NXP: industrial design as the lingua franca of art and engineering
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Herminio Menchaca is a mechanical engineer, but not an ordinary mechanical engineer. He is also an award-winning industrial designer whose extensive training spans from his early days in Mexico to South Korea to India and Japan. Today he works for the Dutch semiconductor company NXP.
In EE time“The ‘Artful Engineer’ series, we find professional engineers playing musical instruments, creating sculptures, composing music, singing, drumming and performing at a high level. When we meet an “artistic engineer” we are eager to explore how he sees in his life where music meets mathematics and where art intersects with science / engineering.
Our meeting with Menchaca taught us that “industrial design” brings together the essence of “art” and “engineering” in one profession. Art is often for art, but in the world of industrial design, art unfolds in functional, practical and ergonomic products, objects and services. Such designs captivate millions of people who find pleasure in picking them up, smelling them, appreciating their beauty and using them in everyday life.
Menchaca, always interested in high technology and engineering, discovered Mingei, the folk art of Japan, while living there as a scholar. From an industrial design perspective, he sees no distinction between the 5G modem he designed for NXP and his experimentation with color, clay, and glazes in traditional Japanese pottery. In his mind, both products should be designed with a view of the design elements – like size and thermal constraints, manufacturability – that make them simple and easier to use. Whether it is a tea cup or a connected object, the object must be practical and beautiful. “You deserve a product well made,” Menchaca said.
Essentially, in folk arts and industrial design, the craftsmanship, experimentation, and frequent iterations (practice makes perfect) have created products that users want to use. A good industrial designer or craftsman needs to know who will use the end product and how it will be used.
Menchaca, with a life and world of design training, finds its comfort zone among the local population, working directly and directly, learning the different needs and preferences of users.
He learned foreign languages not only in a linguistic sense, but as a skill to speak the languages of engineering, marketing and design. As an industrial designer and mechanical engineer, he believes that his ability to cross the boundaries between different fields allows to better translate the best intended function of a product, ideally meeting the desire of its potential users. His background in industrial design is the lingua franca that enabled Herminio Menchaca to combine art in a compatible and creative way with engineering.
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