishment specifically?

I chose Mexico so that I could learn to speak a third language and work overseas when I graduate. I chose Centro specifically for its very high standards of teaching and working.

What type of courses did you follow?

-Interior Design
-Furniture design
-Lighting in interior design
-Lightweight architectural structures
-Building materials and compositions

Tell us about an important project you completed during the semester

The most important project of the semester is the one for the interior design class. It’s an individual project which involves designing a 4000m2 hotel from A-Z on 6 floors. In class, each student spent around 2 months developing the plans for the hotel. The 2 other months were used for 3D production, mood boards, 3D renderings, lighting plans, landscaping plans, furniture catalogue, materials to be used, mock-ups and communication media (posters, A3 boards, etc.)

A final exam takes place involving all the teachers in order to assess all the different skill sets acquired by the students and to measure our progress in each subject during the semester.

What similarities are there between the establishment and L’École de design?

For me, there are many similarities between the two establishments: teaching methods, methodology, workspaces/workshops, international events and partnerships.

What differences are there between the establishment and L’École de design?

I found it surprising that the different disciplines don’t mix at Centro. What’s more, workshops aren’t included in the curriculum. All the projects carried out by students are done individually. However, technology teaching seems to me to be more developed at Centro than at L’École de design and the students are trained to communicate about their projects.

What did you get out of this semester at Centro?

In addition to developing and improving my technical skills and enjoying the rich course content, I had the chance to use new machines (CNC, laser, 3D print) and software (Rhino, Archicad).

Mexico City (copyright Travel+Leisure)

What did you learn from your time in Mexico?

This semester abroad helped me to grow up and to get more perspective on my life and my projects. What’s more, I became much more fluent in Spanish.

Which master’s program did you join and why?

joined the master’s program which in my opinion opens the most doors in the field of spatial design, in other words Mutations of the Built Environment, taught in English, as I was keen to remain in an international context.

How do you see your future once you graduate from L’École de design?

I’d like to start off in a major group doing retail interior architecture. In the future, I’d like to set up my own business in interior design specializing in property development.

Watch Charline Havart’s report at the Centro University