Spend any amount of time strolling through TUMO Studios’ creative space and you’ll spot a bicycle propped up against a wall. Why is that there? What’s the story behind it? And what on earth does a bicycle have to do with craft and design?
Well, in late summer of 2019, Swiss design engineer and cyclist Robin Lechevallier of Specialized Bicycles led a bicycle design and production atelier, with TUMO Studios students tasked to design and build a bicycle from the ground up according to the needs of One BIcycle Foundation (an organization that, among other goals, seeks to motivate young people to help impoverished students around the globe).
After getting a crash course in the professional design process, the students began to rotate roles — project manager, product manager, engineer, bike developer, and industrial designer — and worked closely to design a 3D prototype and liaise with welders at a local factory to build the final product. And in just three weeks, Robin and his young team were standing around the perfect ride.
Robin, an avid cyclist all his life, even managed to step out of Yerevan on the weekends, zipping around the rolling, verdant hills of Armenia as summer turned to fall, riding from Yerevan to take in the panoramic views of Amberd Fortress. Reflecting back on his time leading the TUMO Studios atelier, Robin remarked, “It was such a rich teaching experience for me, and I had a lot of fun working on this project with such a creative team!”
“I loved the whole process, especially how we all came together to rotate roles. It may have seemed like a pretty straightforward task, but working as a group on a product design project was just such good preparation for the future,” exclaimed Tatev Mkryan, one of the students on the team.
Fellow student Hovhannes Vardanyan echoed Tatev’s sentiments, replying “The project laid out a great foundation for teamwork, helping us come to consensus and how to figure out creative differences. And it also made me obsessed with bicycles!”
“It was an unforgettable time. Thanks to everyone who made it possible and everyone who made this experience so unique,” added Robin.