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ISD Institut Superior Design Rubika in Valenciennes, France

Dear friends,

as you might know I have been invited by ISD-Rubika Valenciennes to be one of the external jury members for their final exam day in Transportation Design. This was last Friday 13th December from 8 in the morning untill 19:00 in the evening.

First of all I would like to thank the school direction for inviting me and for the received hospitality, in particular Remy Costantin Head of Studies and Jean-Philippe Berlencourt Head of Transportation Design Dept.

During this event I had also the pleasure to meet Mandar Kale head of Foundation studies at ISD India Design School.

The Jury Members were divided in 2 teams:

My jury member team was composed by , Antoine Genin Head of Interior Design and C&T at Renault Design, Andreas Wlasak VP Design Faurecia, Yann Jolly design manager Toyota Europe Belgium studio, me Luciano Bove R&D Design manager at Renault Design, Bjorn Shuster senior designer at KISKA with us Jean Philippe Berlencourt Chair Transportation Design ISD.

The students:

We attended at 11 presentations for each Jury member team for a total of 22 students, every student had 20 minutes to present his/her academic progression from start to end of school time including internships done.
We could comment for about 5 minutes each giving a grade to each presenting student.

The final grade:

Once presentations were finished all students left our classroom and only the jury members remained to give the final grade for each student and signing some school documents.
All ended with a real nice party at the first floor of the school where we could drink and eat after a very long day!

This is about how the happening was, however more important to me has been the students performance during their presentations and their works.


First surprise for me: was the fact that every student started presentation from the real beginning and project by project arriving to last year of school showing also some work done during internships. Form me it was the first time someone does not show a thèses project + few more top level projects.
Is it a good thing to show old stuff that do not have the same level of latest ones’ quality?

Second surprise for me: more than once students presented a couple of projects developed in team with other students…the result was that we saw the same presentation several times and you start getting confused about who did what.
Confusing in terms of oral communication and work wise, too! Same drawings for all!

Third surprise for me: some students during presentation announced their following project as the team manager or design manager, basically they make an experience in school to learn how to do some design management. This is a good thing for me, however  I would have presented differently and most of all I would have pretended that who has the manager role in the project has to draw and render just like the others he/she is coordinating! It came out a bit confusing, again we did not really understood who did what on that particular project.
To be corrected students attitude presenting this type of projects!

My overall impressions:

This beautiful experience at ISD Valenciennes gave me the opportunity to discover a new Design School with a history and a sister school in Pune India, it is an international school with a good academic program. All students presented following a serious scheme and trying their best to be professional and credible.
Like in every school I visited I found a good percentage of good students in terms of skills and creativity and only few with super talent…so the school stands between the good ones in France.

What they should do to be better:

There is always something we can do to improve and I believe that this school is missing someone that really coaches students during last 6 months on: design management, presentation skills, portfolio organization, design studios life, designers rules & roles in a team…

Other design schools do have experts that help to understand all mistakes to avoid during a presentation or preparing and organizing a portfolio. Those schools produce students a bit more aware of the danger out there, they are less naif and protect better their works and image.

Conclusion with a good news!

I know that this school has a good potential and I am sure they will improve in the following years to come…the good news is that next year they will move to the new Design building “La Serre Numerique” today under construction in Valenciennes.
A new era will start on strong bases so stay tuned!

To check the school website click: ISD Valenciennes

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