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My career story


 

Unlike the more typical and straightforward career path, my path is one with many side roads. Every couple of years something new caught my interest and caused me to switch my career hat once again. 

 

Looking at my personality, this comes as no surprise so I’ve come to find out. I’m that person that is interested in just about anything and who feels like missing out on a million other things each time I make a choice. I constantly need to challenge myself to keep things interesting, so that's what I've been doing over the years.

I started my (pre-) career as a pastry baker, exploring the world of food-business in the nightly hours during weekends and holidays. This helped me to pay for my tuition when I was studying to become a watchmaker, yes that is a legitimate profession! 

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During this 3-years course, I’ve learned all there is to learn about the meaning of time from a fine mechanics perspective. As we all know, the world of wrist watches and standing clocks has made way for digital technologies, making this an industry that’s on the brink of extinction.

 

 

 

 

So, I decided to try my luck as a construction worker where I learned all the do’s and don'ts when it comes to building houses and apartment buildings. I managed to keep the learning curve steep enough for roughly 3,5 years before that restless feeling returned to my inner self once again.

 

As I was wondering what to do next with my life, I bumped into an old fellow student of mine when I was in art school. She told me about her career as ceramist and urged me to have a look at the university curriculum where she graduated, as she thought it would be totally for me.

 

I decided to give it a shot and looked at the university’s website where I found out about the Industrial Design program. One week later I enrolled myself into the course and gave my employer my resignation. Talking about a life-changing encounter!!!

 

Once I graduated and got my masters in Industrial Design with honors, I decided to move to Munich to do an internship at a small but renowned Design Studio with clients suchs as Vodafone, Sonim Tech, BMW, Autoscout, Bosh-Siemens, Gaggenau, fissler, etc. 

 

Here I designed a variety of products across different industries like automotive, home heating appliances and control systems, medical devices, kitchen appliances, mobile devices and furniture. 

 

Throughout the years I worked in a number of different design fields relative to the specific projects, such as Graphic Design, UX Design, Product Design & Strategic Design. Untill,...it happened again… That feeling that I was missing something once again struck me...


 

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Moving back to my home and feeling a bit lost as to what would be the next chapter in my life, my best friend asked me if I would like to help him out with his newly founded interior decoration company. With nothing to lose, I just gave it a try and worked and learned with him for about two years, until the design jitters came back to alter my career path once more.

 

 

Now I’m responsible for product design and innovation in an international injection moulding company that has a core business in the packaging industry. Even though the learning curve is still steep and interesting, I also know that at one point, life will place me in front of a crossroad once again.

Although it is a bit stressful each time I’m at the crossroads, looking back at it now, I could not have wished for another career/life path. All the professions that I’ve done and the experiences I’ve had so far have shaped me into the designer/person that I am today. 

 

It enables me to quickly submerge myself into someone else's world and emphasize on a deeper level where I can find out more about those unexpressed needs and desires. This happens to be one of the most crucial skills of a designer.

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As a side gig, I'm also running Toucan Khamun which is an online business where I'm utilizing Strategic Design, Industrial Design, Graphic Design and my life long experiences to help others in reaching their goals.

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Recognition and awards

  • IF Award - Vodafone Fixed Line Design Language - 2017 - Munich

  • European Product Design Award - Vodafone Fixed Line Design Language - 2016 - Munich

  • Reddot Design Award winner - 2017 - Munich

  • German Design Award - 2018 - Munich

  • Honorable Mention category Thesis, OVAM Eco-design Awards - October 2013 - Mechelen

  • Rolex Award :Assembly & Fine Tuning - complex Chronograph watch - June 2005 - TNA-Antwerp

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Other than that, I just love the simple things in life. Reading a good book while sipping on a cup of tea, going for long walks in the woods, listening to the blackbirds when they start singing during early spring mornings or a nice long trip on the bicycle to discover new places.

 

All in all I try to reserve as much “me time” as possible throughout the day as this allows me to recharge my batteries (yes I’m a bit of a loner). Even though I love being by myself mostly, I really enjoy sharing time with my closest friends and family every now and then.

Who is Bert

 

As a person, I’m quite the average guy, but in terms of curiosity I really am the opposite. I just crave to continuously explore and try out new things in life. (entertaining myself is not a problem!) 

 

Expanding my horizons and adding new experiences to my skill set has become part of my life story. I guess that this is the reason why I ended up becoming a designer in the first place, as you kind of need to be a “jack of all trades” for this profession. 

 

When I’m not designing stuff, I’m usually getting my hands dirty while building or repairing things in and around the house. It’s fair to say that the workshop is my playground, after all, this is the place where I can transform my fantasies into something tangible to test things out.

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