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Interview with Olena Sydoruk

Home > Designer Interviews > Olena Sydoruk

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Olena Sydoruk (OS) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Olena Sydoruk by clicking here.

Interview with Olena Sydoruk at Wednesday 18th of May 2011
Olena Sydoruk
FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
OS: Born in Ukraine , I had a passion for art from a young age. Being raised in Soviet Union where we didn’t have much variety in clothing, furnishing, etc. we had to do lots of things by ourselves. Being a little girl I used to decorate my room with hand-made objects, cut my mother’s clothes and created my own style that differs from the other people. Later I learned how to knit and crochet, do hand and loom weaving and was making unique hand bags, clothes and accessories for all my friends. After attending Art School, graduating from Rivne State University and teaching Art in a middle school for several years, I immigrated to USA choosing to pursue a career in product design at CCS (College for Creative Studies) in Detroit, Michigan. My art and design work have been displayed in several exhibitions in Ukraine and the United States. I love to experiment with textures and forms and express myself in many media forms from drawing, painting, hand-weaving to product design.

FS: What is "design" for you?
OS: Design is a universal language that can be understood by the people all over the world.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
OS: I like to challenge myself working by on different kinds of products as the furniture, appliances, tools, soft goods, etc. Every project is unique and working on it you learn a lot about the subject and yourself.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
OS: My most favorite design is my first “real” design project, a Salt & Pepper Shaker, called “Emptiness”. It is a simple cylindrical set of two pieces. The top view refers to Yin’- Yang symbol. Two opposites as salt and pepper, black and white, etc. complement each other, interact with each other and create a third “object”- an image of the tree out of the negative space when two pieces are placed together.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
OS: In my art and design work I like to experiment with materials, creating custom techniques and textures. When I’m designing a product I play with the warm and cold materials, shiny and mate surfaces, chromatic and achromatic color pallet, lighting, textures, creating an eclectic mix of styles and functions.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
OS: When I don’t have time or opportunity to work on my own design ideas.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
OS: While designing a product I try to build a relationship, a relationship between myself as the designer and the product, the product and user, and the product and environment. Design is a balanced blend of form and function, without this combination the design is meaningless.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
OS: Excitement…Curiosity… Willing to learn, discover, experiment, play… You don’t know where it is going to take you or what you are going to get. It is like your baby that grows in your belly.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
OS: Satisfaction… Happiness…Your newborn baby that was a part of you and now lives its own life.

FS: What makes a design successful?
OS: Successful design is honest, intelligent and meaningful. It is a harmonious combination of functionality and style. “ Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent.” — Joe Sparano I think this quote illustrates the most the meaning of design to me.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
OS: The most important thing about design is how it relates to the people. If your design gives them a great experience, they will pay for it. It could be an aesthetic, ergonomic, functional, playful, meaningful and memorable experience. It must touch the people on many levels. In the words of Mieke Gerritzen, “Good design goes to heaven; bad design goes everywhere.”

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
OS: Don’t harm! Eco design, Sustainable design, Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle are the terms we hear every day and they are not meaningless. They are the terms we have to consider when designing our products. We are the designers that create the products and bring them to the world, so it is our responsibility to use environmentally friendly materials and technology.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
OS: My last group show was in Detroit, MI, USA. I would like to see my works exhibited worldwide.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
OS: My passion for art and design has been deeply influenced by the natural world, its harmonious balance of beauty and functionality. Nature is the never-ending source of inspiration. We can observe it, mimic it, play with it, laugh and cry with it.

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
OS: My style is a combination of aesthetical attraction and functionality. In my designs I play with organic lines and geometric forms. I love to create playful and fun designs that interact with the user by creating a physical and emotional experience with everyday objects. My approach is intuitive and sensory with concern for the way the user will experience the object and how the object adds value to the space.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
OS: In my life I experienced multiple changes by moving from place to place, from art to design, from studying to teaching and back to studying. I change and evolve all the time. Ups and downs in my life made me a stronger person and artist. I think that all my personal experiences fulfill and inspire me, influence and shape my work. Originally I am from Ukraine. I have been living in USA for 7 years, moving from state to state—Michigan, South Carolina, Ohio, with their unique atmosphere… and who knows what city and country is going to be next? I love to travel and meet the people and different cultures.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
OS: The skills and personality are key. Being a good designer is not enough, you have to fit in with the company, meet its needs and expectations, and be a good team player. The companies have to understand that the designers are very creative people and the usual working environment might not work for them. They have to create an atmosphere and space where the designers can do their most creative work and drive for excellence.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
OS: My design process varies depending on the project. Design is the observing the world around you plus your personal creativity. Good ideas come from everywhere and it is the designer’s job to see it, catch it and not let it go. From the first napkin scribble to the final product, your idea might change dramatically so you have to be open to the multiple solutions and experiment with the form and materials to see what works the best. I enjoy all the steps of the design process from the research, creation and developing the concepts to the final product.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
OS: Designers must have passion and integrity in what they do. It is an attitude, and a way of thinking. You have to live design. Design has a deeper meaning than just creating pretty things, pictures or forms. It goes not only in products, but in every aspect of our life.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
OS: The positive and negative is that you work 24/7. It is a never-ending process and takes all your time. It is always in your mind.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
OS: Don’t overwhelm and overwork the product. Simplicity and functionality are key. There are so many products on a market that are overcomplicated with functions that no one bothers to understand. I think the design must compliment your life, not stress you out.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
OS: -my Prisma pencils, set of markers, digital tools as Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, SketchbookPro, rendering programs like KeyShot, Photoview 360, etc., 3D modeling programs as Rhinoceros, SolidWorks; - art, design, home decorating magazines, biographical books, movies; -people, places, my eyes and hands.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
OS: It’s a 24/7 job. So… there is no way to manage it. No matter if you are working, studying, resting, having fun, traveling—it is always in your mind and your sketchbook.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
OS: It depends of the project. Some of them could be very quick, some of them are more time consuming and require more research as market and manufacturing, product testing, etc.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
OS: I am a student now; this is my last year at school. I am working with different design companies as an intern and freelance designer to get my experience and accomplish my goals. After graduating I hope to polish my skills at an international design company. Also, I would like to work as a freelancer. I want to see my designs in stores and homes.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
OS: I have many works in progress. Some of them are the furniture pieces like the customizable shelf, called AppleShelf, a chair with a detachable woven pattern, etc. Also I am working on kitchen appliances and tools, as the family of modular compact kitchen appliances “LUX”, minimalistic spherical teapot (no name yet), that brings unforgettable experience to a tea ceremony. I hope lots of my current and past projects will see the light in the near future.

FS: How can people contact you?
OS: Email: sydoruk.design@gmail.com Also my art and design work can be viewed on several websites such as Coroflot, Fine Art America and so on.


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

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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