MINES Saint-Étienne

From engineer to designer: discover two multidisciplinary courses

Since November 2017, Arthur Farre, a graduate of Mines Saint-Étienne (ICM E08) has been Director of Design and Head of the Design Studio at GA Smart Building, a builder and real estate developer with 600 people. His multidisciplinary background enriched by numerous experiences and professional encounters led him back to Saint-Étienne where he has just recruited a young graduate of the Master in Prospective Design, Lucas Marques Lima.

  • What are the highlights of your curriculum?

The Master in Prospective Design did not exist in 2008 but I followed the design and engineering course and the Finite Elements axis in the 2nd year of my ICM course (Civil Engineer of Mines), then the project management and innovation option in the 3rd year. I completed my 2nd year internship as a MOA project manager (social housing construction in Reunion Island) and my Final Project in the Brams cognitive neuroscience laboratory in Quebec (International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research).

I wanted to focus on research, architecture, engineering and design and to pursue a multidisciplinary but predominantly creative curriculum!

  • “A generalist profile, a vision that is at once technical, innovative and transversal”… is that a good definition of the engineer-designer?

My training gave me this transversal vision which I think is very complementary to that of the designer. Indeed, it brings a sociological dimension (the design, the choice of materials, the user’s perspective and the consideration of his expectations), a cross-fertilization of skills, curiosity and creativity where interaction is essential to mobilize the various specializations and feed projects.

This is why I decided to follow the ENSCI’s specialized master’s degree “Innovation By Design”, after my position at the Oresys Consulting Firm. It allowed me to acquire a real experience in industrial design which I enriched by a design internship and a senior designer position at Eliumstudio, a multi-awarded design agency recognized for its achievements in the field of connected objects.

  • You have just hired a young graduate of Mines Saint-Étienne, how did you meet him?

I have been involved since 2016-2017 in the ICM curriculum and in the PRODE Master’s Design workshop that Lucas attended. His skills in digital design and his multidisciplinary background are fully in line with our company’s global vision of “the creation of connected buildings that are always more intelligent, more comfortable and more pleasant to live in”. My mission today is to manage and build a centre of expertise and innovation in design within the group. This collaborative approach will be done with a team of designers.

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After a 6-month internship in the GA Smart Building group, Lucas Marques Lima works now as a designer in charge of the group’s user interface and digital product experience.

  • What did the Master in Prospective Design bring you in concrete terms?

To me, design is a discipline of intermediation: an intermediary between subjective and objective, between concrete and abstract, between form and content. This is partly why the interdisciplinary training offered by the Master in Prospective Design has been extremely interesting and useful: it encourages through various projects the exchange and collaboration of students from different backgrounds. This mix of visions has been essential in my development as an interaction designer because it has prepared me for the reality of the labour market and the industry but also for the development of design projects.

I used the opportunity of this curriculum to take part in several contests. I won the “A Tramway Named Design” competition promoted by STAS and the Biennale du Design de Saint-Étienne in 2017. I also reached the third place in the international technology and innovation competition “TechINK”, which was held in 2017 in Shanghai, with Yang Meng of the same class!

  • Why would you recommend this training to students?

I believe that an interdisciplinary vision is imperative for any student, engineering student or innovation-driven professional. Understanding and addressing the views of the various professionals, who are involved in projects to develop digital products, services, applications, etc., is essential in the development of long or short-term projects. This master’s degree is a unique opportunity to work on multidisciplinary projects and to collaborate with students and professionals from different backgrounds and with different expectations.

  • Tell us about your journey before studying in France

I am a Brazilian interaction designer, born and raised in Rio de Janeiro. I studied product and graphic design at the Higher School of Industrial Design, the first design school in Latin America. After graduating, I founded a digital start-up called Weddup with three other partners and started working as an independent interaction designer in Rio de Janeiro until August 2016, before joining the Master in Prospective Design in Saint-Étienne.

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> Find out more about the Master in Prospective Design (PRODE), a multidisciplinary course which is unique in France, jointly managed by the Institut d’administration des entreprises (IAE) of the Université Jean-Monnet, Mines Saint-Étienne and the École supérieure d’art de design de Saint-Étienne (ESADSE).

> The GA Smart Building Group “produces smart buildings and offers smart, design and connected solutions.”