I am Nikitaa Sivaakumar, an engineer turned designer. I have an undergraduate B.Tech degree in Civil Engineering from National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli (NIT-T), India and a graduate MFA Design degree from University of California, Davis (UC Davis), USA.
During my undergraduate days at engineering school, I realised I was interested in the three-dimensional visualisation of forms and structures in civil engineering. I love being hands-on and built suspension bridges out of pop-sickle sticks. It made a lot more sense for me to learn through 'making' rather than calculations on paper. I explored this interest more during my research internship at TU Braunschweig, Germany. I was part of the research group at the Institute for Structural Design and added Rhino 3D to my toolkit. During my free time, I modelled everything from a pringle chip to the logo of football club Werder Bremen on Rhino. I realised I wanted to switch gears to design (If you are interested in listening to the story of how I made the switch, check this talk).
My interest led me to UC Davis where I utilised two full years to explore and develop my skill set as a designer. I look up to Human Centered Design process as the philosophy I wish to stand by. I possess a varied skillset consisting of design thinking, rapid prototyping, 3D modelling, 3D printing, laser cutting, HTML, CSS, Web Design and the Adobe creative suite.
Currently, I am interested in developing low-cost products because adding a constraint on cost while still making a product fully-functional and aesthetically pleasing is challenging. Also, design is commonly perceived as a commodity of the rich. Through my works, I would like to challenge this notion and make design accessible to everybody.