WLP32 Design Engineering with Cinter

Today's episode is dedicated to Cinter, a creative design and engineering company and consultancy, based in North London. We talk about why they've designed one of their latest products, XYZ, the importance of building a community around their business and how they work together.

00:30 Pilar introduces Cinter and this episode. (Script below.)

07:20 Welcome to Cinter's offices. Klayton, Charlotte and Chris tell us about what they do, who they work with and a bit of their history.

11:50 XYZ, one of their products, "an exciting construction experience taking the world of play to another level." Find out more on www.xyzbuilds.com/

18:20 Chris talks about the packaging design for Julie's Gin.

20:25 How Cinter uses 3D printing to help them "get to a design quicker".

23:05 Cinter's connection to 3DHubs.

26:30 Cinter's educational programme.

31:30 How Chris, Charlotte and Klayton work together.


"We work in very close proximity to each other. You can call that uncomfortably close or you could call that just the right proximity for perfect interaction."


Pilar's script for the introduction.

For the interview that makes up most of the podcast, I took my portable mic and went over to the offices of Cinter, a creative design and engineering company based in the cript of a church in North London. It felt really unusual going there, because, for those of you who know London, Cinter is based two minutes away from Highbury and Islington tube station, which is a really busy station next to quite a busy high street. But to go to the Cinter offices, you need to step onto the grounds of a church, and there is a big park so suddenly, everything goes quiet, you can hear the birds… you’re transported somewhere else, really interesting. I did record a bit while I was waiting for Charlotte, one of Cinter’s co-founders to come and get me because I couldn’t find the entrance, but I think I paused the recorder or something like that because the file just wasn’t there when I came to edit it. I’d done a little piece saying how wonderfully quiet it all was and how I’d got a bit lost and couldn’t find the entrance, so you’re not missing much.

Anyway, in this episode I talk to Klayton, Chris and Charlotte, who all work at the Cinter office, in very close proximity, like Chris mentions near the end of the interview. It’s quite a change to go and meet a team that work close together after spending most of my time looking at the practice of virtual teams, and when you feel the chemistry in the room, well, there is a lot to be said for being lucky enough to find the right people to work with, who live nearby.

Other 21st century aspects I picked up are the importance for Cinter of building a community around their products, not just because if you can get your customers to advocate for you, then that’s really great but also because they can use that community to improve their products and to learn from their conversations. And I really thought that we are at a point where designers, artists, and really any of us who are putting stuff out there can talk directly to our customers – and how satisfying that can be. Even if the feedback is not great, at least we can get the feedback directly and see how we affect people directly. I think this is quite a new thing, especially when you consider getting feedback from people who are half way across the globe.

We also touch on how Cinter use 3d printing for prototyping, their role as Mayors of 3D Hubs and how they are involved in the Education field. Just a note here, there is some mention of STEM subjects and just clarifying that these are Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

Lastly, my favourite bit, they describe how they operate as a team of three co-founders, and I especially like what they do to make sure that they find time to do stuff that is important to them and not just stuff that is important for their clients, an important part of retaining playfulness and enjoyment at work.

If you are interested in 3D printing, episode 2 has a segment around 3D printing and if you’re interested in virtual teams, so the opposite of the kind of team we’re listening to today, then every other week (so last episode and next episode for example) I talk to Lisette Sutherland about different aspects of working in virtual teams.