This week Nicely Made in China introduces a new subject: consumer electronics design. What was once thought to be not so important is now a growing business. In order to understand what’s going on, NMiC turned to Shenzhen-based Valérie Nomain. Chocolate design director and general manager accepted to share her thoughts on the matter with us.
Valérie, Chocolate is one of the 6000 design agencies – architecture, web and industrial – that have sprouted up in the last few years in the Shenzhen area in Guangdong province. How did you start?
A few years ago I was working in China for Alcatel mobile phones marketing department and my real passion was design. In 2006 I decided to follow that passion and the Chocolate agency was born at the end of that same year. Today 32 people now work for Chocolate. I am general manager and design director as well which means that I oversee everything that comes out of our studios. Tommy Fai, my business partner, is our sales director.
What kind of products are designed in Chocolate studios?
We are involved with three different types of products design: mobile phones, consumer electronics – MP3s, USB keys, hard drives – and home appliances: air purifiers, air conditioners, kitchen tools, rice cookers etc…Mobile phone are in my opinion the most difficult objects to design. Once you’ve really succeeded at designing a mobile phone I think you can turn your hand to almost any kind of product.
Who are your clients today?
In the home appliances sector we work for Midea, Airmate and Galanz. LG Innotek from Korea and Chinese brand T&W electronics for the USB, MP3, hard drive sector. Philips – we’ve made some very pretty and feminine mobile phones for them recently -, Huawei, Coship and Land Rover are our main clients for mobile phones. Land Rover for instance is releasing toward the end of the year a mobile phone we designed with their Defender specifically in mind.
What is the place of design in consumer electronics in China today?
In China design is nowadays becoming almost as important as the machine itself. The interest for good and innovative design from companies and consumers alike is here to stay and keeps growing. There’s now a real need for it and everybody understands the added value it represents for an appliance. The growing importance of industrial design is actually a good barometer to gauge China’s evolution.
What’s next for Chocolate?
Before the end of the year we will launch our own consumer electronics products range.
Where will we find these products?
To begin with they will be for sale in Europe and China.
3rd Floor, Building “Water”, Design Industrial Park, No.3838, Nanshan Road, Nanshan District, 518052
Tel: +86 755 8664 5306
Fax: +86 755 8664 5300
Mobile: +86 136 0254 1015