The Fall semester has officially begun and for this month’s student feature we are spotlighting Zachary Leong, a third-year Industrial Design student at Pratt Institute. This past summer Zachary studied in the Furniture Design Certificate Program at Pratt’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies. As a local to the tri-state area, Zachary was born in New York City and raised just across the Hudson River in the suburbs of New Jersey. Although he spent most of his life growing up in New Jersey, he considers both NYC and Jersey home. Currently Zachary lives in Brooklyn where he does everything from exploring the city to designing in the classroom with his girlfriend, a fellow Pratt student. Tune in below to learn more about Zachary’s journey as a Pratt student and his budding career in the art and design world.
Pratt SCPS: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Zachary Leong: I find myself looking to nature as my main source of inspiration. I’m fascinated by what evolution has brought for all sorts of plants and animals and I strive to look for ways to include biomimicry in my designs. If that doesn’t work, the least I’d like to accomplish is to spread my appreciation for nature with everyone else.
Pratt SCPS: What motivated you to pursue a career in art or design?
Zachary Leong: I spent my four years in high school specializing in computer science. However, that didn’t quite give me what I was looking for. I wanted to become more involved and hands-on with my work. The answer for me was industrial design. From there I quickly found out that I was able to materialize my ideas while still retaining the design aspect from computer programming. Anyone can learn to code or make a product, but designing robustly and with intent is what I’m after.
Pratt SCPS: What would you consider the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome in pursuing this aspiration?
Zachary Leong: My biggest challenge was learning to open myself up – open to trying new things, to finding new methods of building something, and to seeing the world from another point of view. The past year or so I’ve learned to be more outgoing, which is all it took really. One trip to the woodshop by myself led me to learn about all the tools available to me here at Pratt. One “hello” to the classmate sitting next to me showed me a whole different world than that of America. All I had to do was take the first step.
Pratt SCPS: What part of the Pratt experience do you reflect on the most? If you’re still a student what courses have been the most influential?
Zachary Leong: I’m an incoming Junior at Pratt Institute in the Industrial Design program and thinking back to this past year, I’d say that my design courses have been the most influential. They taught me about the practically limitless opportunities and resources that are available to all of us today. I would never have known about the processes that occur to make everything around me possible ranging from an iPhone to a table to a plastic spoon. Having this knowledge helps give me a sense of my potential in this ever-progressing industry.
Pratt SCPS: What advice do you have for creative professionals who desire to launch their own art and design careers or companies in the future?
Zachary Leong: I’d say that the best results can come from the most outrageous ideas. Inspiration is everywhere you look and no thought is too crazy to start off with. Don’t be too quick to dismiss an idea, because as long as you’re doing what you love and you keep putting one foot in front of the other, you’ll end up with something you’re proud of. And hopefully along the way you’ll inspire others to do the same.
To learn more about the Furniture Design Certificate Program visit the SCPS website.
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