Summary of our ALP adventure

4 Sep

By Yoong Jia Jun (Industrial Design theme)

Hangzhou is a beautiful city. In the three and a half months in Zhejiang University, I have had a lot of fun while in the process of learning. It was spring when we arrived and autumn when we left. The first two months were rather relaxing; we had a lot of time to travel around Hangzhou and the neighbouring cities. The last month was really hectic for the students in my theme as well as in many other themes. We had to design something and model it on rhino, and eventually make the physical prototype. There was a report and video to submit too. This entry is a summary of our time there and the things I’ve learnt. I’ll first talk about Hangzhou, Zhejiang University and the things we do during our free time.

record-breaking temperature in Hangzhou

We were there to experience the record-breaking temperature in Hangzhou.

Beautiful sunset & 月牙楼

Amazingly, beautiful sunsets are not uncommon in Hangzhou. The sky was really pink that day. The building in this photo is International Design Institute of Zhejiang University (IDI / 月牙楼), the place we go to every day when we do not go to our internship companies.

Bikes - free to rent for the first one hour

These bikes were so useful while we were there. It is free to rent for the first one hour and costs 1RMB for the next hour.

Dishes from 外婆家 Dishes from 外婆家

These are two dishes from 外婆家, one of the more affordable and yummy restaurants in Hangzhou. The food in Hangzhou is really good, I must say. I am missing the steamboats we had ever so frequently already.

BBQ (烧烤) BBQ (烧烤) BBQ (烧烤)

Speaking of food, the BBQ (烧烤) there is super good. Although the food is really unhealthy, it is something not to be missed. My theme members have had countless shao kao sessions with our ZJU mentor Liu Yi. We’ve even had it once with Angelvin (from the SUTD Student Life department) when she came with the SSUE students. Usually, we would walk over to the nearby KTV to sing after we had shao kao. This is just about how we spent our nights.

Pond area in ZJU Pond area in ZJU Group photo with ZJU mentor Hanlei

Our other mentor Han Lei brought us around the pond area in ZJU and we chanced upon some geese and black swans. The school is really huge and beautiful.

Bei Jia Bei Jia Chia Wu Chia Wu Chia Wu

Just some photos of Bei Jia and Chia Wu, members of theme 10.


Hakim got sick during the first few weeks and he had to go to the hospital which is located inside the school compound.

The members of theme 10 – Industrial Design are mostly Engineering Systems and Design (ESD) students, 10 out of 13 of us to be exact. We all signed up for this theme thinking that we would be doing something more system related. However it ended up being more like product design. Although it was not what we expected, it was still a good experience. Our theme members interned in three companies, namely Feish (飞鱼工业设计公司), Bole (博乐工业设计公司) and TOOUT (凸凹工业设计公司). We worked on integrated kitchen appliances, lighting and culture, and lighting and emotions respectively. We went through the entire design process, from ideation to realisation. We picked up a lot of software skills including Rhino, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign and these skills are useful for us in the future especially during our pillar years.

Feish (飞鱼工业设计公司)

At Feish (飞鱼工业设计公司)

Feish (飞鱼工业设计公司)

Another photo at Feish (飞鱼工业设计公司)

Bole (博乐工业设计公司)

Bole (博乐工业设计公司)

Bole (博乐工业设计公司) office

Bole (博乐工业设计公司) office

At Bole (博乐工业设计公司)

At Bole (博乐工业设计公司)

TOOUT (凸凹工业设计公司)

TOOUT (凸凹工业设计公司) office

Group photo at TOOUT (凸凹工业设计公司)

Group photo at TOOUT (凸凹工业设计公司)

At TOOUT (凸凹工业设计公司)

At TOOUT (凸凹工业设计公司)

We also practised sketching (by starting with line-drawing) at the beginning. Sketching is an effective way to convey thoughts and ideas and it is very useful if we are able to sketch well.

IxDC At a museum

In order to gain more understanding and knowledge about design, we have been on some outings. Some of us went for the IxDC talks which were held in Hangzhou this year. The Bole group visited many museums so as to get inspiration.

At a prototyping company

In order to produce the prototype, we had to work with an external company. We went down to the prototyping company to confirm our design before we started production. It was truly a good experience as we were working directly with a Chinese firm. Luckily for us, we have Han Xiao in our group so communication was not much of a barrier.

SUTD Provost at our exhibit

SUTD Provost at our exhibit

To conclude, the entire ALP experience was a very rewarding one. Being in a different environment forced us to break boundaries (such as using Chinese as the main language) and exposed us to a culture that is unlike our own. What I liked about the Chinese as I could see in the ZJU mentors and teachers is that they were ready to help even if it meant having less sleep. They were very passionate in what they do and I really appreciate the help they gave us.

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