Mike has become a very familiar face at Fabrique Invent after 8 years. After starting his career, almost immediately after his IPO study, he has now grown into a senior design engineer. We look back at the past 8 years and at Mike as a person.
How did you end up at Fabrique Invent?
I came into contact with Fabrique Invent through Niels, which is now about 8 years ago. Me and Niels started studying human kinetic technology at the same time, where we first met. After completing this bachelor program, we started an accelerated Industrial Product Design course. This transfer curriculum was not yet available at the time, and we were one of the few students who wanted pursue IPO after ouro ther study. This created a bond between us. When we both also completed the IPO bachelor, Niels started his first job as a designer at Fabrique Invent. I then started working as a mechanical engineer at a company in Woerden. I soon found out that this was not the place for me, but at the time the jobs were not there for the taking. Then Niels asked me if I wanted to apply at Fabrique Invent. Then I had an interview with former owner Theo and that is how I got my job at Fabrique Invent.
What is the main reason you are still working at Fabrique Invent after 8 years?
That's a good question. I think the people. Many things have changed in those 8 years; colleagues have come and go, Fabrique Public Design that quit 3 years ago and Niels who has now taken over Invent. In addition, I think coming up with concepts is a very nice aspect of the work. The way of working at a design agency also appeals to me; the diversity of products, you need a broad knowledge of product development and you need imagine how other people will interact with your designs, which can be very different in every sector. As a designer, I prefer this way of working over one own product. Then I think you're too busy with one thing. In addition, I get the space at Fabrique Invent to work completely independently, which I like.
Have you ever had a work blunder?
Yes, at my old job. I worked at an engineering drafting room. I drew products in CAD and then it was welded together in the workshop downstairs. I had to draw out a container, which would be attached to each other with nuts and bolts. When the entire box was welded together at the workshop, based on my drawings, it turned out that I had not updated the pattern of the holes on all sides, so they were not properly aligned with each other. Then there was a phone call to the drafting room with the question: 'Who made this thing? And can this person come down here for a second?'. That was a blunder. It has caused me to double check a lot of things, though.
What changes or innovations in the field are you most enthusiastic about?
In that sense, we are quite isolated in our own corner of design. We occasionally visit a fair, but I haven't seen very innovative things there either recently. As a design agency, it also depends a lot on the customers you have, of course. In that respect, we are in a fairly conservative corner with mostly constructive products. We have positioned ourselves in designing in aluminum and our customers are in line with that.
Of the developments within Fabrique Invent, I particularly like the closer collaboration with Martijn (QoCreators) and the production. This is really something from the last few years. I think the interaction with the customer, Martijn and us as designers is very cool and a nice way of working.
What do you complain about the most?
I can occasionally complain about communication related things. I really enjoy it when our customers are interested. I am very much a team player in that respect; this motivates me. If everyone does their part in the process well, then we can make great things together. If this doesn't run smoothly then I can complain about it now and then.
Which work-related skill would you still like to learn?
Coincidentally, I was looking at software to make flow simulations with Niels today. This allows you to calculate the heat distribution within a product or profile, for example. I often work on LED fixtures where you have to take into account the amount of heat that is released and how it distributes through the design. There is still a lot to be gained here, and I think it would be fun to delve into it. I am also excited that we are now going to hire some new people and to learn new things about them. How I can get the best out of these people and how I can grow from them.
Finally, I would also like to delve further into construction theory in itself. If you want to be a good designer you should be able to do that, in my opinion. It is very much underrated for designers. You can't create a part without thinking about how it could break. I would like to learn about even more complex matters, in order to become better at assessing situations and the associated forces.
What is something you want to do in your life?
What a broad question. Still a lot of things. I would like to go to Australia one day, then I will have visited all continents (apart from Antarctica) in my life. I think that's a nice goal.
My girlfriend is from Spain and our ultimate dream would be to have a house in the Netherlands and a house in Spain and to be able to combine our lives in these 2 countries.
At the moment I am also very interested in financial independence. I didn't get this at all from my childhood and I think it's a nice goal to work towards. I don't know if it will work, but then I can at least pass on this knowledge to my children.