Alumnus, Junji Kawabe [MID ’08] was a Franklin Bost Industustrial Design Fellowship recipient (06-07) and who recently received an iF Design Award Gold. We had the opportunity to do a Q & A with Kawabe to learn more about his passion and experiences as a designer.
Q: You have an undergraduate degree in engineering and a master of industrial design. What led you to pursue both degrees?
A: As a kid, I was always interested in drawing, but I didn’t know what design was. I drew out of my imagination. At the same time, I was interested in engineering. My father was an engineer, and so that was the path I followed. I studied aerospace engineering at NC State [BSAE ’00]. After graduation, I returned to Japan and worked for two years as an aerospace engineer. I did not know there was a field of design—industrial design—that fit my interests and talents. When I came back to Raleigh, I learned about the industrial design program. It was only the 2nd year they offered the Track 3 program*. I thought it would be interesting, so I applied and got in.
* Track 3 is a graduate program for someone with a non-design degree.
Q: Engineering and industrial design are very complementary. Has this been a benefit to you?
A: Yes, this has been a major strength. One offers the understanding of technology and complex details, and the other provides the aesthetics and usability. As a designer, I can talk with engineers on their terms and solve problems quickly.