This project changed how I thought about design. It was so much more tangible – because I made something that will actually end up being made and used.
Bachelor of Design (Product)
Jeremy Metherell is going to enjoy a relaxing summer holiday – especially as he’ll be lying in a hammock HE designed … and is now being sold through a NZ outdoor brand!
Jeremy is a Bachelor of Design (Product) graduate. For his final year, he produced a hammock, and Cactus Outdoor has decided to manufacture it and sell it in their stores.
“This project changed how I thought about design. It was so much more tangible – because I made something that will actually end up being made and used” he says.
Jeremy started engineering at Canterbury University, but admits “I don’t work well with sitting down and writing numbers”, so he took some time off, and decided Otago Polytechnic would be a better fit. “It was angled to get your hands dirty in the workshop, that suits me quite well, and the smaller class sizes and one-on-one with the lecturers was really good.”
Jeremy did all his own sewing on the project. Twelve prototypes later, he’s a lot more confident than when he started. “We had classes on construction, and making corners and putting in zips, and then pretty much it was just go ahead and do it.” As he points out, practise makes perfect, “After many hours on the sewing machine, most of my seams are straight!”
Jeremy’s now hoping to study for his honours degree, and recommends Otago Polytechnic to anyone with a creative side. “People who enjoy using their hands and like to do things in 3D. You can take product design to all disciplines, that’s the best thing about it.”
At home we don’t know the first names of our teachers, here we don’t know their last names!
Max Wiztrock, Lucas Balcilar, Steven Kulicke and Malwin Schlogel (not pictured)
Bachelor of Design (Product)
For the first time, the Otago Polytechnic product design team welcomed a group of four German students into their fold.
Max Wiztrock, Lucas Balcilar, Steven Kulicke and Malwin Schlogel(not pictured) all study industrial design at the largest public University of Applied Sciences in Berlin and Eastern Germany: Hoschschule fűr Technik und Wirtschaft, Berlin.
The four men wanted to travel and study, so their university recommended Otago Polytechnic.
Max particularly enjoyed the class size, “It’s quite nice to have a class so small, you can ask the teacher anything. You even have your own desk. At home our class sizes are much much larger”
Lucas agrees, “At home we don’t know the first names of our teachers, here we don’t know their last names! It’s more casual here, it’s cool.” He was particularly impressed that, when he first arrived, his lecturer helped him furnish his house. “He drove us to the second hand shop and everything. One teacher even leant us her car to go on a road trip!”.
Lucas says he’ll definitely recommend Otago Polytechnic to friends back home. “The classes are so small you feel more comfortable asking for help.”
All four men took part in the 2016 Debrief exhibition with the rest of their Design colleagues.
Their focus now is on designing the perfect tour through New Zealand and Asia, before returning to Germany to finish their studies.
Andrew Wallace, Design Lecturer, says the four international students offered a cross cultural experience. “Product design involves working with global teams, so having these four students here really helped all our students with networking for the future.”
When you're riding like a bat out of hell you're bound to break something
Bachelor of Design (Product)
Adam Gorrie is a product designer … he’s also a mountain bike racer … so he figured why not combine the two!
The Bachelor of Product Design graduate spent his final year of study designing a car-mounted bike-rack / maintenance workstand. His hard work paid off when he gained distinction for his degree, and won Gold in the Designers Institute of New Zealand Best Design Awards.
“Maintaining your bike is a major part of successful racing, and chances are, when you're riding like a bat out of hell, you're bound to break something. Common solutions to fixing a bike while away racing are to either lie it on its side, turn it upside down, or hang it from a vehicle bike rack. My bike-rack/maintenance stand effectively combines two essential products to mountain bike racing, and allows racers to easily maintain and repair their bikes during a race event."
Adam’s always been into using his hands, so product design was the obvious choice for him at Otago Polytechnic.
“At school, I did hands-on topics like woodwork and art. Product Design helped to extend that knowledge. Having access to all the amazing facilities at Otago Polytechnic was a great opportunity to learn more skills.”
Adam’s currently considering taking up job offers, or further pursuing his study. One thing’s for sure though, he’ll definitely continue with product design.
“I don’t think I could do anything else other than Product Design now. It offers 100% hands-on creative freedom and the opportunity to develop something completely from scratch. I’m definitely pursuing a career in Product Design!”
The Master of Design Enterprise taught me how to think like Steve Jobs.
Master of Design Enterprise
Chinese-born Kuang Ma describes himself as always being a very ‘hands on’ person. From the age of six he was using a soldering iron to make radios and model aeroplanes. Kuang’s parents wanted him to study IT, but he chose to make his childhood hobby his career and studied Mechatronic Engineering instead.
“Mechatronics was my passion, I just love to have something where you can control the movement rather than just programming a computer.”
Kuang graduated from Singapore with a Diploma in Mechatronics and set up several companies where he worked on developing automation, robotic and drone products.
After deciding he wanted to teach, Kuang started an undergraduate degree in Singapore and completed a Master of Science in Manufacturing System Engineering in Hong Kong before moving back to lecture at the Hubei Three Gorges Polytechnic to be near his sick grandparents. It was the birth of his son that prompted him move to New Zealand.
“I wanted to have a better environment for my son and New Zealand is heaven for kids.”
Kuang was interested in working on the Otago Polytechnic electric vehicle project until he was introduced to the Master of Design Enterprise.
“My companies developed engineering products which had very advanced technology and were very cost effective but the customers often weren’t happy. After I started the Masters programme I knew why, it was because the designs weren’t human-centred.”
Kuang found the programme challenging.
“In the beginning I was really struggling because that way of thinking was totally different for me. I had to transform myself from being an engineer to being a designer and understanding what the user wanted and needed. I had to think like Steve Jobs.”
For his Masters, Kuang designed a universal robot chassis for agriculture.
“I visited farms, interviewed farmers and found out where there was a gap to fit this technology. The Masters programme taught me to think totally differently, I’d recommend it to anyone, especially engineers who want to ‘re-engineer’ themselves into being a designer and making the world different.”
Kuang is now working full-time as Electronics Engineer at Kamahi Electronics in Dunedin.
Growing up in Palmerston North, Sammie’s passion for studying interior design came from reading House and Garden magazines, where she gained inspiration to want to develop a career in designing spaces fit for the user.
“I’ve always been a creative person, I did Art and Design at school and was involved in musical theatre productions. I was drawn to the latest trends, and theories involving materials and colour.”
Halfway through her final year in high school Sammie decided she wanted to study Interior Design and flew to Dunedin with her Mum to check out the degree programme offered by Otago Polytechnic.
“The Head of Interiors gave me a guided tour and introduced me to some first year students, and afterwards I was so keen to the do programme I wanted to know where to sign.”
Sammie was amazed at how comprehensive the Interior Design degree programme was.
“I didn’t know what to expect at first, I didn’t do graphics at school which meant drawing in 3D took a while to get used too. My peers and teachers were really helpful. At the end of the day they only have your wellbeing and best interests at heart and they pushed me to achieve.”
Sammie now works for a commercial interior design company, designing break out spaces, interactive office layouts, and providing appropriate furniture solutions to suit companies in a functional and modern way.
“The degree was very practical and hands on, looking back on my three years I have not only developed a wide range of skills, I have developed as an individual and come very far since year one.”
I chose to study Industrial Design at Otago Polytechnic because I wanted to learn practically how to design rather than reading about someone who designed something.
Bachelor of Design (Product)
Alex Hodge was going to become an architect but after ‘work experience’ at an architectural firm he found it was the creative process he enjoyed the most and not designing to meet architectural regulations and standards.
“What I’ve always liked doing is designing but I found with architecture it was too restrictive and you can only do one thing and that’s design a building. With industrial design you can design just about anything a person sees or touches, from a pen to a phone or car, and that freedom was a lot more exciting to me.”
Alex studied for a Bachelor of Product Design (Industrial) at Otago Polytechnic between 2004–2006.
“The learning environment was this huge design studio and there was always someone in there designing. As a student you had to be willing to try things, get it wrong, try it again, get some critique from your fellow students and try it once more. That’s a lot of what happened at OP and it was a great way to foster creativity.”
Two weeks before graduating, the CEO and lead engineer of Escea came to see the students’ work and offered Alex an internship. He has been designing state of the art gas fires ever since but has also set up his own design company.
“In my final year at Otago Polytechnic I designed the Hodge Hawk vehicle which appeared on Top Gear, and it generated so much publicity that I was getting emails from around the world offering freelance design work so I started Hodge Limited.”
In 2013, Alex won a gold NZ best design award for a paintball gun.
“Designing paintball products is about 90 per cent of my freelance work, but it started when I was at Otago Polytechnic. I played a game with some of my fellow students and I thought the paintball gun could be better designed in the way it was used, felt, and looked. I created some designs, put them on my website and two weeks later a company said they wanted to make them straight away. I’ve now got a wall at home covered in paintball guns!”
I’m looking forward to my future. I might do further study in Product or Interior Design. Eventually I hope to gain a New Zealand work visa and find a job creating packaging for products. That’s my passion.
Bachelor of Design (Communication)
Agnes Nathania is originally from Surabaya, the second-largest city in Indonesia which has a population over 2.9 million people.
She came to New Zealand in January 2013 and studied a Diploma in Graphic Design and Digital Media with a private training institute in Wellington. Once she finished her studies there she was keen to obtain a degree and wanted a change of pace. She chose Dunedin for its student city reputation, and chose Otago Polytechnic because it was the only institute nationwide that she approached that would allow her to cross-credit most of her studies. This has meant that she only has to study here for 18 months to obtain her Bachelor of Design (Communication) degree.
“The study here has made me more professional. It’s really made me improve my time management skills. There’s lots of opportunities to work on industry projects and get taken seriously as a designer. I have just completed my first industry project creating packaging for a range of Botanical Kitchen organic juices.”
Agnes has also managed to progress her English. “There’s a lot of international students in Dunedin. I get to learn about lots of other cultures and attend lots of social gatherings. However I have yet to meet another Indonesian student. This means that I have really had to improve my English to communicate and make friends.”
“Dunedin is an amazing city to be a student in. I really enjoy going to listen to live bands perform, and going on spontaneous adventures like to Cadbury chocolate factory. I have also got to travel to a lot of amazing tourist destinations in South Island such as Queenstown, Wanaka, Catlins and Fiordland.”
In Germany, everyone talks about how open and friendly Kiwis are, and this is what I experienced even with my lecturers.
Bachelor of Design (Communication)
Growing up in Germany, Philipp enjoyed watching TV, reading comics, drawing and being visually creative. But when Philipp was about to study to become a professional photographer, a Design School lecturer saw his portfolio and recommended he do something broader than photography as he was very good at visual storytelling.
“I studied Communication Design in Munich for three years, and a year before I finished I talked to my lecturers about my future and one suggested I turn my Diploma into a bachelor’s degree. I wanted to go travelling as I hadn’t been outside of Europe, so I applied for a scholarship to Otago Polytechnic and came to Dunedin.”
Philipp found Otago Polytechnic quite different to studying in Germany.
“In Munich the programme was very theory based but here it was much more practical and hands-on, and the feedback from the lecturers was more of a conversation and very friendly.”
For his third year project Philipp toured the South island of New Zealand, photographing landscapes and travellers, interviewing them about their lives and where they saw themselves going next. He published it as an online blog and printed magazine, “Where to…”. For Philipp, “Where to” is back to Germany to work but perhaps not for long.
“Having had this experience in another country has been invaluable, plus an environment like Otago Polytechnic was amazing. I definitely want to come back to New Zealand, explore the North Island, and publish another online blog.”
During my internship at workSpace I gained lots of great experience. I really got to spread my wings.
Bachelor of Design (Communication)
Regina Speer, from Munich, Germany, enjoyed the final year of her Bachelor of Design (Communication) degree, appreciating the practical approach and industry focus.
“I enjoyed reflecting on my design and really considering my career options. During my internship at workSpace I gained lots of great experience. We were really trusted to behave as professionals, I really got to spread my wings.”
In semester two Regina won a highly commended award at the 2014 Audacious student business competition for her emotionally-responsive music app.
“I think designers don’t realise how much they can participate in entrepreneurship activities, but actually we have so much to offer. It really opens a whole new world!
"I enjoyed the many opportunities to learn new things that the Audacious workshops offered me. I’ve made lots of great connections, learned how to network and to be comfortable meeting new people.”