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Interview with Justas Silkauskas

Home > Designer Interviews > Justas Silkauskas

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

Interview with Justas Silkauskas at Tuesday 25th of February 2014
Justas Silkauskas
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?
JS: I am originally trained as an architect. And by now the architecture and interior design share half of my time with an industrial design. Being a designer has always been on my agenda and the architecture discipline in a sense covers it as well. It takes a great deal of time to fully realize your self as an architect in terms of practice and accumulation of experiences. Whilst working on architectural projects I like to imagine spaces and different conditions in more detail. That naturally lead to exploration in working on smaller objects. Self-realization and a feeling of achievement come faster in design industry and the whole process is more dynamic.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
JS: I work as a freelance and while developing my own works I act as independent designer. Currently working on a variety of private commissions and along side this I am developing my own product range.

FS: What is "design" for you?
JS: For me, design is a process that combines personal experience, knowledge of materials and techniques that enable you to translate a certain idea, mood and message in a best way possible. Design has to serve more than a pure function.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
JS: I like when the design is personal and when there is a story to be told. It does not really matter what the size of the project is or the environment you find yourself in until you find the right mix. There is a great contribution of the client, understanding their needs. I like to design when the process is dynamic.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
JS: I admire the designs of 60-80’ period. The technology was put forward and from my point of view everything was done more sincerely and with a user experience in mind. The more you learn, the harder it becomes to be specific.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
JS: First thing I designed was the tableware series “For One”. That was a natural accumulation of willingness to fulfil myself as a creator and personal experiences and observations of everyday living. An honest work.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
JS: I never exclude any materials from a working list. It becomes clear when design progresses what technology and material you need to adopt. But I do give a priority to basic materials which can be worked by hand: predominantly wood, metal and various clays. Otherwise, concentrating on the expression merely based on manufacturing technology can leave you with only good looking object.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
JS: It is subjective. I feel most creative when I see a good opportunity to create something special. You feel the click. It does not mean that I would postpone creative work just because of how I feel. I feel creative all the time- I have more than one book of ideas.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
JS: Rather than pure aesthetics, function is a primarily concern. Having said that, it is important to present this in a way that makes you interact with a design on different levels. The mood or style of expression of a particular piece is naturally given- it is like a shell. The main concentration is to make its performance impeccable. Other variables can be handled in the process.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
JS: Conceiving a design and formulating the idea is really exciting and uplifting. Working through different stages and detailing is a more subconscious process that can be enjoyed differently than direct emotions. When designing I feel useful in a greater sense, not only existing.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
JS: When design is realized you stop and review the process from start to finish – I let myself go to the beginning and relive the whole creation of the object from various vantage points – in this way, I learn from the experience. It is amazing – it definitely gives you more energy and opens up new perspectives.

FS: What makes a design successful?
JS: A Clear vision.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
JS: Composition and an appropriate material selection.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
JS: Designers hold much responsibility and control in environmental and social context. There is a great power of improving or degrading our home or work environment through particular design elements. Depending on the purpose of design, the materials should always be used in a respectful manner- in moderation. It is a complex part of design that involves a selection of materials and production means, and locations of production and retail.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
JS: More attention for the customer and personalization options. Higher quality of manufacture and materials. The way designers and companies communicate with their public will change to a more bespoke mode. And all of this because the customer will become more and more design- and quality aware. Flashy materials, complex manufacturing process or designer name will stop to make an impression. It is going to be all about conscious and target-orientated designs. This will definitely expand the industry.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
JS: I could say that human condition and complexity is the main drive. Great outdoors inspires me visually and at the same time provide me with the ideas. Not a direct translation. As with feelings, the way design is expressed, it can have a great effect on how people will grasp 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?
JS: It is definitely reductive. This way I can concentrate on translating idea through interaction and overall feeling trough one or combination of materials. Making a design exciting in an intimate way. I think these conditions frames and describe what I do but at the same time give me an infinite list of themes to work on.

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?
JS: I am currently based in London, UK. Living in a large city allows me to observe the colourfulness of the ways people from different backgrounds do things. It is a good means not to lose a contact with the reality and get the inspiration for work.

FS: How do you work with companies?
JS: It is always important to establish a clear brief and establish good working relationship. After that it is collaboration.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
JS: Make a good consideration on what can be delivered. Best conditions when the same vision is shared.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
JS: Design process is always an idea to paper’ first. Then you can distance yourself and evaluate. I sketch a lot. I like to start with a lot of energy and just outline all my thoughts. When the core idea starts taking shape, I work through various options. This part takes most of the time and it is most intense because I like to go in a greater detail. I use opportunities to evolve and not repeat myself. When final version emerges, I head straight to realization which implements all adjustments that depend on manufacturing and price point.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
JS: Bed, bowl, desk, door handle, bathtub.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
JS: A good question. It is a routine but without boundaries.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
JS: If you know that design is your element than do anything what is related to it regardless of the purpose. It will come to the fruition later. Have a clear vision and do an appropriate amount of research. And of course never lose faith in yourself and the others. I find that music has a great influence on my work and can help through the process.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
JS: I think same answer is good for both- you never know what is going to be next.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
JS: Being honest. This way you will never put yourself in a condition where you would never want to end up

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
JS: Time planning and self- assessment.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
JS: With any new project I would build up a base of references that constitutes in expansion of library. In terms of software you always have to stay competitive in a market so there are no boundaries in what is needed to learn or what systems need to be adopted- you cannot be modest here. I am always keen to visit workshops and try machinery myself and that gives me a deeper understanding of material and manufacturing. It plays a big part in selection of materials that I work with. And as a source of inspiration I use change of location strategy. When I distance myself from work or home environment I can think more loosely and intentionally.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
JS: You have to learn to multi-task- it is inevitable. Especially in design field you have to know how to juggle few things at the same time. If different projects have similar themes it helps to hold everything in line and continue progressing. And being involved in different projects gives you a pair of fresh eyes transiting from one to another. It helps to avoid mistakes and repeated work. When time is scarce, the pressure makes you more agile and focused. I like it.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
JS: Depends from one project to another. Some ideas can be outlined years ago and you return to them when the time is right. So that could take years. Usually I would say from couple of months to a year.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
JS: How do I feel? People know that most of the time I am preoccupied with projects and ideas so this question is mainly design industry related.

FS: What was your most important job experience?
JS: As a cornerstone I could mention my land-art project produced in 2007. The whole process- from the idea, to site finding, to the realisation and to the sense of achievement – has made me understand that all the future plans and endeavours are in my hands. This moment is crucial to any designer: to establish a philosophy that will move you forward. Every job experience is important when you are keen to conquer new areas. As long as you put your heart in everything you do, it can become an important and memorable experience when viewed from retrospective in future.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
JS: Most of the clientele are individuals seeking bespoke design solutions. My clients range from private individuals through to commercial organizations.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
JS: I prefer both- short term and dynamic, and long term complex projects. I do not have any particular preferences as long as it works for the client and me.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
JS: Expanding contact book and putting more designs into production. Expanding tableware line. My own manufacture workshop. Realizing myself in the fields of fashion and accessories, outdoor and soft furniture. To find some time for land-art and commissioned graphic art.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
JS: I work alone but always invite other discipline-related people to express their thoughts. I always consult with manufacturing specialists when developing projects, who can have a great impact on development. I collaborate.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
JS: My current priority is for a formal diner set from silver and glass. Sculptural and very much interactive- a fresh take on classical dining experience. Glass in tableware is currently underrated having in mind the technology. Next in line is outdoor object line concentrating on topic of manmade environment feel through freestanding pieces, to rethink human intervention needed for green public spaces.

FS: How can people contact you?
JS: All enquiries can be expressed via phone or email which both are provided at my webpage. www.justinsilke.com / info@justinsilke.com


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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