An integral part of educating a designer is creating a well-rounded professional with a good pulse of local industry standards and heritage as well as the design culture and movements all over the world. Driven by a powerful partnership with the UK’s Northumbria University, AOD’s education model strives to create this well-rounded design professional through its award-winning British curriculum, local industry collaborations and opportunities to get real international exposure through global competitions, awards and study tours overseas. Today, this all-encompassing approach to education has set the AOD designer apart as the most coveted design professionals in the country. As part of this education model, AOD students were recently guided to explore two of Asia’s leading design hubs – Hong-Kong and Singapore.
The group was led by two experienced international designers from AOD’s faculty who guided the students through the amazing innovation in fashion, interior architecture and graphic design in these cities. The Hong Kong study tour of the students took them to Hong-Kong Design Institute, PMQ, Hong-Kong Night Markets, Times Square, Symphony of Lights Harbour as well as visits to iconic designer retails spaces such as Armani, Ralph Lauren, Burberry and Hermes. This allowed this students to understand how Hong-Kong, as a city that has a strong Asian culture behind it, has now evolved into the twenty-first century with a modern take on its heritage through cutting-edge graphic design, interior design and fashion.
Similarly Singapore, which is known for its unbelievably modern architectural design and fashion culture, gave AOD students new inspiration on using modern technology for environmental and social sustainability through design. Some of the highlights of their visit to Singapore included the Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay and The ArtScience Museum. The students also got the opportunity to visit the world famous Maison and Objet Interior and Furniture fair which brings together the biggest furniture design and retail names from all over the world. In addition, they also got to experience some of the world’s most beloved fashion brands such as Gucci, Tommy Hilfiger, Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana.
AOD principal Karen MacLeod stated that this experience has helped the students to emerge creatively mature, internationally rounded and more inspired than ever before; “During these tours I could see how the students were super-charged with inspiration and how they were able to gain a deeper understanding of how modernity can evolve from heritage and culture by actually being surrounded by it and seeing it in reality. Many think that just seeing images online and reading about it is sufficient for designers to learn about international design – while this is better than being unaware of global trends; it is really miles and miles apart from really being in a global design hub and experiencing it in every sense. It makes a massive difference to the young designers and makes them evolve and grow creatively by leaps and bounds – I could see it in our designers and they have returned to the country as more mature designers with a solid understanding of what it means to be a modern designer in Asia with an informed outlook on the future.”
MacLeod also commented that it is this rich experience that makes the AOD graduates unique and highly demanded in industry. “I think this rich experience is really what sets AOD designers apart from the rest and allows them to function as true international design professions. The businesses and industries in Sri Lanka today recognise this and understand how AOD designers are really different from the rest – this is why our graduates are hired as soon as they’re out of AOD and we maintain a 100% employment rate to date.”