Master thesis project

I have been back in Copenhagen since the 30th of January. I moved back into my old room, because I subleased my room during the time I was in Billund.

My first Monday in Denmark was already a busy one. First of all I had an introduction to my current school project what will be my final master thesis project. The project takes up my complete last semester. If I pass this project, I will graduate as a master student in industrial design at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. At the moment of writing I am already 8 weeks in my project, so almost half way and everything is on track.

On my first Monday in Denmark I also had a meeting with the Danish company GripGrab. GripGrab is a company that focusses on accessories for cycling and running. I approached the company to work together with them for my master thesis project, because I wanted to do a project that is more aimed towards the area of sports and sportswear. GripGrab wanted to work with me as well on my project, so we had a first meeting on Monday to get to know one another and discuss the brief and direction of the project.

work in progress
Work in progress

So for my master thesis project I will focus on a line of cycling accessories for commuters that will fit within their lifestyle and they want to wear. I will narrow it down by focussing on three target groups in particular.
At the moment I am developing three different concepts directions, so a lot of sketching but GripGrab also provided me with different kinds of material samples so I can get a better hands-on experience as well.

The upcoming weeks I will be working on my master thesis project and I plan on building some prototypes soon also with the help of GripGrab.


Cement samples
One of my own LEGO models

It has been a long time since my last update. I got an offer from LEGO for an internship and I decided to go for it.

So after two short weeks in the Netherlands I went back to Copenhagen again to pack my stuff and move to Billund. I was able to rent a room in a house together with three other interns from somebody that works at LEGO and recently bought a second house.
After meeting the other roommates/interns, unpacking a couple of bags and a couple nights of sleep it was time to enter the project house at LEGO for the first time. The first thing on the planning was an introduction with all the interns and senior designers of the different departments. Following up was a short tour through the building and every intern was escorted to their new work space. At my new work space I met my fellow team members from the department I am in. As an intern I am in the department that deals with play sets for children 5+ and mainly is about IP’s, for example The Hobbit, TMNT, Harry Potter, etc. Due to confidentiality reasons I am not aloud to tell about the projects I am working on, because the play sets will be released in 2016 and need to be kept secret until then. So far the internship has been really fun and LEGO has a really nice working environment. It has been nice to be able to have a look at what is going on behind the scenes at LEGO, so how do the models get designed but also the production of the elements. The perks of working at LEGO are the unlimited amount of bricks available to build on your own models during the times it is not that busy. I showed two examples of models I build during my internship.

Cement samples
Zombie scene with own build models

My internship will end on the 19th of December. By then it is time to go back to the Netherlands again to enjoy my winter break and celebrate christmas with my family. I will return to Copenhagen at the end of January, because I will start with my master thesis in February.

Summer break

Last week I finished my first year of the master program at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design. Now I can start enjoying my summer holiday and find an internship for next semester.

I have completed two courses since my previous post. I had a theory course that had the focus on Genius Loci; the spirit that can be found in a certain space/area. For this course I worked in a small team and we analysed three different areas here in Copenhagen. We did this by doing observations, sketching and collecting material from the areas and afterwards we tried to apply several theories to the places. Overall a more hands-on theory course in comparison to my previous theory course.
My last course was a workshop course in which I visited several places, like the DR concert hall and the Open Air Museum. The visits to the places helped as a source for inspiration and I captured many pictures of details I liked. With this course I also learned to paint different kinds of wood and marble textures on wood. The fun part of the workshop was to work with cement and create textures, colour combinations and reliefs. It was nice to experience how to work with cement and get to know what the possibilities are.

Cement samples
Cement samples from the workshop

After the summer holiday I want to do a 5 month internship. At the moment I have not made a decision yet. I have found a good design studio, Møller-Jensen Innovation og Design, here in Copenhagen. The design studio designs a wide variety of products from medical to consumer products. On the other hand there is LEGO in Billund. I have not received a final answer from LEGO yet, because I recently had a second interview in Billund with LEGO. I was flown in to Billund for the interview from Copenhagen and as a bonus I got some extra time after the interview before I flew back again, so I could visit LEGOLAND.
Now I need to make a decision which path to choose or maybe I will end up with only one path.

LEGOLAND Billund – Nyhavn in LEGO bricks


Some interesting things have happened since my previous post.

Rendering of the final concept

First of all I will start with my school project that I finished last week. The general assignment was to design a toy, tool, etc for children with the age from 3 to 6 to help them with their motor development. I did research into this subject by doing several observations at a daycare and gymnastic classes here in Copenhagen. For my project I made the decision to focus on the gross motor skills and emotional skills of children. With this focus I generated ideas that led to two concepts from which I choose one to develop further. The final concept is a toy that will help the children with their motor development through different postures and the emotional skills by letting children share and letting them taking turns. The idea is that there are five compartments with each their own colour and these are filled with the same coloured balls. The children can let the balls out themselves by lifting a ring and by doing so, the balls fall out and spread through the room. The children run around the room, collect the balls and put them back again in the right compartment. I had my presentation last week and received a great result: a 12, just like my first project.

Next to my project there was of course some time to relax. My mum and dad (and Mor) came to visit me for the second time. I tried to show them some other parts of Copenhagen that are not super touristy, but also some nice castles and areas outside Copenhagen. We were really fortunate with the weather, because we had sun and clear skies and no rain.

Mor and Frederiksborg Castle

Another big thing was my paper that I submitted to the SIDeR’14 conference. They accepted my paper, so they published my paper and I needed to give a short presentation about it during the conference in Stockholm. My paper can be found here, you have to scroll down a bit to see the list with papers. So after my final presentation for my school project, I took the evening-train to Stockholm. The next day the conference started and lasted for two days. I had my presentation on the first day and was one of the first to start. The audience mainly consisted out of other students that submitted a paper of their own. It was really interesting to hear about the other papers of the students and speak about it. The conference was a nice experience where I met some new and interesting people and got some new perspectives on several subjects regarding design.
The conference ended on Saturday, but I was not leaving Stockholm until Monday evening. I had Sunday and Monday to walk around Stockholm and see and experience the city. I saw the old town, city hall, the royal palace, went to the Vasa museum and wandered around. On Monday evening I took the train back to Copenhagen.

Next week I will start with a theory course of five weeks. The theory course focus on architecture and spaces.


Second semester

It has been a while since my last post from 2013. After my holiday in the Netherlands and a ski trip to Italy, it was time again to head back to Copenhagen on the 5th of January.

Monday the 6th of January I started with my first workshop and had to be at school from 3 to 6 each day. I had four different workshops for four weeks, so each week another workshop. The workshops covered subjects like entrepreneurship, project management, business plan and presentation techniques. The workshops were very relaxing, because there was a lot of listening and some small assignments during the workshops. I learned some new techniques and heard some interesting/inspiring information.
In the meantime I also had some extra time to explore the city and finally went to have a look at the Danish Design Museum. I also did spend some more time on riding my bike and explore beyond the city, but sometimes the winter cold made me return more quickly to heat up my feet again. Next to that, my sister came to visit me as well last weekend.

Danish Design Museum

I completed the first semester after the four workshops. I received all the points needed to complete the firs semester. I also received some feedback for my paper that I have written for the theory course. I recently submitted my paper to the SIDeR’14 conference. There is the chance that my paper gets accepted for the conference and will be published.

Up next is of course my second semester, which already started on the 3rd of February. I am doing a 10 week project and have the assignment to design a toy, tool, vehicle, etc. for children with the age from 3 to 6 to help them with their motor development. Right now I am in the research phase and trying to come up with a focus for the further process of my project.


Christmas holiday

Rainy Copenhagen Airport

At the moment of writing I am just back in the Netherlands. I have a three week holiday, due to courses that were overlapping each other. So I have the regular Christmas holiday plus one week extra.

By now I have finished my theory course and handed in my paper for it. For the theory course I could pick a subject of my own choice and write a 10 page paper about it. This required the necessary reading of other (scientific) papers and books and spending many hours on the internet searching for information. I chose the subject: sketching in the design process. I personally like to sketch, but I also noticed that there is a difference in the way each designer uses sketching. I redefined my subject to sketching and idea generation and if one can generate more ideas with the help of sketching in comparison without the ability to sketch. Finally I did some small experiments and used these together with the other papers I had read to write my own paper.
For now it is only for school, but I am planning to submit my paper to SIDeR’14, a design conference for students. Until then I will wait for the feedback I will receive from my supervisor. I will keep you up-to-date and there would be the opportunity to read a final version of my paper.

About a week ago I also finished with the first module of the Danish classes. I had to do a small oral exam in which I did an one minute presentation about myself, reply on questions about the presentation and finally I had to ask questions about a random picture. I was able to use all the things that I have learned during all my previous Danish lessons. I passed the exam and now I officially speak Danish on a module one level. Next year I will continue with module two of the Danish lessons.

Up next are a series of workshops until the new semester will start on the 3rd of February. The workshops are varying from presentation technique to entrepreneurship. For now I will enjoy my holiday and wish you all a merry christmas and good new year.

Snowman in the garden

Hvordan går det?

It has almost been three months already since I arrived here in Copenhagen. Everything is still going well here and I am pretty much used to living here. I am getting to know my way around in the city by bike much better (and know when the traffic lights will turn green). I also had my parents and sister coming over, so I showed them some parts of the city. In exchange I received some new food supplies which are not that easy to get here in Copenhagen, like Dutch peanut butter and some Indonesian spices and ingredients.

Dragbør – Fisherman village near Copenhagen

To get to know my way around also means speaking the right language: Danish. The Danish government makes it possible to get Danish lessons for free. In coloration with the school it was possible to follow a beginner course to learn Danish. Without hesitation I decided to sign up for this course. I had my first lesson at the end of September and the course will end with a test in the beginning of December. I have two lessons a week and some homework. During the lessons I have learned some of the basics, like my name is (“Jeg hedder”) and how are you doing (“Hvordan går det?”). I still find it difficult to pronounce the words correctly, for example “dd” sounds more like a “l” sound. I cannot rely on my Danish yet, but the beginning is getting there.

In my previous post I mentioned that I just started with my project for school and had my first meeting with the client. By now I have finished my project and presented my final concept for the project to the client. The client was pleased with the result I showed them.

Ideation sketches
Ideation sketches

After the first meeting with my client I received my assignment for the project. I had the task to design an accessory that fits in with the drinking of a cup of tea and is aimed at young people. I just went though the design process as I would normally, so first some research to get a better point to focus on, sketching ideas, presenting three concepts and develop one chosen concept further into details. I came up with a sort of tea machine that can be used to make one cup of tea at the time and uses tea leaves instead of the regular tea bag. The product helps to guide people through the right process of making a cup of tea correctly and can be used for multiple sorts of tea leaves.
I presented my process and final concept to the teachers. This presentation also functioned as my exam. The teachers were pleased with the process I went through and the way I presented this. I got a 12 for my first project and a 12 is the maximum score one can get, so I am very happy with my first result achieved at the School of Design.
Next week I will start with a new course that has the focus on theory, so I there will be less to none designing involved.

Tea machine
Rendering of the final concept

Welcome to Copenhagen


About one month ago (12.08.13) I went on my adventure to Copenhagen. The car of my dad was fully loaded with some of my furniture, books, bike, clothing and of course some (Dutch) food that would provide me with the basics needs if I would find an unfurnished room. I left the Netherlands and drove thru Germany and Denmark and arrived in Copenhagen around 12 hours later. Luckily I had the opportunity to stay at a friends place for the first couple of days, so I did not need to worry about accommodation when I arrived.

Now that I arrived in Copenhagen it was about time to start hunting for a room. I already started to search on the internet while I was still in the Netherlands, but I was hoping to get more opportunities when I am in Copenhagen and be able to visit rooms and maybe hear something on the streets.
The first day after my arrival in Copenhagen I already got a message through Facebook that there was an opportunity to see a room and next to that I made an appointment to see another room the next day. The first room I saw was okay, but they changed the prices for this year so it was over my budget. I thought that I would try my luck the next day as I already had another meeting planned.
The second day I had one meeting planned to see a room, but ended up with three meetings on one day. I probably was in some kind of lucky streak. After having seen the three different rooms and met my (possible) future roommates I decided to go with one of the rooms. After staying in Copenhagen for two days I had found my room and there was a big pressure off my shoulders and it was time to start exploring and enjoying the city and the surroundings of Copenhagen and start with my first workshops from school.
In the meantime I stayed at my friend’s place, because from the 1th of September I was able to move in to my new room.

I started the 19th of August with two workshops at my new school. The workshops helped me to get knowledge about the machines in the workplaces and from now on I am able to work individually in the workplaces without the need of supervision. After two weeks I ended up with two stools, one made out of steel and the other made out of wood. They are not the most astonishing designs and everybody had the same one, but it helped me to use almost all the available machinery.

View over Copenhagen from the Rundetaarn.
View over Copenhagen from the Rundetaarn

Next to the workshops I had enough time to explore the city and getting to know my way around town. I really like the bike friendly infrastructure through the whole city of Copenhagen and I was a bit surprised by the amount of cyclist and especially during rush hours it can become pretty crowed on the cycle lanes. Next to cycling through the city I also needed to know where to do my grocery shopping, which supermarket has the most economical benefits (always important for students). At the same time I also had the chance to compare prices and get used to the Danish Krone instead of Euros. Everything seems a lot more expensive in Danish Krone, because of the larger numbers (more zeros). Most of the times it was also more expensive compared to the prices in the Dutch supermarkets.
I spend a lot of time wondering around the streets and parks and just get used to living in Copenhagen.

Workplaces at my new school

From the 2nd of September the school started for real. I also started my first real project as a master student. The project started off pretty relax and the first assignments were not the most time consuming. The project will last for 8 more weeks and from now on the client will get involved. Tomorrow I will have my first Skype meeting.