“One of the area’s where I wish to focus more on as a designer is to find a pathway to make sustainable designed products without compromising on the benefits it gives to human life. ” Though being a student, Rik Oudenhoven has clear idea about the direction he is heading to. With great passion on the road of design, he conduct internship in various comanpanies after graduating from Saxion University , and soon he will finish his study in UMEA Institute of Design. These diverse experiences have shaped his view on design...
You have a lot of intern experiences. What does these experiences mean to you? What is your standard in choosing companies?
So far I have worked in 6 design studio’s and each of them helped me in my development as designer. Most importantly were my previous two internships at Veryday and Nokia, where I had the responsibility for several projects, enabling me to work on a broad spectrum of design aspects (p.e. engineering, overall styling, strategy development, (human centered) research, research method development, overall designer, model builder). This possibility for a designer is not achieved at the start in a new company, so you have to prove yourself. The main thing to achieve this is to help out wherever you can, and pull the responsibility towards you, dare to take risks and try things you think are interesting or challenging. For me it is always important to be open, eager and sometimes foolish... and most of all never forget to have fun.
Whenever I choose a company where I would like to work, I am looking for meaning, why did they do this project, what is the relevant topic they wished to solve, how was the project, and research... but most importantly, is there passion. I think the most beautiful projects will be developed in companies that are passionate about what they do and willing to work harder than anyone else to create a difference.
Your internship at Daye design in China opened your eyes to look differently at design. Can you describe it in details?
During my internship at Daye design, I travelled and explored China and got amazed by the old buildings and traditions, which are still part of the Chinese culture up to this day. I learned that design could be so much more than just a beautiful product that works in a pleasant way. The old designs made it possible to celebrate traditions and remember heritage. If we look at the temples which were build without the use of a single nail or the simple design of chopsticks where the end turns into the placing tray, the use of these traditions enabled products that would last and be used for centuries. So a truly sustainable design.
What impressed you most durung your internship in China?
I was amazed by the traditions and the concept of human centered products, resulting in simplicity of the products to the users and useful in the way of life. If something worked it would not be changed and if it was broken people could repair the items. It is a more conscious way of consuming than the take make and waste society that has become so popular in many countries.
You spent nearly two years in Scope Design after graduated from university. Why did you choose to go back to shool?
After my studies in the Netherlands I was trained as a design engineer in a small design studio in the Netherlands. The projects I worked on were interesting but my skills were limited to be realy innovative and helpful to mankind. This is what drives me up to this day, I wish to help people. I’m passionate about design and have a drive to work hard for something that I believe in. So to be completely honest, luck, hard work and passion brought me to where I am... I got accepted to the Umea institute of design where the design focus is on the human centered design and doing research to come up with meaningful projects.
You mention that you are interested in learning about different design philosophies, because it helps you develop different approaches in your designing process. Do you mean that when designing, you tend to use different methods instead of sticking to a fixed one?
The different design philosophies I have seen helped me in finding out what I really enjoy doing. Every project is unique, so every project asks for new methods to be explored. During my career I have experimented with different design methods, for example with VR prototyping, shadowing and paper mock-ups. To design for a specific user group you first need to figure out how to communicate with them best, and also how you can validate your ideas and research. For this you have to use different design methods.
You believe that industrial design is about making products that people can relate to and inspire them. How the products inspire people? Can you give us an example?
我觉得这一直很难，我也仍然在挣扎中。但对我有帮助的是，我意识到了我并不是在为自己做设计……我是在为别人做；使用的人需要一个有意义的设计或服务。在Bosch Vario 项目中，我选择了圆形，因为这是厨具的最佳选择，想想功能，用户，再问问你自己他们会如何选择……之后你就可以大胆尝试你觉得最好的方案了，试了后如果不行那至少你试过了，接着尝试下一个方案，可以利用从前一个概念所学到的教训。
I think this will always be a difficult one, I'm still struggling with this myself to be honest. But what helps me is to realize I'm not the one I’m designing for... It's the people; the people who will use it need to have a design or service that makes sense. For my Bosch Vario project I choose the round shape since that is optimal for cooking, think about the function and the people and ask yourself what they would decide... after that just go with your guts and try the one you believe in most, if it doesn't work then at least you know that and you try the next one and can reuse what you have learned from exploring the previous concept.
In the end it is about developing a product that fulfills a certain need for the end user, and hopefully will make their daily lives better.
What kind of environment for designers does design industry provide in Netherlands?
The Netherlands offers a creative environment which encourages designers to try new things and ways of thinking. This is one of the strengths for example when we look at Dutch design, where new and innovative material types are produced and experimented with. Being aware of new materials and production methods enables innovative design.
You are a young designer, what is the direction in design that you are heading to?
During my time as a designer I have had the pleasure of working in teams that challenged the status quo and were always searching to make the best design. Whether it was to learn about new techniques to improve the life of the people we created products for or when it was to search for ways to create better products for the environment. This is what has and always will inspire me. One of the area’s where I wish to focus more on as a designer is to find a pathway to make sustainable designed products without compromising on the benefits it gives to human life. To contribute to a sustainable society, and the best way to achieve a sustainable world is to start at the beginning. It means at the design of products, and to define guidelines for making a sustainable design.
As designers we can no longer look away after a product is sold, we need to start thinking about what is next and take responsibility for the pollution and bad effects our products can have if we do not design them properly.
I believe that as designers we can no longer look separately at the service, interaction or products that we develop. We need to get understanding across all these fields so we can have a clear picture of how all the separate elements are linked and think about the products, not only in this lifecycle but also the next.