Crystal Tech was a rewarding, memorable and challenging experience. We were thrown into the deep end with nobody being able to speak English, however, the internship presented a situation that I had never experienced before. Being a designer, communication is a vital aspect of that, so for me, I saw this as a positive, and that I would gain a lot from it.
During our time at Crystal we were assigned a project in which we worked on a proposal for the Hangzhou water conservation project. The theme of the project was water and we were assigned 6 sections, all with a different theme. Tess (Smith-Roberts) and I were given complete freedom to present ideas for each section. They pushed for installations, lights and digital media outcomes. For every idea we presented I had to mock up what the exhibition would look like in SketchUp, a 3D CAD software, this was really exciting as I have strong interests in CAD and wanted to develop my skills.
The internship was eye opening as we gained an insight into exhibition design for a Chinese audience, which surprised and challenged us. We proposed ideas but John the Creative Director spoke about how these are more western ideas and needed to be altered to suit the Chinese way of going round an exhibition. We had to start to consider elements within the exhibition design for a Chinese audience. We were also given the opportunity to visit Nicole’s (a new designer working at Crystal) own studio, which she shared with her tutors. It was a slow start in terms of communication, but eventually, we were having meetings which were being translated into Chinese and then back into English, all discussing and developing ideas for the exhibition. It was really exciting and rewarding by the end of it, to know that Tess and I had finished a months internship with nobody speaking English, but completing an extensive and Chinese led body of work. Something that I would not have experienced working at a more Western organisation.