How much do you know about how the packaging of your ice cream was made, or the benches at a nearby park? Meet Ali Sinan Ozturk, an Industrial Product Designer from Turkey. He has designed the everyday and novel items we rarely think about, from salt & pepper shakers to urinals. Most recently, he has been hard at work (and play) designing waterslides and structures for water parks! He spent some time with us to share his story with us.
Please tell me a little about your own background, and how that led you to become an industrial designer.
One day, I saw the production process of a CNC machine producing springs. That piqued my interest in manufacturing and design. This was a milestone in my life. At that time, I was studying business management, so I changed my plans and switched to design school. I enrolled at the TOBB University of Economics and Technology in the Industrial Design department. I completed graduate studies in four years. In the meantime, I gained a full year’s professional experience through joint education.
You have wide-ranging experience in the design of industrial products – from medical products to your current role in water slide design. What is the common thread of industrial product design that you enjoy most in these diverse projects?
As industrial designers, we seek out problems. If there’s none, we create problems and then solve them by designing a new product. This is a never-ending cycle. I like to be the problem-solver. It is exciting to try new forms, methods and materials to solve the problems and overcome constraints. If my approach or new method works, I become the happiest person in the world. But it is not easy to convince people to accept unusual designs with different methods or different materials. The challenge is to be firm in facing the usual approaches, because every different approach opens a new door and with it comes surprises, which also require new decisions at every step.
On a related note, how do you choose the projects you’d like to work on next?
I believe in working in different areas because new production methods and materials help me to develop and improve my career. I also push myself to try innovative approaches and unusual production methods with new design forms, all the while considering the project constraints. I always focus on optimizing our production methods and offering new experiences by thinking outside the box. I transform the existing or new project into a project that I want to work on. I am very lucky to be working in a very niche sector that’s focus is on innovation in product design. Here at Polin Waterparks, we are designing waterslides and water-play attractions with many features.
A key tenant of design, particularly for user experiences, is feedback and iteration. I imagine this could be difficult with such permanent structures, for an audience that can be hard to reach. What is your process for designing the best – the most fun, safe, and unique – water slides and parks?
According to the numbers and insights coming from the consumer research of our marketing department, and also the feedback we get from clients and our own experiences , we determine the important key points of the waterslide — the main features. For example, is it going to be a ride that is thrilling or more smooth? A family slide or racing slide? Multilane or a tunnel or an open slide or a combined fusion slide? We also consider the theme of the slide. Then, I am only limited by my imagination. That’s what I like about my job. Of course, we are always considering standards, too, like EN, ASTM, CSEI and, of course, our own Polin Waterparks Standards to ensure safety.
I work on new slide paths that have never been tried before and new slide experiences and also different manufacturing technologies and effects and technology-integrated waterslides. Going back to your question about iterations, yes, the design process is completely about iterations. Iterations are what bring your design to perfection.
Thank you for sharing your experiences with us, Ali! For more of Ali’s work, check out his portfolio here.