Chuan Jiang

Chuan Jiang Freelance designer
Bachelor of Industrial Design 2018 Bachelor of Design (honours) 2020

Monash gave me the chance to pursue my passion.

Chuan Jiang

We sat down with Chuan Jiang, a recent Monash University Industrial Design graduate who grew up in Changchun, Jilin province in China, the city where the first car was manufactured in the mid-1950s. Jiang finds the fast-changing relationship between the car, city and people extremely fascinating.

After completing his Bachelor of Design and before commencing his Honours year, Chuan undertook two internships with automotive studios in China (FAW Hongqi & SAIC Motor). Jiang chose to study at Monash University to pursue his goal of becoming an Automotive Designer.

For his Bachelor of Design (Honours) year, Jiang specialised in Industrial Design with his research speculating about the future relationship between people, transportation machines and the street network of the city.

Congratulations on winning the Brian Davis Highest Achievement Award! How did it feel to receive the award and how will it help to shape your future career?

I am thrilled to receive the award. When it comes to design, it can be easy to go with the flow, especially with a big industry like automotive, but I wanted to challenge that. My graduate project challenges the automotive industry to look at new ways of thinking and how we as designers can tackle ethical issues.

This award gives me the confidence to keep challenging the big industries through design initiatives while allowing me to maintain my ethical standpoint. It also gives me a distinct voice in the industry, which I believe is a unique selling point as a designer.

What is the inspiration for your winning graduate project, titled Concept Bubble, which focuses on the future of mobility?

The inspiration for this project is the natural phenomenon of soap bubbles merging. Each bubble represents individual people in our society. This concept will make our “movement space” more lively, and allow for natural communication, not only on the sidewalks but also on the main streets. It could potentially assist people to bond with our society and make society more cohesive. Our urban landscape could shift from a place full of moving metal boxes to a place full of human interactions.

How was your experience studying Bachelor of Design Honours?

2020 was quite a different year because of COVID-19, but studying online allowed me to plan my time better. My design lecturers at Monash helped provide critical and constructive feedback. I would not have succeeded in my final year without their encouragement and guidance.

By focusing on research, I gained a new perspective in developing and advancing my design projects. The weekly feedback sessions with my lecturers were great because they gave me enough time to produce enough work to show my lecturer and gain critical feedback to keep me on the right track. The design honours year has a really good structure and focuses on advanced design.

Why did you choose to study at Monash University?

I was studying English language in Singapore and searching for a suitable university where I could undertake a degree in industrial design. I did not have a design background, so I found that my options were limited as so many universities have barriers to entry with folio and interviews.

I found Monash offers a pathway into design through Monash College, and the Bachelor of Design selects on GPA and does not require a folio or interview. Monash is looking for people who have ideas and a curiosity about the world, and they teach you the technical skills you need in the first year. Monash gave me the chance to pursue my passion.

My parents were very keen for me to study in a safe and secure environment, and we knew Australia and Melbourne was that place. It is a multicultural country with great air quality and an amazing natural environment.

What is your favourite part of studying Design at Monash University?

At Monash, I was able to explore a broad range of units in design. I was able to develop a breadth of knowledge and create dynamic links between different disciplines.

Through Monash, I had access to the latest news on technology and innovation and became proficient in the latest industry-standard software. Monash gave me the skills and knowledge to position myself at the forefront of the creative industry.

What was the most unexpected thing you have learnt/experienced in the course?

English is my second language, so reading articles can be challenging for me but I kept studying because I wanted to push myself and I like to move out of my comfort zone to expand my creativity. The lecturers were patient and the university’s English support services were helpful. I read articles from urban design, mobile ethnography and anthropology, which helped me see the links between these areas and develop a unique and innovative design proposal.

What area of design are you focusing on?

My goal is to play a pivotal role in helping shape the future of automotive design. I would like to work for Toyota in Australia. Urban mobility interests me the most. With the radical developments in autonomous technology, there will be many new forms of mobility that redefine what the car means to us. I would like to be part of this new era.

What excites me the most is seeing how the urban landscape is changing, and the way we move from A to B is transforming. The products I design could provide a positive impact on our society. The goal I set for myself is to contribute to making “social mobility” a reality, I am confident that if I keep pushing this idea, there will be opportunities for me to achieve it.

What advice would you give to first-year Design students?

Be completely honest with yourself, explore all that design has to offer and this will help you figure out what you want to do.

Talk to people about your project, from lecturers to adults to children, keep a record of their feedback as this will help you better understand the end-users needs. My goal is to always be able to explain my project with the simplest description (one sentence, without complex terms).

View more on Chuang’s graduate design project.

Image: Chuan Jiang’s Concept Bubble utilises autonomous technology, to make our transportation system more efficient. This modular autonomous vehicle concept enables passengers to form Vehicular Social Networks (VSN) on the road.