Dear that comes with new usage scenarios

Dear members of the selection committee,My interest in product design was first triggered when I was 16 in high school. I always tend to observe people. To understand their motivations, to understand how they think and take actions is a great passion for me.

I have always been fascinated by the idea of defining a ritual and a behavior model around a product in the simplest way. Therefore, I chose to study industrial design and was accepted to the program with the full scholarship and graduated with GPA 3.18, with honor degree.I always believe that education is what people do to you and learning is what you do to yourself. In my life and education; I have had the opportunity of learning how to learn first. Thus, I have always aspired to learn new things from different fields and disciplines. In that way, I can describe myself as an elastic sponge which absorbs and transforming knowledge into product and services that comes with new usage scenarios and rituals. This elasticity defines the core of my approach to design.

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This elasticity leads to a filtering mechanism as my main tool for designing before sketching and 3d modeling: filtering unconnected notions, terms and data to define a web of relationships and a background story for a product, service design concept. I always have a great respect and interest for paleontology and natural history museums. I wanted to have a job that makes me excited like when Georges Cuvier looks at a dinosaur fossil. But I’m more obsessed with Paleoanthropology, which is a subdivision of paleontology focusing on defining women and men’s place in nature and what makes us human. I want to describe my job with a reference to this definition.

I’m planning to shape my career as a designer who creates product-based design scenarios shaped around users’ needs and changing priorities. Particularly, interested in how users are located in these specific scenarios, considering all micro-interactions of users in the process based on well-detailed researches and analyzes.I see myself as a translator responsible for bringing value to both businesses and users while transforming functions, materials, technology and user data, market requirements for new stories and scenarios where users can be involved. This story can come as a home furniture, lighting unit or a package design. It can be about environmental issues, sustainability, and effective use of materials, improving a business strategy or maybe about surviving in alienated city atmospheres. In my perspective; design activity is really acting as a translator who brings a new story using all of these notions and requirements.I’ve carried the role of designer as translator during my studies and internships and as a freelance product designer which I have been pursuing for the last one year.

My first project entitled Dorian was completely about memories and it was the reinterpretation of an old Asian tradition based on growing bonsai trees as family heirlooms. It aims to define a ritual while transforming memories and images into something you can handle. This is a smart pot, designed as a special memory storage based on a simple aim: vitalizing the memories to access time, identities and dreams.

A special memory storage that can breathe and take root for you. Dorian has significant importance for my design career; with it, I gained recognition in an international design contest as a finalist of Electrolux Design Lab 2015. My approach to design is visible in Circular Store as well, which was my graduation project. In this, I wanted to design a product/service/system for furniture use and consumption in the context of motivating sustainable behaviors.

I mainly focused on defining mutually lucrative scenarios for all stakeholders in the process in the context of sustainability. My central question was: How can you bring longevity and flexibility into objects with the notions of adaptability, transformability, and modularity. I investigated how interactions and relationships among organizations, markets, user expectations in furniture industry are used to build a valuable strategy as the results of detailed user-centered researches and market analyzes.

Circular Store focuses on creating adaptive furniture units of which can be transformed into each other. The design consisted of main structures and various plug-ins. It also had a dimension of a social platform where users can resell, hire, swop the parts of their furniture and its parts: an armchair turning into a sofa and so forth depending on the needs and financial capability of its users. The project attracted the attention of different organizations and was exhibited at several places including Design Week Turkey 2017 as a finalist for concept category. This process is not finished yet; its intellectual property rights and patent phase are completed and I’m in contact with different manufacturers and furniture companies for launching it to the market.

One core value is still the same in my perspective. I shape myself as a 21st-century translator of technology, material, notions, data into products we use every day. My priority is developing packaging for ideas which elevate people’s perceptions and I suggest users a story which answers their priorities and changing needs.

 I follow this methodology wherever I go. In my semester-long exchange period, I’ve spent at The Hague University of Applied Sciences, I became aware of my design methodology as a translator and also saw that it can be a global approach. That was a eureka moment for me to define a career path around it. There, I took the Minor Sustainable Product Design course, where I made a project called Terra. What I learned in that course also paved the way for my graduation project. My project in the course was designing planters for the busiest thoroughfares within The Hague, thus increasing the air quality.

I completed the project in cooperation with Eigenwijzer and collaboration with Wageningen University & Research. I designed a social interaction which is shaped around modular planters to motivate users to act more sustainable ways and also make them involved in maintenance activities of planters. I believe that defining a sustainable user scenario is important for the success of the product in the market as well as building sustainably and features of the product. My approach took the attention of my minor coordinator Dr. Patrick Kruithof and he nominated the project to compete for the Betafactory Awards as a design-driven sustainable innovation.In my education period, I have gained valuable experiences as an intern and project-based product designer in different disciplines such as Visual & Communication Design and Industrial Design. I have participated in several long-term workshops and design camps in different topics such as UX Design, Biomimicry in Design, Digital Manufacturing to Marine Composites. I’ve worked as project-based junior and intern industrial designer in Turkey-Based several global companies such as Vestel and Arçelik; as well as locally famous design offices.

I’ve won several design prizes in different categories with my personal works throughout my undergraduate studies. All of these I have succeeded in Istanbul and now I need to open new doors abroad.Unfortunately, the universities of my home country don’t have enough programs in my field that would enable me to realize my potential and compete at the global level. The industry is not well-developed in terms of product design, development perspective.

I don’t want to be a part of their design vision which is stuck in the 1990s. I want to design for the world that is coming. I think that we are living in a strange moment. The rhythm of the conditions has changed tremendously, just like the rhythm of our lives in the past twenty years.

It surely is a very important moment for design, because not only is the technology proceeding but also technology, all of these improvements are encouraging possibilities in design and extending limits of a designer. In addition to this, the idea of sustainability is no longer limited in terms of CO2 emissions and footprint, but also covers sustainability of the relationships between markets, users and constantly changing conditions. I have spent six months in the Netherlands as an exchange student, also I’ve been in several locations all around Europe from Lisbon to Paris and Milan for design weeks and exhibitions as a visitor or a participant with my products. Therefore, I have had the opportunity to experience the fascinating concepts created by your graduates and I can’t stop imagining my future self-being in such teams and collaborating with fellow students.

My aim is to be a student of a graduate program with a focus on innovation, pragmatic impact and professional prospects. A Master’s program such as Design Strategies at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University with a vision to raise designers as researchers for the industry and organizations can turn disruptive technologies into valuable, constructive user experiences and practical applications.I have checked your alumni, curriculum that welcomes multi-disciplinary approach, great opportunities and collaborations with the industry. All of the possibilities and facilities you have from qualifications of your professors to an independent environment which is surrounded by international talents in different fields are the main reasons that make me apply to your university for this program. Also at your university, it is possible for Master’s students to collaborate in Ph.D. project groups, and this is a great attraction for me since I plan to continue with doctoral studies upon gaining my Master’s degree. Open Source Solutions as Business Models, Collaborative Consumption and Peer to Peer Solutions, Circular Economy and Relation with Sustainability, Digital Transformation for Local Organizations, Glocalization and Adapting Locally, Mixed Reality Use in Shopping Experiences are the main notions and topics I’m interested in, which I want to explore more deeply in my graduate studies.

I will focus on one of these three topics for my tentative thesis project: The first topic is: designing a service system and a set of tools for various organizations and sports clubs in developing countries such as Turkey or Portugal to support the infrastructure for young professionals’ development in their fields and to improve their physical conditions as well as their mental strength.The second topic is rediscovering open source production methods. These methods are a preferable alternative to how we approach retail today. An online social platform and specialized products for this platform can be supported by a half production/half store area. I aim to define an environment from end to end that challenges the conventional definition of retail.

It is not simply an innovative and trending subject (open source): I aim to combine it with an effective business strategy and innovative use of technology to introduce a comprehensive new paradigm for retail that would be easily superior to its equivalents in the market. The third topic is reimagining how online shopping companies such as Amazon or Asos package goods and retails for transportation and shipping. This is about designing smart and sustainable solutions and defining roadmaps thinking the future visions and brand images of these companies: to explore possible technological and societal developments, changes in the sector to design a new way for transportation and how these companies approach packages after a detailed research and user analysis stage. Working on any of these topics my focus will be on societal and environmental benefits.

 I’m planning to shape my career as an innovation consultant or an innovation manager. I have always been interested in evolution rather than revolution, the idea that things gradually evolve by adapting to and improvising with the changes in the world. Thus, I want to spend my next two years in an environment that hugs innovation as a constructive element, where the multi-disciplinary approach is at the very center.

This is a very different environment than the one I find in Turkey, where even evolution is barely spoken as a notion. I believe the ‘Design Strategies’ program at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University would give me the opportunity to find my very own voice in design and helps me to step next level.

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I'm Gerard!

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