Summer Interns reflection: Olivia and Taewoo

Olivia Labb and Taewoo Wang are recent graduates from Spatial Design at AUT. They were given a brief over summer of improving the Welcome Spaces and experience of the primary entrances of the hospital.

They developed a prototype for a more welcoming and engaging help station for the blue coat volunteers. They took the values work developed by one of the lab’s graphic designer, combined with some advice from the product designers and mixed with a little spatial thinking. Their prototype was successfully tested and received positive feedback for being more approachable to the public.


“The Lab was welcoming and everyone encouraged fresh and different ideas and approaches. The opportunity to develop projects with people of different design backgrounds and ways of thinking was really brilliant. I saw how an idea could go from okay to excellent when graphic, product and spatial designers all work together. For the first time we were challenged to think really pragmatically and I enjoyed this challenge” Olivia.

“The DHW Lab is a great learning space. The discussions I had with designers from varying backgrounds challenged my way of thinking and thus inspired me to constantly develop new ideas. Personally it was a great privilege to train myself to stay humble  when interacting with with co-workers and clients too” Taewoo.

We asked Olivia and Taewoo what advice they would give future students who are wanting to do a summer internship with us!

 “Come to the lab, ask questions, look through all the past work and see where there are threads you could pick up and weave into new projects. Connect with the other designers and work hard. There are exciting opportunities everywhere”  Olivia.

“Don't be too worried about the success of certain ideas or design appoaches. None of these concerns are real until you actually produce and find results. Whether they work or not, these steps all contribute in developing amazing ideas and eventually finding great solutions. Enjoy and have fun” Taewoo.


One of the key highlights of their experience at the lab was getting their desk out on level five entrance and seeing it in action. Olivia described this as a “magical moments when visitors would walk towards the directory, stare at it for a moment, make no sense of where and how they were going to get where they needed to go, and then as they began to walk away confused and unsure they would see the new help station right next to them in its new form and location. They all smiled in relief, asked for directions and then marched off greatly reassured. This making it one of the most satisfying and rewarding moments of Olivia and Taewoo’s time at the lab.