Student Story: Laurenz Reichl, Global Innovation Design, 2017–
Laurenz Reichl came to the RCA having graduated with a degree in Communications Design. Laurenz is currently working on a system to help large groups make better decisions, to help benefit groups such as NGOs, universities, and political organisations.
When did you first hear about the RCA, and why did you decide to study here?
I was born in London when my dad studied here, so I've always known about the RCA. It was never my plan to come here – it just kind of happened. I knew I wanted to pursue design so I looked at a lot of universities, and I had this system of ranking them and Global Innovation Design Programme (GID) scored highest. The Programme is so open. I was looking for a master's degree that combined research, engineering, design, and philosophy, and here you can do whatever you want to do.
Can you describe what it’s like studying at the RCA?
It's super self-driven. You do your thing and take what you can get from all the things happening around the College. The atmosphere and the relationships with other students are some of the most valuable things. You talk to others about your work, their work and all of that feeds into what you do and who you are.
Have you been set any particular briefs that have had a significant impact on your practice?
Many of them, in different ways. I came here as curious graphic designer. I’m not quite sure where what am right now, but I love it. One great opportunity provided by GID is that it allocates half your time to develop your vision. I have explored the intersections of design, psychology, and behavioural economics. Now, I develop tools and strategies that harness technology to transparently support human decision-making.
What is the mixture of students like, and what are the benefits of being in an international community?
The Global Innovation Design Programme is structured so that you spend the first two terms in London, then the second two abroad, and the final two terms back in London. I went to Beijing and Singapore for a term each. I've learned a lot about different cultures and lifestyles, but the most interesting thing was how that helped me learn more about myself – how what I say and do affects other people. We're a diverse Programme: out of seventeen students, one is British. We have mechanical engineers, software engineers, graphic designers, biologists. Everyone has different approaches (to the same goal), which is so great and really boosts the potential of the entire cohort.
What have you found most rewarding about your time at the RCA?
It's been so great to have time just to focus on my work with all these resources that you can tap into. It's everything you could hope for. Suddenly, you can see what you are capable of, with the support of everyone here.
What are your plans for this year, and what do you intend to do after you graduate?
Right now, I'm working on a group-decision support system. Last year, I looked at individual decision-making in projects, ideas and concepts. Now, I'm looking at how do you organise larger groups? This can be applied to politics or NGOs or universities. Going forward, I'm looking to develop the ideas I've explored here while trying my luck founding start-ups back in Berlin.
Advice for student applying?
Be self-driven. Know what you want and what you're signing up for. It's absolutely worth it, but don't expect to be spoon-fed.