Meet our interns – Walltopia’s summer internship program 2019, part II

This year we organized our summer internship program for the third time. We had tons of great candidates and it wasn’t an easy task to select the best 10 of them and welcome them in our teams.

It’s been a pleasure to involve them in the “real” work and see them learn and progress. For their time being in the company, they have accepted every challenge we give them.

We decided to ask them about their experience so far and what they’ve learned. Here is what the interns in the Architecture and Design department shared:









Kendall Mann, intern at the Architecture and Design department

How did you get to know about Walltopia?

When I walked into my first climbing gym, I was in awe of the construction and architecture of the walls. I noticed the painted Walltopia seal and instantly knew I wanted to be involved with this company’s design process.

At what point did you decide you want to apply for the internship?

I have two primary passions, or obsessions, in my life: climbing and architecture. Walltopia works at the ideal intersection of these disciplines while simultaneously striving for constant innovation. Knowing I wanted to be involved from the moment I started climbing, I applied for an internship as soon as I discovered the opportunity.

You come all the way from Los Angeles. What was your drive to travel so far for an internship?

Passionate about travel and adventure, I was excited to explore the new surroundings of Sofia, Bulgaria and work for a company that I greatly admire and respect. Designing the architecture of climbing is the most exciting field I could be contributing to, especially at its current time of industry growth.

Tell us about the department you work in.

Consistently flooded with projects and tasks, the architecture and design department for climbing walls is always exciting. Whether I am fine tuning structures or designing walls, the opportunity to visualize climbing on the final product is a dream. Thriving as the leading international company for climbing walls, I also appreciate the ability to work on such a diverse portfolio of facilities. With projects from Switzerland to Belgium to the United States, I am so grateful to be involved with this myriad of diversity.

What is the most interesting project you’ve worked on so far?

I was told to not talk about this one so I will be vague, but working on a project that will be built is an insane feeling. It is super interesting to work on the beginning sketches of a project and also the final tweaking of designs. Oh, and there was this one giant facility I got the opportunity to work on for a bit. I couldn’t stop smiling at my computer screen looking at this thing; outside bouldering and climbing that wrapped around to the interior, some massive overhangs in the interior, and an entire wall specifically for traversing. One of the most magnificent projects, next to Innsbruck of course.

And what was your biggest challenge to this point?

Once the opportunity of working in Sofia, Bulgaria became a reality, I felt a bit uncomfortable realizing I would actually be traveling over 6,000 miles alone to work for a company I dreamed of working for. Being here is a combination of everything I have ever wanted; adventure, climbing, design, architecture, and travel. I guess mentally it was a lot to commit to, but the fact that I had no doubts about what I wanted made it easier to keep looking forward.


What is the most useful thing you’ve learned?

When climbing at Walltopia gyms in the past, I had a plethora of design and construction questions that I was innately curious about. Learning about Walltopia’s standards and process of conceptual design is incredibly fascinating and useful to me. When I go back home and continue to climb, I will notice all of these subtleties and details within the walls.

How do you find living and working in Sofia?

Sofia is a very special city. From gorgeous mountains to incredible brutalist architecture, Bulgaria has so much to see and experience. Every morning I walk past a giant abandoned building and then into Walltopia’s haven of glass and steel. I couldn’t imagine a more ideal working and living environment.

Favorite Bulgarian word you learned?

Наздраве [Nazdrave] — diction and connotation, both great.

Share a cool moment from the day-to-day work at the office.

Toma, the Head of Design and Architecture, took some colleagues and I down to the walls and showed us some really interesting design features such as the minimum angles of panels and the maximum number of panel connections. Behind the LED walls is a mass of steel and wood and wires and lights and boxes and holds and it is otherworldly in the best possible way. I find this stuff absolutely fascinating and it will forever change my perspective of climbing.

What would you advise people who are considering an internship at Walltopia?

The company is focused on adventure. Not only as a sport but also in terms of the projects they take on and the initiative they expect. I think you have to appreciate this attitude in order to appreciate the job.


Vasilena Kostova, intern at Architecture department

How did you find out about Walltopia?

The Walltopia building is one of the most interesting ones in Sofia, regarding architecture. Passing through the boulevard one cannot help but notice the unique presence in the urban environment. Subsequently, I researched the company on the Internet and it turned out that it impresses not only with its building but also with large-scale projects around the world.

What inspired you to apply for the summer internship program?

The unconventional application of Architecture in fields other than building design.

Did Walltopia meet your expectations?

From my short experience in Walltopia with a selection of the employees, team formation and work, attitude towards the interns, meetings with the managers, my expectations of a company with up to date structure and management, being a leader in its field, are fully met.

Tell us a little bit more about your department.

The department I am in is Architecture &Design. My work there requires communication and cooperation not only with colleagues from my department but also with those in Engineering and Sales, so that the wishes of the customers are granted and timely executed. Everyone is extremely positive and helpful and it is a pleasure to work with a team like this. The tasks can vary, which provokes creativity, constant researching and learning new things so that you can contribute to results that are effective and of high quality.

Which of Walltopia’s products do you like most? Why?

All of the Adventure products are interesting, yet Fun Walls caught my attention. Climbing engages not only the body, but it also triggers strategical thinking. The ability to implement electrical installations for various purposes, create routes with some difficulty and tasks, diversify the holds and the appearance of the walls makes Fun Walls even more intriguing to the children.

What is the most interesting task you’ve been given so far?

The development of a conceptual solution for a shopping mall in Texas, USA. The area is close to a carting track and trampolines. The project includes a Rollglider, whose trajectory had to be taken into consideration due to the area, a Ninja Course and Ropes Course combined into one. The case was interesting because it required the installation of different attractions in a relatively small area, and at the same time meeting the criteria for each one and reaching an effective solution, that meets the client’s expectations.

And what is the most useful thing you’ve learned so far?

With perseverance and willingness to learn you can achieve anything.

Tell us about an exciting experience throughout the internship so far.

Climbing in the gym with colleagues is great and energizing exercise after the workday.

How did you find climbing as a sport?

Before joining Walltopia I’ve never been to a climbing gym. After tried I really liked it. At first glance it is scary, but after overcoming the first 3.5m, you aim for the top.

What advice would you give to those considering an internship at Walltopia?

If you like atypical things, want to make progress and realize your ideas then Walltopia is your place.


Petar Iliev, Intern at Architecture department Climbing Walls

How did you find out about Walltopia?

I found out about Walltopia when I got hooked on climbing. Looking for climbing gyms and climbing courses, I came across Collider Activity Center and this is when I discovered Walltopia and its activity.

What inspired you to apply for the summer internship program?

On the Open Doors Day for students from the University of Architecture, Civil Eng. and Geodesy we heard about Walltopia’s projects and the processes involved. I liked the idea of combining my passion for climbing and adventures with what I study – namely Architecture.

Did Walltopia meet your expectations?

I try to have no expectations in life, rather to be ready for anything, regardless Walltopia maintains a high standard in every way.

Tell us a little bit more about your department.

I am in the climbing wall Design department. I haven’t met everyone in the department yet, but overall the team seems close and people help each other. The work is interesting, creative and definitely diverse.

Which of Walltopias products do you like mostWhy?

Rocktopia manufactures climbing walls with natural embossed forms through casts of real rock formations. This way indoor climbing mimics rock climbing. I find the whole process of manufacturing the product interesting.

What is the most interesting task you’ve been given so far?

Climbing gym with a half-level – high walls, using the whole height of the buildings and the half-level comprised of boulders. There are also training zones and halls for yoga.

And what is the most useful thing you’ve learned so far?

I learned that there is a big difference between actual design and the tasks we are given at university studying architecture.

Tell us about an exciting experience throughout the internship so far.

I enjoy meeting new people, people from other countries and cultures, we get to know each other and that’s how I develop not only in my work knowledge but as a person as well.

How did you find climbing as a sport?

I climb for a year and a half now, excluding my past experience climbing trees and buildings as a child. I quite like it, because it trains endurance and concentration, builds discipline and responsibility, while at the same time you relax and have fun.

What advice would you give to those considering an internship at Walltopia?

I would advise them to try, because at Walltopia there’s a lot to learn, and you get to learn it from people that are good at what they do. Most people regret the things they’ve never tried, rather than for those that they have. If you have the attitude to learn in every situation, then you never lose.

If you’re interested to read the rest of the intern’s stories, check out part I or part III.

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