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Interview with Morgan McBratney

Home > Designer Interviews > Morgan McBratney

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

Interview with Morgan McBratney at Sunday 26th of June 2011
Morgan McBratney
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?
MM: I have most certainly always wanted to be an artist. When I went to art school at the Savannah College of Art and Design in 1997, I originally majored in Computer Art, specifically to become a 3D special effects artist for the major motion picture industry. My second year in college, I took an elective class in the Furniture Design department in metal machining. I had enjoyed building with my hands since very young age always tinkering around in my father’s garage so I thought that this class would be a lot of fun for numerous reasons. Little did I know how much I would come to enjoy it, so I took a second elective class for basic woodworking and design where I designed and built my first coffee table. It was over from there. I was hooked on furniture design.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
MM: Currently, I am the lead designer for a high end fashion plumbing company called D’Vontz based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA. We specialize in furniture bath vanities, natural stone and copper lavatories and high end plumbing fixtures.

FS: What is "design" for you?
MM: Design for me is truly an outlet for creating the crazy ideas that clutter my mind. I love creating visually stunning objects that make people simply say “Wow, I would have never thought of that.”

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
MM: Furniture, of course, but most specifically, coffee tables. Coffee tables are a fantastic furniture piece because they are always the center of attention in any interior. They are extremely functional, but when designed thoughtfully, are also a beautiful sculpture that can rival any piece of art that may be hanging on a wall. They become a conversation piece and can really set the tone for any room. Few furniture items can claim the same talent.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
MM: My favorite design of all time is Le Corbusier’s Chaise Lounge (LC-4). Though that may sound cliché, the amount of thought and design he put into that lounge is the stuff of legend. He researched the human ergonomic to such detail that he made that chaise, to this day, one of the most comfortable, but simple chairs of all time.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
MM: The first thing I designed for a corporation was a nested, bent wood magazine rack back in the late 1990’s. It was produced and sold through their furniture showroom in Dallas, Texas. I designed a number of other objects for them after that, but sadly, the company no longer exists today.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
MM: My favorite material is by far, metal. Not for the purpose of making entire pieces out of it, but for details within a larger piece. When machined properly and with the right finish applications, metal can set a piece of furniture off visually unlike any other material can. As far as technology goes, CNC machining is amazing to me. As detail oriented as I am, having the ability to produce parts and pieces to such accuracy and so repetitively is really a marvel of the modern age.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
MM: Late in the evening, at home on my patio with nothing but the sounds of nature and my thoughts.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
MM: It’s hard for me to say I focus on one over another. Every detail is incredibly important to the final experience of the design. After all, Charles Eames said it best, “The details are not the details. They make the Product.”

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
MM: When I am designing a piece that I feel is really coming together well I get overwhelmed with excitement which in turn begets a rabid intensity to achieve the final result. I can’t wait to see the finished idea, because it never really turns out exactly the way I had it envisioned in the first place.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
MM: Once a final idea is in place and the design has taken shape, the feeling of accomplishment for me is unmatched. I can get a little overly excited I think.

FS: What makes a design successful?
MM: Firstly, if I feel like I have created something unique and beautiful and secondly, if someone else feels the same way.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
MM: Continuity of line and form are definitely the first thing I look at. If these things are broken or don’t exist, a design doesn’t have a solid presence to me. Sloppy craftsmanship and quality are also a major deterrent. Why take the time to create something if you don’t want it presented physically to the same greatness of the idea?

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
MM: I really don’t take designing as seriously as a lot of people do. There is a time and place for these aspects, but each project has its own requirements. For my own personal work, I just design to make something that is great. If there are ways within the process of creation that are socially and environmentally conscious that can take place, I will always utilize them. In my experience, those concepts have, 99% of the time, only made an idea even better.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
MM: I have never had an exhibition of a body of work for myself. I’ve won awards and had my professional work exhibited in a multitude of industry shows, but never for just personal work. I am in talks with “Rising” gallery in Dallas, Texas to showcase some works, but nothing on a grand scale as of now. I would very much like to have a full body of work exhibited in the future though. All of the designing I have done to date has been for professional entities and clientele.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
MM: Honestly, I know this may sound primitive, but I just draw a line and that line turns to another and then another until something is created. I try not to get too in depth with inspiration and ideologies. Most of the time something as simple as the way a dried leaf on the ground is sitting at a particular moment can be my sole inspiration. I’ll look at it and say “Wow, that would make a great table base”.

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?
MM: I’ve always thought of my style as a blend of extreme modernism with traditional grace and form. I love modern design, but for me it has always lacked elegance with lines that say, the Nouveau or Rococo periods had. I like to find ways to blend the two.

FS: How do you work with companies?
MM: I have worked with companies on multiple levels. I have worked on commission, on salary, on a consultant level and a number of different others. Everything is dictated simply by the situation and needs of the individual company.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
MM: Do what you love, first and always, but always remember that there are a thousand different avenues to do it. Don’t disregard an opportunity without seeing if there is a way to bring what you love into it. This is what will gain you the experience you will need to make your life as a designer whole later. Life is a long time to design for. Odds are, it’s going to take a lot longer than you think to find your true success.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
MM: One of the great positives for me of being a designer is getting to be a dreamer. In that, you get to look at life a bit differently than a lot of people in the world. You get to see things that most people probably disregard and you get to make people happy with what you create. On the converse side, being a designer can very often be extremely frustrating when people don’t see the greatness in what you’re trying to achieve and it can become mind numbing trying to get your point across. It can be very trying and downright humbling at times.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
MM: Never steal an idea and give credit when someone gives you one.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
MM: I design utilizing Rhinocerous 3D and the Adobe Creative Suite. Beyond those, every project and design has it’s own set of tools that have to be used. It’s hard to itemize them all.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
MM: The total design process for a design is completely relative to the particular design. Sometimes all of the lines and details all just fall into place on the first run. Though this is rare, these usually turn out to be my best work. Other instances call for a lot more manipulation, engineering and plain, bone breaking thought to get where they need to go.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
MM: Where did you come up with that!?

FS: What was your most important job experience?
MM: After I graduated from college, I worked with a design/build architect named Chris Norman from Savannah, Georgia, USA who founded his own company Synthesis Design Lab which specializes in custom interiors for mostly private clientele. I partnered with Chris and between the two of us not only designed, but constructed all of our own work. I learned more about design, fabrication, construction and hard work in a shorter period of time than with any project, job or client I’ve ever worked with.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
MM: Designing and fabricating furniture. It’s what I fell in love with first and that love for it has never faded even though I may have worked in many different design categories in all of my experiences.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
MM: I always keep my mind and my doors open to opportunity. Nothing is finite in this life. I can almost guarantee though that I will never do anything that doesn’t involve design or furniture to some capacity until the end of my days. It has been my gift from God and I plan to use it as best I can.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
MM: All of the above. Each project is unique and requires different talents and skill sets.

FS: How can people contact you?
MM: I can always be contacted through email at morganmcbratney@yahoo.com.

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
MM: Not at this time, but thank you for the opportunity to share some of my ideas. It has been a fantastic experience.


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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