Student Conversation - Fabian Strunden

"That’s the cool thing about this college, you have the time and the space and opportunity to put yourself in situations where you can make mistakes."

On his move to Product Design

I’ve been through all four years here, with an extra year in as Students Union president. I studied Sculpture for two years and then swopped over to Product Design for the last two years. I always wanted to be a product designer. My work in sculpture was quite technical work as well, a lot of electronics work, programming and micro controllers but always on the subject of how people meet. A lot of that I was able to carry into Product Design but with more precise questions which was quite exciting.

On his background

I always loved programming and building websites. I’ve made websites for my parents. My mum is a textile designer and my dad is a painter. I moved over here from my boarding school when I was sixteen. I think my parents were sort of expecting that I was going to go back to Germany, but then I really like Ireland and I couldn’t study my degree in Germany. Ireland is like my big playground in a way. If you are from somewhere else things seem so much more possible in a way, you can be a little bit more cheeky sometimes.

On his final show

For my show I am building an atomised irrigation system. Community gardens are really nice but not everyone has the time to invest in them. I think it would be nice if you could cater to people that live a busy lifestyle. If they get completely left out of health food growing because it doesn’t suit their lifestyle then they’re just missing out. There needs to be a healthy medium. My idea is for my micro farm to run alongside Instagram. A sort of parasite platform alongside where you login through Instagram, take pictures, post recipes, say what you have done with your recipes, connect to other people with farms around your area. You can also purchase the seeds that you then grow in the farms. It’s shortens the distance that food travels and gives you the ability to be in control of what goes into your food. To actually see a plant grow is quite important also I think.

On his process

My show is a manifestation of the thoughts I’ve had for the last five years. It’s a summary of all the things I have learned. It combines a lot of different technologies and processes of making. My process is very making focused. I kind of immerse myself in the context at a very early stage, throw out ideas and see where the response is, how does it resonate with people? I do that over and over and over again. I set up a prototype, quickly test, examine the results, take the good elements and do another test in a completely different direction. That’s my process, that and immersing myself in the environment of the library where we have fantastic design and art books. The inspiration for my final design coincidently came from a light I saw in a book in the library. I’ve made some fantastic mistakes here. That’s the cool thing about this college, you have the time and the space and opportunity to put yourself in situations where you can make mistakes.

On what’s next

What’s the next exciting adventure? I don’t know, is it computer science? Is it design? I think there is so much opportunity in Ireland it’s crazy.