Interview with Deniz Karasahin

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

Interview with Deniz Karasahin at Monday 11th of March 2013
Deniz Karasahin
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?
DK: When I think about it I didn’t have an epiphany about being a designer like most of my colleagues. I remember as a child I was always busy with building things for instance one of the oldest things I remember from my childhood is the Lego. Then in time this was replaced with model making; planes, ships and all sorts of models and of course these models became more and more complicated in time. Also when I was about thirteen I started taking ceramics classes and it was great. I did so many items, participated in to so many events and won some competitions as well. Because of things like these designing feels so natural to me now. But I decided being an industrial designer during the final year of high school because honestly that was the first time I heard I good description of industrial design.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
DK: It is called “dk design” and coming up with the name, I must admit it is not one of my most creative accomplishments but it serves right, because the company started as an online portfolio when I was a student and then in time it was transformed in to a design studio and now we are both giving design consultancy and working on our own set of products.

FS: What is "design" for you?
DK: What is design? Well I have seen books with similar titles, but I will do my best to explain what I perceive from design. As anyone would agree, we are a very interesting species and we did travel a long way from the savannas of Africa to the craters of the Moon and I believe that in essence we are not so different from the first ones out of Africa. But our lives changed so dramatically even in just last one hundred years, so this is where I believe design kicks in because people are constantly introduced to new things plus their needs are constantly changing and good design is what prevents us from getting alienated. It is like a way for our subconscious to accept new things without us even realizing it. In my perspective, if this acceptance process is easy or feels natural it is a good design.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
DK: I can’t say something like I love designing speakers and I don’t feel so enthusiastic when it comes to chairs. For me the degree of freedom that I have in a project is usually more important than what I am designing as long as it is a product.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
DK: My most favorite design is my hi-fi turntable (calliope) it was also my graduation project from university. Since then I have been working on it for four years now. At the moment I am about to finish the 4th prototype and I think I used literally everything I know about design, manufacturing technologies, mechanical vibrations, electronics, hi-fi really everything I know. I hope it is going to be one of those crazy timeless products in the end.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
DK: This is not a pleasant story, my first client was an “evil” American / Turkish company they were making very good and expensive cables for the hi-fi market and I designed what they called a hyper-resonance capsule/stand for them and since it was my first real project I supervised the production did everything I could in my power to assist the project without asking for any extras to the original “gentleman’s agreement” we had, plus I designed a tube amplifier and a couple of other things for this company. Long story short in the end the owner of the company tried to register my designs on his name and everything ended in a real disaster. Now I can say that it was a real eye opening experience for me.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
DK: I have a couple of favorites one of them is brass because it is easy to machine, easy to cast, has a nice sense of weight to volume ratio, feels warm, hundred percent recyclable and it is fantastic for elector plaiting. The other one is hard woods in general, perfect materials very warm, it feels so right to be surrounded with them, removable and each kind has a unique identity. I’ve always found fiber/polymer combinations very interesting and promising as well so enough with the materials. Regarding to technology I am very interested and curious about 3d printing technologies. I believe they are going to change our conventional way of production and also design by enabling mass customizable products.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
DK: It is not really when or where the only really important thing for me is focusing if I can focus when or where just disappears and the only thing I need is a quiet place and some decant music really helps, that is all I need.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
DK: Each project has its own needs but for my approach in general the form of a product and what that form signifies is very important.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
DK: Interestingly enough I don’t feel anything, it feels like I am in a trance of some kind. Of course I enjoy and live designing but it feels so strange when I am really concentrated I sort of lose my perception of time and space.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
DK: That is another strange feeling after all the 3d modeling, renders and mockups the final product always feels and looks a little bit better somehow a little bit refined it has some kind of another aura to it and of course they are mass produced objects, so seeing so many of the same thing is also an other interesting feeling because as a designer our focus is on the single one. It always brings a big smile to my face.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
DK: As individuals we share the exact same responsibilities as anyone else, but as professionals it is a completely deferent story because in a project our decisions good or bad are multiplied by hundreds, thousands or even millions, just like our responsibilities.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
DK: In my opinion 3d printing technologies holds the feature of industrial design, I believe in the feature these technologies will be very accessible and with their help most of the products we see will be realized in our very homes with a great deal of customization.

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?
DK: I do have a very complicated background even my parents have complicated backgrounds them self’s but to sum-up I am one quarters French, one quarters English, one quarters Turkish and the rest is mixed up with Scottish and Finnish. I was borne in Turkey but everyone in our family are rather keen about their languages and ways of living so I grew up in a big mixture of cultures. That is why I understand all of them but I don’t feel truly that I belong to any one of them. That might have an effect, in theory that should bring some sort of mixed European perspective but as I said I can’t tell at the moment

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
DK: In my opinion each designer is different from the other and each one has different capabilities but it is wrong to expect everything from the same individual. It is important for a company to understand this and select a designer by looking at his/her portfolio because that is the only way of understanding one’s capabilities as a designer.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
DK: I believe it is not so different from what I think everyone else is doing, all the sketching and mockups and 3d modeling but I think at the very beginning just after receiving the brief I spend a lot of time for deeply understanding the problem and really think about the semiotics then I start sketching.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
DK: Five favorite items let me think, One of my all-time favorites is was my great grandmother’s silver teapot probably from the end of the 19th century sort of pumpkin like shaped very curvy, excellent craftsmanship very art nouveau. I sometimes just find myself looking at it. I have a scaled model of a 1937 Auto Union (Audi) Type C Streamline that is another very unique organic and of course ambitious approach to a car and I love it. There is a 1890’s made Longines pocket watch that I really like remarkable product incredibly complicated at the inside, very clean and pure at body just wonderful I have been working on renovating an old Peugeot road bike from early 70s and the more I spend time working on it the more I like it full of little details so that is another one, Finally there is a 3d metal printed, ridiculously complicated paper weight/object I like it because it really symbolizes the future of production.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
DK: I am not the right person for this question I am 26 at the moment and I think I have to live another 26 years to be able to answer this question.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
DK: I think the most important skill is observation. To be able to see what is right, wrong or needed in my opinion makes all the difference.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
DK: Interesting question in fact this is the first time I am thinking about it and the answer is all the time I sort of let the project run its course. That means if there is work for an hour I work for an hour (on daily basis) and there is work for 20 hours I work for 20 hours I sort of let the project consume me and once the project is finished then I go on with my life.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
DK: During a project it is always the same “How are we going to produce this thing?” and that is because I really love playing with different forms and they generally tend to be at the limits of conventional production techniques.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
DK: Honestly I love working with things that I can use and or would like to buy in my daily life at the end of the project, basically consumer products so not things like vending machines for instance

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
DK: Hope fully you are going to see a lot more of me in the feature with interesting products.

FS: How can people contact you?
DK: E-mail me it’s the easiest and I am very responsive to it, will do the trick.

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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