Coffee Time ☕

Julie Le Ster

Interview with our partner; Julie Le Ster from École de design Nantes Atlantique!

In this June issue of Coffee Time, we present École de design Nantes Atlantique (EDNA)!

A pioneer in addressing the shift in technological, societal and environmental contexts, this design school has a unique position, considering design as a strategic discipline at the service of a responsible and sustainable world.

EDNA’s Montreal studio is on the premises of Centech and welcomes around 20 new students each year to participate in the International Design Strategy program and earn their master’s degree. This is a unique training experience for future designers, who get to work with and for startups and companies in the Centech innovation ecosystem.

Could you start by telling us what life looks like for an EDNA student at Centech?


EDNA students come here for an 18-month master’s degree. It’s an atypical program in that every other week, students are in the classroom and the other week, they’re immersed in a company.


When you see them at 1000 Saint-Jacques Street (Centech’s main building), it’s for a week of class. Everything related to projects, training and seminars takes place inside EDNA’s exclusive space. No two days are alike (laughs)!


Occasionally, they have lecture days, but that’s rare. Most of the time, you’ll find them in a workshop in small groups, working as a team on a brief they may have been given by a professor or by clients in the context of a partnership.


My role is to support and guide students, supervisors and startups. I’m a bit like a conductor, ensuring fluidity and coordination at every level and in all aspects. ”

Can you tell us how the design program prepares students to enter the job market?


” They come here with their bachelor’s degree in design, and once they’re in Montreal, they’re trained to become designers ready for the job market. What makes the difference is the level of reflection, vision, projection and innovation that they can put into their projects. That’s the first step towards becoming a professional. They get to step back and take a comprehensive look at their design practices. That helps them identify key aspects and take into consideration the social, environmental, user-related, functionality and design issues. Working in a company gives them their first taste of post-student life and makes them more independent.



They’re also called upon to collaborate with various professions. That allows them to dive into a professional world outside their comfort zone and to work with other perspectives than a designer’s perspective. The advantage of being in Quebec and in the heart of Centech is that the startup teams trust them and give them with a lot of responsibility. That helps students build confidence as professionals and test out the market. Being paired up with an entrepreneur gives them a direct, inside look at how startups work. ”


What should startups at Centech know about the services available and the relationship between EDNA and Centech?

” They should be aware that design isn’t just about creating beautiful images. It’s first and foremost a field of innovation and creativity. Our students enter the job market with technical and human skills that are specific to working as a designer, such as empathy, listening skills, understanding and knowledge of the various issues and environments.


A designer’s profile complements the skill profiles in startups. Often, those working in startups have more technical backgrounds, such as in engineering. Combining technical skills and design skills creates a valuable symbiosis for successful projects that take into account both the technical aspects and the human/user aspects. Design entails thinking about the person who will use the solution in question, even before developing its aesthetics. ”






What aspect of working with students or at EDNA will you never get tired of?


I’m going to answer that question a little differently. What I love about my job is the fact that no two days are ever the same (laughs)! It doesn’t involve a repetitive task, but rather a multitude of tasks aimed at providing students with a complete educational and professional training experience. 


I find it incredibly rewarding to work with young people, future designers, senior professionals, startups and Centech. It creates an energy that I’ll never get tired of. The job requires a strong ability to adapt and understand my environment. My work is always about helping people, and my ultimate goal is to ensure that students have an outstanding professional, educational and personal experience, especially when it’s their first time abroad. Being able to guide all these people motivates me to get up in the morning! ”




For any questions about the EDNA’s Montreal studio, contact


Communications – Centech

Mélina Cyr St-André