The city by night China

China Studio

China Studio: L’École de design Nantes Atlantique in Shanghai

China Studio: L’École de design Nantes Atlantique in Shanghai

The China Studio, opened in 2008 in Qingdao, was the first permanent branch of L'École de design Nantes Atlantique to be created. In 2010, the studio moved to Shanghai to benefit from a larger network of companies and a bigger community of designers.

China Studio: an environment conducive to creation

With more than 14 million inhabitants (more than 26 million including its agglomeration), Shanghai is the most populated city in China. The "Venice of the East" is a strategic place, thanks to its dynamism and its ever-changing nature, and is a great place for observation and experimentation, allowing visitors to understand and appropriate the codes and customs of China. The city is known worldwide for its flourishing commercial activity and its cultural life: it is one of the major poles for technology, finance, transport, media, fashion...and of course design!

China city of light

The site: a dedicated studio within the Academy of Fine Arts at Shanghai University

Shanghai is a cosmopolitan and dynamic city. It is home to more than 160,000 foreign nationals from dozens of countries and five continents. While many of them are students, a good number of them work in large international companies. The cultural, technological and creative industries are very well represented. In addition to the installation of the China Studio of L'École de design Nantes Atlantique, the year 2010 also saw Shanghai:

  • organize the Universal Exhibition on the theme "A better city, a better life”,
  • join the UNESCO Creative Cities of Design network.

The city excels in the field of design, with thousands of agencies and institutions specializing in this activity, not to mention art organizations, cultural centers, museums, etc.

The China Studio of L'École de design Nantes Atlantique has set up its quarters in the building of the Academy of Fine Arts of Shanghai University, in the heart of the Sheng Park building complex. Close to the city center, the site is easily accessible, and catering facilities are available within walking distance of the Studio. The food is of high quality and very affordable. Shanghai also has excellent public transportation, and there are plenty of housing options. 

School of Fine Arts China2The Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts

The degree: International Design Strategy / China Studio Master’s program 

A unique two-year master's program specialized in International Design Strategy

This program leads to a 5-year design degree, approved by the Minister of Higher Education and Research, and confers the grade of Master.

Courses are taught in English; however, an introduction to Chinese language and culture is taught at the beginning of the first year to help students immerse themselves in their new environment.

The design specialties of each student are taken into account to better incorporate the Asian context. Within the framework of practical projects carried out in collaboration with partner companies, students form multidisciplinary teams in charge of working on real orders from local or regional clients.

Students will learn to better understand the Chinese market in order to decipher its uses and thus propose a coherent project, adapted to the target, with an anthropological approach to design.

A program oriented towards the world of business and entrepreneurship

This program is a springboard to an international design career. The first semester is dedicated to an internship as a junior designer in a company for a minimum of thirteen weeks. Then, throughout the program, the emphasis is on managing design projects, culminating in the end-of-studies project that synthesizes all the professional skills acquired. It can be carried out in the framework of collaborations with a company and/or research laboratories of a partner university. 

The end-of-studies internship takes place in a local or international organization (in China or elsewhere), and lasts from 16 weeks to 6 months. Depending on the student's professional project, this internship can also take place in a company set up by the student, or in a research laboratory.

5 good reasons to study design at the China Studio

L'École de design Nantes Atlantique offers students who have obtained a Bachelor's degree in design the opportunity to live a real immersion experience in China while completing 2 years of studies in its International Design Strategy Master's program. Here are 5 good reasons to pursue your studies at the China Studio:

  • China, a life experience

China is not just another country. In many ways, it is another world. The culture, the pace of life, the gastronomy, the human and professional relationships... Everything here is the polar opposite of what you might experience in France. During the two years of immersion in Shanghai, students are confronted on a daily basis with an environment that uproots all their points of reference

  • A super-sized version of interculturality

These two years spent in Shanghai are largely devoted to classes in the Studio and internship periods. But of course, they represent a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the country and to understand the Chinese culture and in particular the culture of Shanghai. Being surprised, discovering, learning to put things into perspective... all these things are part of everyday life in the Middle Kingdom. The reference points with which students arrive in Shanghai often go straight out the window on all levels: eating habits, the way of behaving when talking to someone, the codes and customs to adopt in the professional sphere, the relationship with time and people... This stage of deconstructing perceptions is essential to understanding Chinese society, its needs, its constraints and its expectations.

  • Learning about design in a privileged environment

Studying abroad means confronting the quality of French design with the complexity of the local context while preparing for an international career. In Shanghai, creativity is encouraged and innovative projects are valued. In addition to benefiting from excellent infrastructure, students have the opportunity to work alongside professionals with eclectic and international backgrounds, who are active members of the Shanghai scene and have a thorough knowledge of the Chinese reality.      

  • A French degree, a multicultural experience 

The program in Shanghai follows the same outline as the other master's programs at L'École de design Nantes Atlantique, and leads to the same diploma, the Master's Degree in Design, approved by the Ministry of Higher Education. The curriculum also includes specific seminars and workshops focused on the subject of interculturality: design and anthropology, Mandarin, multicultural projects with local partnerships... The end of studies projects thus reflect the questions on interculturality in which the students have immersed themselves for two years. They also teach young designers to function in the context of international teams, bringing together diverse profiles and nationalities.

  • A springboard to an international career

Working with cosmopolitan profiles on a daily basis for two years prepares China Studio students for an international career. The use of English during the courses gives another dimension to the learning process and opens up new perspectives, in particular the possibility of starting a career as a designer abroad, as is the case for the majority of the students who have followed the Studio's program. Shanghai's excessiveness allows for large-scale projects, aimed at a potentially gigantic market, led by young designers who quickly gain the confidence of their international employers or Chinese partners. 

China model workshopThe China Studio has its own permanent model workshop
Culture and food ChinaShanghai offers the opportunity for a true cross-cultural experience
Common space fine arts chinaThe China Studio benefits from the common spaces of the Academy of Fine Arts

Learn more about China Studio


Nathalie CIPRIAN - Director of the Master's Cycle

Ms Jia QUAN - Administrative Coordinator



Académie des Beaux-arts de l’Université de Shanghai 520, Zhenda road Baoshan District 200436 Shanghai P.R.C


The China Studio environment and facilities

The China Studio has a dedicated space within the Academy of Fine Arts of Shanghai University, in the heart of a recent building complex, itself dedicated to creative industries, and which offers many facilities (shops, restaurants, etc.). 

The complex is easily accessible from the center of Shanghai thanks to the city's reliable and efficient public transport service.

With an area of 300 m², the Studio includes:

  • two project rooms, 
  • a private living area, 
  • its own model workshop
  • offices. 

It also shares meeting rooms and a lounge area with the Academy of Fine Arts. 

Today, the China Studio is a real laboratory for exploring the theme of interculturality in design.

The teaching staff

China Studio's teaching team is composed of international profiles, teachers from local partner schools and professional designers.

Studio Partners

The China Studio's International Design Strategy master's program is based on close collaboration with the world of industry. This collaboration takes the form of collaborative projects, internships and the involvement of professional designers and lecturers from the most prestigious Chinese and international design companies and studios.

Our industrial partners in China, both local and international, collaborate with the Studio in the form of applied projects and the provision of lecturers and jury members. Thanks to their involvement, students benefit from numerous contacts for their internships and can carry out field projects, which give them the opportunity to work in teams on concrete subjects

The companies bring together all disciplines, from product design to interactive design, including space design and graphic design. The involvement of lecturers and consultants from the world of industry in this program is an asset compared to traditional courses.

In the second semester of each year of studies, companies play a mentoring role by sending professionals to supervise students' work and discuss their end-of-studies project with them; they also delegate guest speakers to go into various design-related issues in greater depth. In addition, throughout the year, qualified professional jurors help evaluate the students' work.

Partner companies of China Studio projects

Below are the partner companies with which China Studio has carried out projects since 2008:

  • Hisense (interior equipment – consumer market - in-house design service)
  • Groupe Shanghai Shentong Metro (Shanghai Subway Company)
  • GE Healthcare (medical equipment - in-house design service)
  • Kenwood (Japan) (electronics / communication)
  • Yangfeng Jonhson Controls (B2B retailer, automotive industry)
  • Malherbe Shanghai (retail design)
  • XL+/ Design affairs (product design agency - consumer electronics)
  • Naço Shanghai (international agency, architecture / interior design / graphic design / product design)
  • Groupe ADEO (retailer, DIY)
  • Goodbaby (childcare)
  • Kohler (sanitary equipment)
  • Decathlon (sports equipment)
  • ShanHua (equipment for the hotel industry)
  • Meters/Bonwe CH’IN (ready-to-wear and multi-products)
Companies that host interns

Since its creation, the China Studio has trained more than 250 graduates, who have been able to complete internships with numerous local, regional and international companies and agencies. Some of these host companies include:

  • Kohler (bathroom and kitchen fittings)
  • Naço (architecture / interior design / graphic design / product design)
  • PEGA (Groupe Asus) (computing / electronics / consumer products)
  • Atelier Forever (interior design / retail design / graphic design / product design)
  • Dedo Design (architecture / interior design)
  • Mooma Design (interior design / product design)
  • Orange Lab (telecommunications)
  • Point Tech (B2B retailer and manufacturer of city bikes)
  • CBI (marketing and design research)
  • Blackandgold (graphic design - mainly packaging, consumer market)
  • Sina Retail (retail design, specialist in the Chinese market)
  • KRT ((architecture / interior design / retail design)
  • Coordination ASIA (product design / interior design)
  • Progen Lab (interactive design)
  • Reign Design (games)
  • Groupe Ming (marketing / interactive design)
  • Trigger Studio (interior design)
  • EXH (interior design / architecture)
  • Cent Degrés Shanghai (interior design / retail design / graphic design / product design)
  • Creativoo (graphic design / interior design / product design)
  • Must Production (film production for cinema / events, etc.)
  • Nendo (Japanese designer, product design)
  • Home Lights (retail design factory, consumer products)
  • LOE Design (product design / interior design)
  • Mickael Young (limited edition product design / product design for the general public)
  • Virtuach (interactive design)
  • Lime 388 (retail design / product design)
Companies that support the China Studio

Here is a selection of companies that support the Studio by sending guest lecturers and/or jury members and that participate in the evaluation of the students' work during the program:

Updated on 07.11.23