A Day In The Life of A Technical Engineer

At Quantum4, we offer strategic design partnerships to some of the world’s leading brands and retailers. Whether it is a brand refresh, new product launch or managing a complex tender programme, we work to deliver the best value for your company. From invention, design and prototype all the way through installation of the display equipment, our specialist team enables us to create a global reach. Yet, this wouldn’t be possible without our local team. 

We have created our ‘A Day in the Life’ series to provide an insight on how our team provides global results. 
Today, we take a look into a day in the life of one of our Technical Engineers, Iain Sells.

1. What is your role at Q4?

For me, it all starts with a brief. With any project, my involvement is to understand what the customer expects from finished furniture. How is it going to be used? What kind of environment is being created? What are the chosen materials and finishes? Basically, what are the practical requirements that need to work within the design aesthetic. It’s at this stage we also understand the budget the client has for the project, as this will often make a difference to how much compromise is necessary or acceptable.

We then move onto the ‘block models’- these are simplified 3D models created to serve two purposes. First, they are a chance to get to grips with the furniture and truly understand all of the practical implications that have been discussed. Second, they give us the opportunity to share our images with the client to highlight any issues and present proposed solutions in a way that gives the customer an indication of what the finished piece will look like.

Once prototypes have been made, it is then the client’s opportunity to see the furniture ‘in the flesh’ for the first time and to understand if it is delivering for them in the way they’d hoped. We will discuss any areas for improvement and note down any changes that need to be made before we move into production.

Before anything is produced in volume, we will take all of the notes from the prototype manufacture and presentation and implement all of the changes. Sometimes we may need to test for load and stability to fully ensure that the items are fit for purpose. There will often be a store trial before we are ready for this but once we are, we will produce the final, highly detailed, production drawings. 

2. What are you working on at the moment? 

At the moment, I’m working for a client on a sustainability project for a flagship store. It’s a slightly unusual brief in that we aren’t working directly with our own manufacturers, but instead, we’re producing drawings to help guide their manufacturers to meet the client’s expressed aims of achieving maximum sustainability for their store furniture. We are using our Quantum Zero software to assess the designs and confirm that their targets are met.

3. Are there any specific projects that have stood out for you/ especially proud of?

In 2019, I was responsible for overseeing the new Originals Collection scheme for Adidas. We were involved from an early stage, liaising with their design consultancy and from there followed a very tight timeline to deliver the concept in their London Oxford Street flagship store. We also worked closely with their team in China and their manufacturers to then deliver it to their Hongdae store in Seoul, South Korea and eventually have the concept ready to be presented at their trade show event in Chengdu, China. 

4. How does sustainability affect the way you design?   

‘Design for disassembly’ is something of a mantra at Quantum 4 and always at the forefront of our design approach. It’s fundamental to avoiding landfill and ensuring that materials can be separated and recycled wherever possible, making the most of every resource. 
6. What one headline about the retail industry would you like to see this year? 

Like everyone else in this pandemic year I’d just like to see “business as usual!” To see busy shops again around the world would help us all sleep easy.