For term projects, we dedicate either the whole or part of a semester studio to working with an industrial partner on a negotiated project theme. All students enrolled in the studio course work on this project, either individually or in teams, depending on the scope and requirements of the project. This kind of collaboration usually takes place in the third year or the first semester of the final year of undergraduate education.
A typical process we follow for these projects consists of the following stages:
- Research assignment: Students conduct research in teams using online and literature sources on certain assigned topics, such as the collaborating firm, competitors of the firm, materials and production processes related to the project, habits and traditions of the users in relation to the product to be designed, futuristic and concept designs in relation to the project, and other topics related to the specific project dimensions. Teams present their findings in the class.
- Field observation and user research: Students are required to generate knowledge and insight into people’s needs, expectations and preferences in relation to the project. They make interviews and observations with target user groups and present the findings in the class.
- Idea generation workshops: Students develop numerous idea sketches, often with the help of in-class exercises, and select design ideas for further development.
- Visit to a production plant: Students are taken to a field trip to our industrial partner’s manufacturing facilities, in order to observe their expertise, approach to design, and their manufacturing capabilities.
- Preliminary jury: Students present selected design concepts to tutors and firm representatives using visuals and mock-ups.
- Project development: Selected concepts are developed further, as students receive critiques on their detailed drawings, computer generated models and refined mock-ups.
- Final Jury: The finalised project is presented to a jury consisting of tutors and firm representatives, using 2D presentation boards and finalised 1:1 or scaled models/prototypes.