A photo of one of the boards in the factory – we weren’t allowed to take photos of the actual manufacturing process

We started off the week with a visit to Zhejiang Kaiyao Lighting Co. Ltd, a lighting company located in a pretty rural area.

We were all surprised by the weather that day as we have been getting warned that summer is fast approaching, meaning that it would be really hot soon, and we could all feel it over the past few days. It ended up being a surprisingly cold and rainy day, which was nice for me as I liked cold weather, but not so nice for some others who didn’t fancy the cold and were not prepared.

Nice (for myself) cool weather

Interestingly, unlike the other industrial visits, the company actually decided to host all of us at one go, which was indeed rather challenging due to the sheer numbers. Despite that, we still managed to see some of what was happening and also hear some explanations from our guide.

The guide was really accommodating and one thing that I remember clearly about him was how he always tried to talk about design knowing that we are design students. He emphasized a lot about the importance of thinking about the manufacturing aspect (eg ease of manufacturing, cost of manufacturing, whether this product can be manufactured using robots, etc) of design, which I believe is not something that many of us have thought about as often when we do our projects in SUTD, we are usually more concerned about the ease of prototyping rather than the ease of manufacturing.

A photo of one of the boards in the factory – we weren’t allowed to take photos of the actual manufacturing process

Later in the week, we had our first lessons for Design Fiction. For this class, we were split into two groups – Direction I and Direction II. Direction I was a class about performances (specifically drama) while direction II was a class leaning towards technical skills such as sketching, video editing and photo editing. I was in direction I, so that’s what I will talk about here.

I was never much of a performer, but I decided to just throw caution to the wind and give it a shot anyway. It was … a very interesting experience, to say the least. We started off doing some dancing, and then we had to pretend we were in various environments and act accordingly, and we were also tasked to put on various personas and to act as people with many different occupations. I never knew putting myself in the shoes of others could be so difficult!

We were also told to vote for which performance of each persona was the best and the best performer would perform for the entire class. It was interesting to note that the best performances were those who really showed the intricacies of the people in each occupation. It was indeed challenging to be able to fully replicate the actions of a role that you are simply not familiar with.

Nonetheless, I was glad to have joined this class as it was really eye-opening for me as someone with little to no experience in performing. My fears of the class being awkwardness were magically driven away very quickly and I look forward to the future sessions.

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