Georgia Tech’s International Influence in Industrial Design Includes Exchange Students and Award-Winning Student Work

Ann Hoevel | December 1, 2023 – Atlanta, GA

Georgia Tech students Jared Teiger and Olaf Kamperman weren’t surprised to learn that in the Netherlands, their major is called “Industrial Design Engineering.”

Teiger and Kamperman are used to incorporating lessons about biomechanics engineering, computing, and mechanical engineering in their studios, Teiger said. But their peers from TU Delft and Eindhoven University of Technology are learning surprising lessons about how design at Georgia Tech works.

“One thing I noticed here, compared to my home university, is that the classes here are more focused on actual industry, hard skills, practical skills, where back home it’s very conceptual, very abstract,” said Renzo Jansema, an exchange student from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands.

“Last semester [at TU Delft] we had to design for societal change,” said Mees Van De Burgt, another Dutch exchange student. “Some of the business aspects are definitely not taught back home in Delft.”

“Here you have all these opportunities, like access to the different technical classes and people. There’s a diverse range of classes you can take, but you still have that studio experience,” Van De Burgt said.

“Renzo and Mees are authentic and open-minded in their learning,” said EunSook Kwon, School of Industrial Design chair. “They’ve always expressed their appreciation for studying at Georgia Tech and absorbed any accessible academic and professional recourses available on the campus and beyond."

Industrial Design Exchange

Georgia Tech - TU Delft exchange students
Photo: School of Industrial Design
From left to right: Renzo Jansema, Mees Van de Burgt, Olaf Kamperman, Jared Teiger.

“I was on exchange at TU Delft all of last year, and in my first semester I participated in the Interactive Environments Minor. My second semester there was a student contest to submit ideas for interactive installations for the Dutch Design Week exhibit,” Kamperman said. His project was one of eight to make the exhibition.

“My group created M.I.K.E. (Mycorrhizal Immersive Knowledge Experience). It is an immersive experience that teaches visitors about mycorrhizal networks: the huge underground networks of fungal roots through which trees and plants can communicate and share resources,” Kamperman said.

Kamperman was able to travel to the Netherlands thanks to funds from the School of Industrial Design and the College of Design that support students who receive international design awards or are invited to present research papers.

Additionally, a Bilateral Student Exchange Agreement between Georgia Tech and TU Delf was signed in October 2020 to broaden student educational experiences and cultural ties for the School of Industrial Design and the faculty of Industrial Design Engineering.

Kwon visited TU Delft in October 2022 to strengthen the exchange programs for undergraduates and graduates while Kamperman was in attendance.

Her meetings with the program coordinators, advisers, and exchange program directors have accelerated graduate-level exchanges between the two industrial design schools. The School expects to host the first cohort of TU Delft graduate students in 2024.

Also available to international students is the newly developed Master of Industrial Design program at Georgia Tech Shenzhen

A Big Design Win and Cultural Lessons

Jared Teiger and Sapele Serenade
Photos: Jared Teiger/School of Industrial Design
Jared Teiger at the 2023 SIT Furniture Design Award ceremony, left, and Sapele Serenade, right.

Teiger plans to spend next semester as an exchange student at TU Delft, and he’ll arrive there with an impressive award from Switzerland.

Over Thanksgiving break, Teiger traveled to Luzern, Switzerland to receive the SIT Furniture Design Award for his lounge chair titled Sapele Serenade.

“Last semester one of our design projects was to design a piece of furniture that was ergonomic. So I created Sapele Serenade, which is a lounge chair made out of a piece of Sapele hardwood. And I applied to the SIT Furniture Design Competition, and I won with that chair,” Teiger said.

While at the award ceremony, Teiger was introduced to Dominic Sturm, the president of the Swiss Design Association; met peer students from the University School of Design, Innovation, and Technology from Madrid, Spain; and discussed architectural projects from all over the world with one of Zaha Hadid’s research engineers.

“From their study and design experience abroad,” Kwon said, “Olaf and Jared have become Georgia Tech industrial design ambassadors who promote the excellence of Georgia Tech students and our design education.”

“Both from meeting exchange students here and going abroad, I've seen so many different ways of teaching industrial design,” Kamperman said. “When I was in Delft, obviously I talked to a lot of people who are from Delft, but in that program, there were people from Ireland, from Spain, from South Korea, from Colombia, like all over the world.”

“I think it's just a really good way to like broaden your knowledge and your skills,” he said.

“I found that coming to Tech, having all these different people with different backgrounds and diversity here, was really mind-opening,” Teiger said. “I can learn from that and learn about their cultural background and learn about how they see the world and see design itself differently.”

“One of the key interests that I have (for the upcoming semester in Delft) is to see what the cultural difference in design is in the Netherlands and see how that connects to my own design practice,” he said.

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Ann Hoevel
Director of Communications
College of Design
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