Meet Amaia Aranzabal, design and engineering graduate and Quadpack trend expert, who is carving her own path as she follows her passion for ‘coolhunting’
Imagine a fragrance accessory that is both an aromatherapy device and a bold fashion statement. Too futuristic and conceptual? Perhaps – but this product exists, has a name and a creator: ‘NI’ was developed in 2018 by designer Amaia Aranzabal as a final-year project at the prestigious Elisava design and engineering school in Barcelona, Spain. The challenge for that year’s graduating class had been set by Quadpack, partnering with Elisava for the first time. The product was so impactful that it had its development rights acquired by Quadpack and Amaia joined the company the same year as an intern in the design team.
“NI was about recovering Millennials’ lost relationship with fragrance, a challenge that the industry was facing at the time. I was excited about Quadpack’s interest in my project, especially because it was more of an accessory than a pack,” she explains.
After a year at Quadpack’s UK office, she was offered a permanent contract, becoming part of the design team until 2021, when she joined the newly-created Market Insights department. Amaia is passionate about her professional challenges and the dynamism of her new position, in which she tracks, interprets and distils trends to guide new product development. “It’s great to see how my career has evolved from design and ideation to curation. While I have become more curious about trends and ‘coolhunting’, Quadpack has given me space and autonomy to develop these interests,” she says.
Just like with ‘NI’, her work at Quadpack is focused on final user needs. “Who are they?” and “What are their current and future needs?” are some of the questions she poses herself before every project. And, although design is not on her job description anymore, Amaia’s work is deeply influenced by it: materials, aesthetics and usability are key elements in her research.
Recently, she was part of the Quadpack review team at Elisava’s 2021 degree project presentation, helping evaluate and assess students who are now in the same position as she was a few years ago. “I could empathise with them since I understand the whole process they went through,” she says.
As Amaia’s career evolves, so Quadpack has learned and grown from young and innovative minds such as hers. Quadpack’s desire to make a positive impact affects not only students and young designers, but also the industry as a whole, as it fosters an environment in which new creative thought can develop into the sustainable solutions of tomorrow.