From his desk at Louis Vuitton’s headquarters in Paris, Jonathan Barzel draws on his skills in architecture and design to make his own distinctive contribution to the famed fashion house.
The Master of Architecture and Master of Communication Design graduate has spent the past 10 months in Paris, designing and managing the construction of store concepts and interiors for Louis Vuitton in the Asia-Pacific region.
“I would be lying if I said I don’t feel lucky to be here,” Barzel says.
Among others, he has worked on Louis Vuitton store designs in China, Australia, the United States and South Korea.
A normal day on the job for Barzel could include sketch design, reviewing proposed plans, liaising with other Louis Vuitton departments including visual merchandising and graphic design, as well as local architects, store planners and manufacturers.
He says it’s particularly pleasing how architects are considered as artisan equals to Louis Vuitton’s renowned fashion creators within the business.
“To get a glimpse of the internal functions of this great fashion house on a daily basis, as well as contributing to a new vision for Louis Vuitton, is a sheer honour,” he says.
Barzel’s journey to Louis Vuitton started in Melbourne and has spanned three university degrees and two continents, but he has enjoyed his multi-disciplinary ride to Paris.
While undertaking a Master of Architecture at RMIT in 2010, he travelled to Paris for a one-year exchange in which he studied at the prestigious architecture school, Ecole Speciale d'Architecture.
While in Paris, he also worked under noted Italian architect Massimiliano Fuksas on the 10-storey, Archives Nationale de France precinct.
He then returned to Melbourne with a “new view of life”.
“I guess looking back now, I reached a point where I realised I needed to learn more,” he says.
So, he came back to RMIT and studied a Master of Communication Design.
“The Master combined my previous experiences and I worked on a variety of scales such as logo design, magazine layouts, residential concept designs, and web and furniture design,” Barzel says.
Peter Sørenson, Senior Lecturer in the School of Media and Communication, says Barzel showed a great depth of talent and a strong drive for success while studying at RMIT.
"To be employed at the head office of one of the world's most recognised brands is great recognition for that hard work and talent, and also the quality of the RMIT program," Sørenson says.
“Jonathan’s career is reflective of the diverse scope of employment opportunities graduates of the Master program are presented with upon graduation.”
Drawn to RMIT because of its learning and teaching culture, Barzel says the lecturers always treated their students as a pioneering generation in the field of design.
He says students aspiring to a successful career should not sell themselves short, but just sell themselves.
“Understand anything you do in life, no matter how small, differentiates you from others; be it your peers or future colleagues.”