‘Design Is About Problem Solving, Not Just Aesthetics,’ Says Yan Garin – Times of India

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Nestled in the bylanes of Prabhadevi, lies an Indo-French Design School, that breeds and nurtures young, creative minds. The bright sunshiny décor of the institute welcomes one into a long corridor; walls of which bear testimonials of proud stories of its students who have unfurled their wings and have flown high to make a mark in the design world.

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In a tête-à-tête with Yan Garin, Country Head of Ecole Intuit Lab, he tells us how he and his faculty always encourage students to embrace the unconventional and unleash their creativity without restrictions.

What is the inspiring story behind Ecole Intuit Lab?

In India, institutes are often started by businessmen. Rarely do you come across institutes started by academicians or professionals, like in our case. Everything at Ecole Intuit Lab has been developed keeping in mind need of the industry, and how an academician can shape the curriculum accordingly. This is the secret formula that has made the school successful. One of the founders, Clément Derock is of Indian origin. He was born in Pondicherry. He moved back to France when he was four years old. But came back to Mumbai for an internship in his 20s and kept his relationship with India alive since then. So, when the founders decided to expand, India was the first country that came to mind. At that time, there was also a need for an Institute like École Intuit Lab, because this was the time when India had started to open the borders and there was a big need for creative people. Today this 1 School has 5 Campuses across the world – Paris, Marseille, Mumbai, Kolkata, Sao Paulo.

Ecole Intuit Lab marks the fusion of two glorious cultures French & Indian. Tell us more about this interesting collaboration and how will it benefit the students?

India has a very long history in art, much longer than France. And I think India and France complement each other. This is what we tried to retain in our curriculum, we don’t want students to become French in their approach to design, we want them to be able to adapt to international standards by retaining their Indian specificities. The flavour has to be Indian and this is what I think is the power of students of École Intuit Lab. They have international standard capabilities and they also have the special Indian touch. I think we are quite successful in that aspect.

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Last year was an exceptional year in history. What has it been like at Ecole Intuit Lab?

I would say in a way we’ve been lucky. Much before the pandemic, the school was digital ready. Very quickly, we were able to shift to digital for attendance, grading, assignments, etc. We have had a Cloud for years now and all the students’ work has been archived on the Cloud. That way, we were way ahead of time and our students were used to doing things digitally. Also, in France the lockdown came two months ahead of India; where they tried online classes and made some mistakes from which we learnt lessons. We were better prepared from the day the lockdown was announced and the transition was pretty smooth.

The golden rule here is, ‘do not try to ape the physical class online. Do not try to replicate things, try to think differently. Try to rethink the class and take advantage of this situation, we have no choice in the game’.

There are many other aspects of the online classes that can be very beneficial. For example, this year we had more than 20 professionals from 20 different countries conducting International Masterclasses for our students. We invited top designers from Poland, US, UK, Indonesia, Korea, Spain. It enriched the students so much, broadened their horizons, as they got exposed to so many other cultures. We now make students interact cross-country with students and faculty in our campuses in France and in Brazil more often.

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Many reputable institutes are offering design courses, so what makes Ecole Intuit Lab different and the right approach for students?

The prime difference is the sincerity of the school here. As I said before, the founders of the School are not businessmen. Obviously, we need money to run and nobody will deny that. But money is not the priority of the school. The priority is to convey knowledge and passion about design to students. This school has originated out of the love for design. It has a big impact on everything we do here. The architecture of the place, the curriculum, etc.

We don’t cram our classes with students. The full campus has 200 students, and each batch is limited to only 30 students. That makes it really cosy in a way, and everybody knows each other. I know, all my students by first name. The second is too difficult to remember (Laughs), so that’s the big advantage, especially compared to really huge schools or University where there are 20,000 students and the faculty cannot pay attention.

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What all fields do you think design can penetrate to bring about actual change in society?

Design is central to everything. Anywhere there is a need for communication, design comes in. Post the pandemic, people are realising that design is no more a luxury but a necessity. It is not just about aesthetics; it is about problem solving. People have problems to solve, and our students – the designers of tomorrow, have to help solve them creatively, and make a difference to this world. That’s why the Designer is getting so much importance and respect now.

So be it any industry, the lines are blurring today. The interior designer is working with a graphic designer, fashion houses are getting graphic designers to build their own experiential centre, the store designs, the videos, etc. Graphic designers, creative directors, editors, all work together to create that piece of required communication.

Design students are in demand everywhere. Even if a home-based housewife is launching her own cookery setup, she needs somebody to design her logo or handle her social media. Today users won’t trust a brand that is not properly designed. Even people who know nothing about designing, have an opinion. When you go on the app that is not aesthetically designed, you will have problems trusting it. A brand which doesn’t have a well-designed website, it is non-existent today in people’s eyes.

What would you like to say to the people out there that hesitate in going forward to make design their full-time career choice and not a side passion?

I would say that if you treat your passion for design as a mere hobby, you would be missing a lot. When you see your project coming to life in the market, with the real user interacting with your product, the satisfaction is completely different. Also, the rise in demand for designers itself is showing how serious this vocation has become. Today, engineers and doctors are collaborating with designers to launch products. So, design is becoming a very serious business. Parents need to have trust, understand that this is a full-time industry, with potential to build international careers. Your child could be sitting in the next room working for a Japanese or Chinese client.

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You have been in India for quite a few years now. What is your opinion of the country and the designers from India and what made you stick on?

Paris is a great city. I love to go there. But I love India more, especially Mumbai. I think it is one of the safest cities. I have been living here for over 15 years. People here are more welcoming. India is like a blank canvas compared to Europe, where everything is formatted, you don’t really have options to do anything new. Whereas, in India, no matter what field, everything can be invented, or reinvented. There are much more opportunities and people are open to new technologies. I know many Indian designers who went abroad and came back because they thought they have more freedom here. Designers here are more experimental. They may also make more mistakes, but there is creative freedom that you will find nowhere else. What they need is a bit of guidance to get their craft in place so that they can match international standards. And I believe we at École Intuit Lab can help bridge that gap.

Disclaimer: This article has been produced on behalf of Ecole Intuit Lab Education by Mediawire team.





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