Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Yazan Hijazin (YH) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Yazan Hijazin by clicking here.
Interview with Yazan Hijazin at Tuesday 12th of June 2012
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?
YH: I vividly still remember that second week of Jan 2009, where I found myself jobless. This unfair incident has shattered life as I know it, and sent me in a deep internal soul searching journey. I meet a contractor friend over dinner and after she learned about my situation, her eyes sparkle with happiness and excitement that I was forced to leave the investment world, as being forced was the only way for me to leave, she said that she always saw me more of an artist, or let’s say a designer. Shocked to the reaction it got me thinking. 1.5 months down the road she introduces me to someone who just rented an outlet at Rainbow Street, here in Amman, in the first meeting to my surprise, I got the project! Funny when you know that my initial purpose was to prove to her that no one will take an investment banker seriously when it comes to design! During this one year experience I fell in love with furniture design while I was designing most of the outlet’s furniture pieces. I tapped on a passion that I long brushed away, it all came back to me, my marketing, branding, and designing skills, that I have long ignored. Then few days later I get the message clearer while listening to a very inspirational speech for Steve Jobs, during Stanford University Graduation ceremony, that I came across by pure coincidence, which made me surer that this path is actually mine. Nevertheless, and during my 10 years of progressive Asset Management experience, I have designed various items; dining table set at my parents, interiorly designed my flat, a large T.V. unit at my place, random interior accessories for friends and relatives, and many others. Actually, when I finished my high school, my first choice for a B.A. was Fashion Design, but my father’s convincing response at the time-1995- is that you will study fashion design and come back to work as a tailor! 17 years later I go back on track- Design is my thing. I am driven by passion and raw talent.
FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
YH: Anknownymous is a Jordanian Space Design Studio that specializes in bespoke furniture design, both periodic collections and project-based, Interior Accessories, and interior design services for Food and Beverage Industry. I am always looking for collaborations with other artists/designers/Architects as well as willing to design for other companies. The bigger the challenge the better.
FS: What is "design" for you?
YH: • Creating innovative details for a furniture piece is extremely tantalizing for me. • I love to design a concept F&B outlet, like a lounge, café, or a restaurant. • I like to design a solution for a problem.
FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
YH: I am not in favor of one material, platform or technology. I might be more inclined towards a unique blend of all.
FS: When do you feel the most creative?
YH: Two answers for this question: One would be when I receive a commission. What does that mean? It means the adrenaline rush that I get from the fact that I need to challenge myself and exceed my clients expectation infuses a rare level of creativity. Second would be when I am suffering from emotional imbalances; a state of mind that is not balanced, e.g. love, anger, happiness, or even depression!
FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
YH: If I am drawing lines I want them to be unique, sophisticated and original all at the same time but that’s not all. I adjust priorities as I see fit as innovation can be measured on various levels. One case would be when there is a problem and I design for a solution, the solution usually imposes certain limitation, whether on materials, functionality, or even cost. For example a spa owner asked me to brainstorm with her about a possible renovation of her spa, and when I saw that the current internal wooden pieces (cabinet, sink tables..etc) have worn out quickly because of the chemical substances of any spa, I immediately start thinking steel with unfinished look, so it doesn’t change appearance with time. While at the pedicure/manicure section I start thinking steel trolleys per employee gathering all her stuff in one movable space instead of other conventional ways that waste time and confuses the client. Designing for a solution, unleashes the entrepreneur in me! Another case when I am limited by the space. Or I want one space to be utilized with one object that has more than one function, an example of that would be a coffee table that I designed for the purpose of Trendsetters II exhibition beginning of this year, which you can pull two pieces out of it-part of the original table structure as side tables without the need for a bigger space. Regardless of what and why I am designing, I always want my end product to inspire the eye.
FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
YH: It’s a mix of feelings. I feel excited, hopeful, anxious, and inspired. Add to that a gradual increase of the frustration level while I am designing, whenever I feel that my lines are too hard to be executed with the local craftsmanship level in presence.
FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
FS: What makes a design successful?
YH: A combination of key factors and most of the time it depends on the product itself. To name a few; beauty of the design itself, materials, functionality, space utilization, providing a solution.
FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
YH: The amount of inspiration I get from seeing the design for the first time. Add to that the versatility of the design. I love to see a design that looks equally good regardless of the materials used to produce it.
FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
YH: I participated in Trendsetters II exhibition at Nabad Gallery in Amman-Jordan during December last year. I was the only furniture designer among seven well-known Jordanian artists that were asked to produce a 3d object with a function or for decorative purposes. I dream of having my first solo exhibition once I can find an angel investor/partner to finance the production of my first Anknownymous collection. I am currently in talks/search with/for some regional/international versatile manufacturers for that purpose.
FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
YH: I think corporate formalities can easily distract/deceive clients and therefore affect their selection process. To further explain my point; lessen from written communications and replace it with brain storming sessions with the shortlisted designers; the level of creativity can best be assessed in face to face meetings without previous preparations on the designer part. If a corporate requested a 10 year design experience as a minimum qualification as part of their selection criteria, then they have forgo great talent among many designers who don’t satisfy this condition. Be open to talent itself, some anonymous designer names might offer an irresistible innovation.
FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
YH: Many skills are required nowadays that I can mention some on the top of my head: Communication skills, wild imagination, multi-cultural exposure, and attention to details
FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
YH: Again it depends on the object/project itself. When it comes to furniture you can say each design goes through the following steps: 1- I start with hand sketching a concept, work on the initial design for a while until I feel the concept is complete. 2- I take the design further over a 3d model. 3- I start checking out multi finishes 4- I price and discuss with suppliers/manufacturers 5- Adjust design if necessary 6- I take some feedback from both a general and specific eye. 7- I start execution with full supervision. 8- Sometimes, I adjust the design based on the results of the first prototype 9- I pick related materials personally. 10- Continue to oversee the execution of the design until it’s completed. The above process takes around 2 months on average.
FS: What was your most important job experience?
YH: Each experience is different and unique; there is no routine in what I do, which keeps me charged most of the time. The best thing is when I am working with a new material or a product for the first time. BenchArk design experience was unique and challenging, a trio concept outlet; Bifröst was a self-discovery project.
FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
YH: My first Anknownymous furniture collection is ready in terms of design; even some prototypes have been done as well. The problem is the local craftsmanship level that cannot handle my designs. I am forced to go regional-Beirut or International-Italy. It’s a 12 piece collection that consists of a stunning dining table, a unique chair, a coffee table, a dining chair, a server/bar unit, 2 revolutionary sofas, and a piece of art with a seating function, and some other pieces that I would like to keep as a surprise! The most important thing is to find that investor that I have been looking for for a while now! I cant wait to see my collection alive!
FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
YH: I develop my designs on my own so far yet I am looking for unique and interesting collaborations. I think ideally it would be amazing if I can partner up with interior designers or architects in order to provide their projects with bespoke furniture that complete their vision and allow them to offer unique pieces for their clients. I would like to design for a furniture manufacturer and boutique hotels’ owners as well.
FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
YH: I do. I am venturing into steel now, I am in the process of creating multi-function small pieces that is of great added value. On the side I am experimenting with other chemical materials but its too early to talk about this.
FS: How can people contact you?
YH: People can contact me either on email: Yazan@aknownymous.com or mobile: +962777399502, Facebook is an option too!
FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
YH: I would like to thank A’ design Award team for their unique competition, sophisticated website, and most importantly their transparent methodology. It was an amazing experience, and yes I am extremely thankful for a beautiful Golden Trophy. I would like to think its only the beginning!
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