A new environment can stimulate inventive thinking that leads to brilliant design work—but according to the TestLab Berlin participants, it might just stir you to change your way of life, too.
TestLab Berlin is a study abroad program offered by Art Center College of Design that is structured as a series of immersive 14-week trans-disciplinary projects under the direction of Nik Hafermaas, graphic design department chair and executive director of Berlin Programs. Students from a range of studio majors offered by the college—including illustration, photography, environmental, interaction, product and graphic design—can apply to participate. Twelve students are selected to travel from Pasadena, CA to Berlin to work for a semester at Art Center’s pop-up design studio in the recently renovated Bikini Berlin, an historic 1950s urban marketplace and recreation center located across from the city’s famed Zoological Garden.
Each TestLab is unique and forms around one core faculty member who runs the project along with additional guest faculty, lecturers and critics, both in Berlin and back in Los Angeles. Real-life design challenges are tackled in a studio setting, and past TestLab programs have focused on design innovation for retail and hospitality design.
Recently, Sean Adams, professor of graphic design and partner at the design firm AdamsMorioka, tackled branding with “TestLab Neo Americana.” Guest faculty and advisors included the following: Brad Bartlett, Candice-Leigh Baumgardner, Nik Hafermaas, Nicole Jacek, Noreen Morioka, Michael Sans and Ming Tai. As Adams and the students worked to reimagine integrative narrative brand experiences that transcend traditional marketing and promotion tools, they found a new way to approach design and life.
The above excerpt from Terry Stone’s story on the unexpected virtues and outcomes of students’ study abroad experiences with TestLab Berlin was originally published by How Design. Check out the full article here.