|Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Renata Calka (RC) for A' Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Renata Calka by clicking here. Access more information about the award winning design EMOK MAMOKI here.
|Interview with Renata Calka at Sunday 22nd of April 2012
FS: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
RC: Inspiration for EMOK MAMOKI toy was an expression of happiness on little boy's face. It came when I was minding two lovely boys. Mark had only few teeth and laughed with mouth wide open. That inspired me to design a toy with a hole as a mouth. When I created the first toy, it was only one sided. My husband started to play with it and reversed it. It happened suddenly - something just clicked, we thought - why not to make another character on the other side of the toy...So, an idea on double sided toy came out as a result of pure fun.
FS: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
RC: I just wanted to make a gift for Mark on his first birthday.
FS: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
RC: MAMOKI designs have big potential on toys market. I hope that MAMOKI will gain attention of more people and that they will get possibility to be produced in series. That definitely would made them more available.
FS: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
RC: The idea for for the first toy came quickly. Since the beginning I knew that it should be full of colours and soft. Than some more research help me with the decision to make it organic. Later, for over a year, I worked with my husband only on the improvements and details.
FS: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
RC: In some way it was commissioned by Mark...
FS: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?
RC: I have been working on double sided toys since 2010. All of them were made at home in Ireland with special care and organic love. When they got popular I decided to send them into production to make them more accessible. Despite my best endeavours this project failed, so I started considering selling my ideas as a designer. I’m looking forward to this opportunity.
FS: What made you design this particular type of work?
RC: Will to express my imagination.
FS: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
RC: I create instinctively. There are all original designs. While I work, I share my ideas with my husband to get different point of view and than we both develop them. And, that process make our designs really unique.
FS: Who is the target customer for his design?
RC: I sold EMOK MAMOKI toys personally on the local market, also via Internet and on commission. So, I have good findings about my customers. They are mostly young people in the age between 18-25 looking for something original. Also, new parents in the age around 30, their families and friends, who are looking for a special gift for a child or a newborn baby. Also, people with ecological awareness, who appreciate organic value.
FS: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
RC: MAMOKI Double Sided Toy is an innovative design. There is no other toy that is reversible in this way. It is completely ours original idea which is at the cutting edge of the toy industry.
FS: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
RC: Name was quite hard issue for me as I really wanted it to be short and easy to say for children. I tested many names on children and carried out a survey. Part of MAMOKI’s name - MAMO- originate in Polish word 'mom', noun in the vocative.
FS: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
RC: This particular project is very emotional and I didn't use any specific design tools to create a toy by myself. Than, when I decided to send project to factory I prepared in electronic version.
FS: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
RC: That it is reversible with different characters on each side. Children are amazed when the toy get changed. It is also ecological toy. It’s made with organic fabrics, filled with hypoallergenic stuffing, with lavender and buckwheat husks filled heart. Each toy has a passport with name, unique toy’s number and birth (production) date attached. This toy is unique as works for child’s senses - touch (softness, different types of materials), vision (colour), smell (lavender heart), interaction and imagination (reversible).
FS: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
RC: I worked on this project with my husband. He helped me with technical solutions. He is an inventor and wood artist. We always share our projects ideas.
FS: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
RC: Technology is crucial to reduce production time and make MAMOKI designs more accessible. It would make them more accessible when produce in a series and divided into units.
FS: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
RC: As a result of my previously research and conclusion that ecological toy market is very small and limited, I decided to carry out a survey about organic value of a toy. I made it personally among my friends and customers. I conducted 50 surveys. I found out that people value that toy can be made from organic cotton, also hypoallergenic stuffing. Beside ecological value there is a lot of allergic children nowadays. Also, they appreciate softness and interactivity. That survey helped me to improve my designs.
FS: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
RC: Time which is need to make the toy is twice as long. Also, difficulties with getting proper stuffing and organic materials in real for my budget quantities.
FS: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
RC: I decided to share my idea with others. I’ve gained a great audience, but I am not able to produce my toys myself in a line. I thought that submitting into an international design competition could be an opportunity to find right company which would be interested in producing my designs.
FS: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
RC: During my work on this project I found myself very enterprising in many different directions, as a designer, producer, manager... but now I would prefer to carry out one of them, simply- designing.
FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
RC: Yes, I would like to thank you for reading this:)
A' Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.
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