I recently had the pleasure of talking to Francois Quentin, designer and partner of the FashionLab by Dassault Systèmes and Thierry Rouf, director of FashionLab Incubation Projects Research.
FashionLab is a technology incubator within Dassault Systèmes in France. It’s helping to drive innovation in the design of luxury products, including watches. We spoke to Francois Quentin, Designer and Partner of the FashionLab by Dassault Systèmes and Thierry Rouf, Director of FashionLab Incubation Projects about their work.
Q: What does it take to be a successful designer in the 21st century?
Francois Quentin: Some things never change. Great design comes from hard work and a continual desire to disrupt what we take for granted. It’s about refusing to accept boundaries and established ideas. What’s different today is that designers have technology to support their inspiration. I want technology to be like an extension of my body, something that helps me develop my ideas in a faster, more efficient way.
Q: Can you tell us about your latest project and how technology is supporting your work?
Francois Quentin: I’ve designed a luxury watch. The basic concept is that the display uses digits to show the minutes and hours rather than using a traditional clock face. It’s an innovative design in the watchmaking industry, being extremely legible and ergonomic at the same time. The actual mechanism powering the watch is very sophisticated. It has 514 moving components.
Q: What were some of the biggest challenges you encountered?
Thierry Rouf: The presentation of the watch at the global watch and jewelry show Baselworld had to be impactful. Even great photography and compelling sales copy wouldn’t be enough. We needed 3D imagery to get the power of the watch’s design across to audiences. Knowing that we had Dell in our corner to help us achieve our goals was a big bonus. Through the high performance of Dell Precision T7610 workstations, we gained the power to create the 3D imagery we needed. And with the addition of Alioscopy technology, we were able to deliver 3D viewing without glasses.
Q: What moments from the project stick in your mind?
Francois Quentin: Finding a solution that offered the power to drive the design process and then enable us to present the finished watch to the world. The great thing for us at FashionLab was that we had Dell workstations to help design and present the watch in 3D. I mean, showing the watch in a 3D video was a huge challenge. We got there thanks to our Dell Precision workstation technology powered by Intel® Xeon® processors. The power from the Dell workstation was about 20 times greater than what I’d seen from other desktop solutions – I loved it. [You can find more detail on their Precision workstation solution on TechPageOne]
Q: What does partnership mean to you?
Thierry Rouf: I think the partnership covers many things, not least when you’re talking about technology. While the power and performance of an IT solution is fundamental, a partnership is not built on hardware alone. A partnership is successful because it really is a partnership – people working together, supporting each other and understanding one another’s needs. For me, my day-to-day working relationship with Dell is a perfect example. Our account team knows how we work and how tight our deadlines can be. The team gets solutions to us quickly, and because it knows about our business it understands what technology we need. The people are very proactive. It’s great.
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