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The made in China, blessed bread to the young French designers

The massive growth of the production in China does not create jobs in the factories: the designers also have their place on this market. A godsend for the Frenc

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The made in China, blessed bread to the young French designers

The massive growth of the production in China does not create jobs in the factories: the designers also have their place on this market. A godsend for the French designers, more and more many to start their careers.

When she decided to go and finish her design studies in China, Lila Baumont knew a few things. She just had an image of the country in mind, memories of history classes-geo: a forest of skyscrapers at the edge of the river Huang Pu, in the center of Shanghai. Three years later, the window of his office above. The agency's Creative Capital, created by the French, was hired in the wake of her last internship. Since then, the designer is not sitting idle: "there are few periods here. A lot of brands are being created, and the demand is huge."

the success of The made in China does not create jobs in the production: it is also the bread for the designers. If one adds to the frenzy of construction that affects chinese cities, the country seems to become the paradise of designers, product as spaces. In this booming market, the French have a card to play. "France, along with Italy, is a little regarded as the home of the creative design and conceptual," recalls Anne-Marie Boutin, head of the Agency for the promotion of industrial creation (APCI). The Hexagon owes its good reputation to that of his "art of living", but also "the fact that many French designers settled in China," she continued.

Difficult to quantify the phenomenon, but the specialized courses have already nosed opportunities. The Ecole nationale supérieure de création industrielle (Ensci) identifies a small twenty elders in mainland China or Hong Kong and Strate College, a dozen since 2010. Their employers? A few chinese firms, agencies, French or international, as well as large groups - from L'oréal to PSA, passing through Quechua or Faurecia - that adapt their products to the chinese market. In 2008, the Ecole de design Nantes Atlantique (EDNA) has even opened a campus in Qingdao, moved to Shanghai in 2010.

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A few hours of plants

an industrial Designer Nicolas Melan has put his bags in China since 2006. "In France, non-automotive or aerospace, we have lost our industrial culture. The small-scale industry, this is not sexy", he laments. Frustrating for those who chose the design "to keep the sense of the concrete". His first job, in a company in hong kong was launched by a French, it opens up horizons: "I would draw products for major companies such as Thompson and you could immediately follow the development. The first interest to be here, this is closer to production."

designers are working in the R&D centre opened by Mercedes-Benz to Beijing, to adapt its cars to the local market.

Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon

a Few years later, Nicolas Melan opened her own design agency, Sequoia-Studio, in Zhongshan, in the face of Hong Kong. "The proximity to the factories allows us to do a true follow-up development. It was the knowledge of the field, it is easier to find solutions. It can make a difference in the final object." Product Designer at Electrolux in Shanghai, Nicolas Hubert, confirms: "We can push the engineers to solve problems of finish, to go further into the detail. This is how it happens to be really good quality."

missions freelance stalled at Starbucks

Working in a giant emergent offers another advantage: the projects are unending, to the point that the opportunities seem to fall from the sky. The design agencies, especially the smaller ones, are struggling less to drill than in France. "We must rarely provide pre-projects, non-paying, observes Pierre-Emmanuel Obéniché, creative director at Creative Capital. When the contact is good with a client, it usually continues to appeal to us."

This climate of confidence is reflected even on the interns and other adult beginners. "From my internship, I was touching everything, remembers Lila Baumont. I even worked on the scenography of fashion shows. It was only two in the design. I said, 'whoa!', my Illustrator artwork to become something concrete. I never thought I'd have so much responsibility before in my 30 years."

a full break-lunch in front of the city college of Shanghai, three students of the chinese campus of the EDNA also recount success stories early: "We have already won missions as a freelancer in a bar or at Starbucks, because the current going well with the client that we had just meet. He didn't even see our portfolios! In France, this would never happen."

This plebiscite is the reputation of French designers... or more broadly, foreigners. Because the skills of the Chinese are still little developed. "The China form designers, but very academic, writes Frédéric Degouzon, director of development and strategy of the EDNA. These are really good 'doers', in computer-aided design or modeling, for example, but they do not necessarily have a sufficient level in terms of strategy or product positioning."

culture Shock and local contract

Halos of their prestige, the young French designers did not work less in local contract, of one year, renewable for the most part, on terms less advantageous than the expatriates, who sometimes share their offices. They have oftent right to ten days leave per year. Wages, on the other hand, are good, especially considering the cost of living in China: 1500 to 3000 euros per month at the beginning of his career, according to the designers surveyed. No retirement contributions or unemployment, but many have the right to a health insurance basic, a round-trip annual for the France, or a chinese course.

The most difficult task may be to adapt to the culture of chinese clients. "What always amazes me is that here, nobody ever says no, and is surprised Lila Baumont. One can walk out of an appointment thinking that everything went well and to receive an e-mail feedback completely negative." The sponsors are also calling for designers with less concepts and more concrete. "It takes them from a very early tangible to decide on a project," says Pierre-Emmanuel Obéniché, the agency's Creative Capital.

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Even echo in Véronique Flament, director general of MDB Design, that has won many contracts in the transport of china: "we have to go very far into details to show joints and screw heads, and to recalculate the 3D image after every small change." Conversely, the French designers often blame their chinese contacts to a lack of precision in the finishes, during the production phase. "Let's say that they have a tendency to rounding, sums up Lila Baumont. Things are quickly made, and sometimes badly made". The other side of the coin...

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