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Interview with Five Am

Home > Designer Interviews > Five Am

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

Interview with Five Am at Friday 8th of March 2013
Five Am
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?
FA: We've both got our education in the School of Arts in Ghent, Belgium. After 3 years studying, we went our own way. Each of us searched for experience and creative growth in several interior and architect firms.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
FA: Design atelier Five AM was established in 2011 by interior designers Mathieu Bellens and Olivier Caluwier. Creating interiors and exhibition spaces for semi-public organisations and private companies, the Five AM portfolio also extends to product design. The studio’s aim is to generate a moment of astonishment in the process of realising an inspiring result. With simplicity as a starting point, each design needs to interact with the user and build up naturally until the story is complete.

FS: What is "design" for you?
FA: For us, design is what people use everyday. It's the designer' task to design an object,interior,... as user friendly as possible. Only the second stage is making it special.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
FA: We like to do semi-public interiors because there you can go further. In that kind of work we push ourselves to the limit in searching of new ways of communicating, working, living etc.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
FA: We are very inspired in House N designed by S.Fujimoto. The design erases the idea of enclosed spaces. Inside you can not determine if you are outside or inside.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
FA: Five AM's first task was to design a brainstorm space inside an office full of starting companies. It is made completely out of OSB panels. In the middle we've designed a unique seat that can be transformed to a big meeting table.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
FA: One word: natural materials. We dislike to use fake materials.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
FA: At 5:00 AM :)

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
FA: We like to put a lot of effort in our pre design. Sometimes it takes months to come to a well though design. But we are convinced if the pre design is flawless, the following steps are easier.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
FA: In every design we try to be astonished.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
FA: Same same. When it's finished we feel very proud. But when the users are happy to, thats the best compliment a designer could have.

FS: What makes a design successful?
FA: When the user is happy with it.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
FA: I think everybody got another opinion about good or bad. For myself I always think : should I like to use it ? To live in it ? ...

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
FA: It's our task to deliver a solution to a problem that the user has. We try to make the solution as simple (like : budget friendly) as possible.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
FA: I like the evolution that design is becoming more simple.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
FA: We are very inspired by the Japanese architects

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?
FA: Flexibile minimalism.

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?
FA: We live in Belgium, a country where every citizen loves to build. The con is that the Belgian people are very conservative and don't search for solutions elsewhere.

FS: How do you work with companies?
FA: We work together with various other companies, like architects, landscape architects, product designers, ... For every project we search for good partners, sometimes from a totally different work field.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
FA: We dislike the fact that companies don't really search for a designer, but actually think they are in a shopping mall. Most of the time they ask us for a (free) pre design before they make a decision. Such projects we try to avoid. We like that our client chooses for us and our thoughts, not because we are cheap,expensive,...

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
FA: Like we said, the pre design is the most important one. We start with searching similar projects trough the world. Sometimes we travel to another country to see how they interpret the same projects there.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
FA: I like my couch form Daniela Dipadova. A small company in Italy that makes couches by hand.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
FA: Our days are filled with fun :)

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
FA: In fact we are young designers. Every day we learn from the constructors, clients, firms etc. Now we are glad we spent 6 years in other offices to learn and develop our design thoughts.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
FA: The negative is that people sometimes don't know how much work there is needed to make a good design. The positive is that you are each day in the middle of creative people & atmoshphere.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
FA: Don't exaggerate.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
FA: Knowing where to stop and where to go on.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
FA: We use vectorworks and cinema 4d for our cad drawings. But we always start with the pencil and sketchbook.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
FA: For some brainstorms we use a close deadline. If we don't find anything till the deadline, we close the brainstorm and restart it on another date.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
FA: Depends on the object.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
FA: In what color should I paint my living room walls ?

FS: What was your most important job experience?
FA: Working abroad.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
FA: Mostly companies : drukta , formail , legio , Province West Flanders...

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
FA: I like the sketch fase, because its manual.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
FA: We like to do more projects abroad.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
FA: We work as a small team.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
FA: At the moment we are working on a very exciting office design. In May it will be on our website.

FS: How can people contact you?
FA: Trough mail ; question@fiveam.be or phone +32 478 69 11 16


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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