Design Researcher and Strategist talks about her work from collaborating with teams all over the world to showcasing new products at IFA in Berlin

Daniela Chuecos Profile Pic.png

Daniela Chuecos first came to Milan to study service design after five years studying industrial design in her native Venezuela, but as with many who come to the Italian fashion capital, Daniela fell in love with the city and wished to stay after her course was finished.

Despite initially studying industrial and service design, Daniela found herself gravitating towards working on digital services where she stayed for a number of years. She was not sure if she would ever work in the field she originally studied for, but then an opportunity came along at the Midea RAC design team at the Midea Milan Design Center (MMDC).

One of the concerns that many people have when considering to join a large organization is that if they do so they will become just a cog in a machine where they only have the chance to work on one small part of a project and never get to see the final result.


As Midea Group is a Fortune 500 company that employees over 166,000 people worldwide, it’s understandable that Daniela would have this concern too. When she joined MMDC, however, she found the environment in the office much more like that of an exciting new start-up.


“I’m responsible for the research and strategy development for our air conditioner products and a big part of my job is connecting with every kind of department from sales to marketing to R&D colleagues. So that allows me to have a 360-degree view of our projects. That sense of familiarity reminds me of a start-up,” introduces Daniela.


The Midea RAC Design team worked together on the PortaSplit air conditioner with the R&D teams both in the Midea Germany Research Center (MGRC) and at HQ. Meetings with the other teams would happen over video and sometimes Daniela did not even know what her colleagues looked like.


“We have what we call ‘Red Zones’ in R&D and when colleagues are in these zones, they cannot use their camera. So, when we held a video meeting, our colleagues at HQ were unable to turn on their cameras and we didn’t know what they looked like,” explains Daniela.


Despite not being able to see each other in person or even see each other’s faces, the teams in Milan, Stuttgart, and HQ worked together to develop the air conditioner. Their hard work culminated in the presentation of the PortaSplit at IFA 2023. Although Daniela is keen to stress that her role was a support role, she remembers what it was like to see the product up there at Europe’s biggest tech show. “Even though I didn’t design the product myself, knowing that I contributed insights and inputs into the project made it very cool when I saw the PortaSplit at IFA."


After they had finished work on the PortaSplit, Daniela and her team were able to travel to HQ and finally meet their mysterious R&D colleagues. “We visited HQ in May and everyone was really welcoming to us. We went out for dinner every evening with the engineers and the designers. It was very nice to finally put a face to the names from our meetings and getting to know them in person,” recalls Daniela.


Since that trip, Daniela feels all the R&D colleagues are working together even better than before. She may have only been in Midea RAC Design team for over one year so far, but she’s already seen enough to make her optimistic for the future. When you consider that Daniela is living in the heart of one of the world’s fashion capitals helping to develop cutting-edge products for a Fortune 500 company, it’s not hard to see why she holds such optimism.