Educational institution: Queensland University of Technology (Australia); AUXILIARY Design School (Australia)
Programme: Bachelor of Industrial Design; X Programme
Year of graduation: 2015

What made you decide to become an industrial designer? 

I have always been curious about how things are made ever since I was little and I was always in love with making things. I remember when I was about four or five years old I created a music player out of cardboard in the kitchen of my parents’ restaurant. I actually studied biomedical science prior to studying industrial design. It wasn’t until three-quarters of the way through my science degree that I realized that I wanted to do something more creative and purposeful. So I guess being a designer was always in me but it took a long time in my adult life to realize it.

In your opinion, what types of people are best suited for the profession of industrial design? What is a typical industrial designer like?

I think the best designers are those who have a passion to transform ideas into reality. I also believe industrial designers must be concerned and passionate about how sustainability and environmental factors influence how we design products.

Where did you study industrial design and what was the most important thing you learned?

I studied industrial design at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. I also participated in a programme run by AUXILIARY Design School, a new independent design school run by four amazing Australian designers. I have learnt that there is always more to learn! With every project you do, you are continuously learning new things, whether it’s about design or even about yourself and how you interact with others. The most important thing I have learnt is that you have to always step back and look at your work holistically throughout the design process to address obstacles early on.

Angelina Kwan (top right), with AUXILIARY at Young Australian Design Awards (hosted by Good Design Australia) in Sydney, Australia.

What do you believe are the major obstacles or challenges for young industrial designers today from a professional standpoint? Are there additional challenges for women in the profession?

The major obstacle for young industrial designers is to get their first job after graduating. I think there are a lot of people who can get disheartened and compare themselves to ‘better’ designers when they start looking for employment. Networking and connecting with people in the industry is daunting especially if you’re an introvert, so I think that is one major challenge, at least for me anyway.

I think there is a challenge for women trying to get into the professional industry because it is so male dominated. Companies need to hire more women and women designers need to get out there!

Tell us about the projects you are working on now.

I have been fortunate enough to continue working with Auxiliary on the Vostok Space Beer project. What was originally a three-week concept project as part of the Auxiliary X program in 2015, had advanced into further concept development and we are currently in the process of refining the concept for testing in the near future. The brief was to design a beer bottle concept that would adhere to space regulations, brewing requirements and also encase a specially engineered insert to facilitate beer extraction in zero gravity. This project only proves that if you want to bring an idea to fruition, however wild it may be, it can be done if you pursue it.

Need a beer in space? The Vostok space beer bottle will address that issue.

Of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals listed by the United Nations, which do you believe represent the most important challenges facing your generation today?

Goal number 12: Responsible consumption and production. Although many of these development goals are linked to each other such as combating climate change and protecting life on land, it’s important to educate our generation and future generations about our responsibility for our consumption and production patterns. We live in such a fast-paced society now where we rely of short-lived products, for the sake of convenience. We forget the consequences this has on the environment. I think design thinking should be taught alongside history, math, and science. We need to be more aware of our actions by learning about the life cycle of products we use so that we can reduce our consumption, increase material reuse and recycling behaviors, and incorporate sustainable practices.

Thinking of those most important challenges facing your generation, do you believe that industrial design is part of the solution?


Industrial design is definitely part of the solution because industrial designers are also part of the problem. [...] If we are able to design products for waste then we should—we must—be able to design for a sustainable future.

What do you most love about industrial design?

What I love most about industrial design is that it is such a broad discipline. We can make the imaginable turn into reality. We can help take the ideas of an ordinary person and bring them to life. Industrial design has the power to shape our world.

As an industrial designer, what is your biggest dream?

I love traveling, seeing the world and its natural habitats. My biggest dream as an industrial designer is to be able to teach people to appreciate what we have and to be able to give back to nature, whether this is through teaching people about sustainability or designing products that can rejuvenate the natural world. I would love for the next generation of designers to know that design isn’t just about designing ‘pretty’ things. Design allows us to create a better place for us to live and that includes taking care of our little blue world.

How do you see yourself working with Icsid to design for a better world?

I see myself working with Icsid to share my experience with other young designers and show others how industrial design can influence and shape the world around them.