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Interview with Alexander Zhukovsky

Home > Designer Interviews > Alexander Zhukovsky

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

Interview with Alexander Zhukovsky at Saturday 26th of April 2014
Alexander Zhukovsky
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?
AZ: When I was a little boy I always dream to be an artist or sculptor. I didn’t know about such profession as a designer. As soon as I graduated from secondary school, I immediately gone from my parents and enrolled in the College of Arts. I started studying painting, sculpture and woodcarving. But about three or four years later I understood that my approach to creativity not quite artistic, it became more and more logical, technical and even mathematical. And one year later I went to Ural State Academy of Architecture and Arts in Yekaterinburg and started studying industrial and product design.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
AZ: I founded my own design studio when I was five-year student in 2007. I had a lot of ideas, so I decided that implement my own ideas much more interesting that simple studying tasks. Today my studio consists of small team of professionals and we work in such different fields as medical equipment, transportation, furniture, sanitary ware and other consumer goods.

FS: What is "design" for you?
AZ: The definition of Design is always changing at my mind. I think that Design first of all is particular way of thinking.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
AZ: I like designing furniture and consumer goods. But I don’t like work in one field for a long time. I like changes.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
AZ: Today my favorite design is Metro. It’s furniture set that was designed for Ronbow, USA. But unfortunately I can’t tell more because this design not yet announced by client. I just can say that this Metro series is provocation. It is a game of words and meanings on the verge of metrosexual and metropolis. This is provocative form of facade, which is partially ajar what is generally accepted to hide.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
AZ: My first commercial design was an industrial LED-light.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
AZ: Oh, it’s very simple. My favorite material, platform and technology are paper and pen.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
AZ: I don’t know. It depends on many factors. But I believe in one good rule – to work well you should rest well.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
AZ: Always whatever I designing I concentrate on interaction between human and product. Such focus point can be ergonomics, function, material characteristics or something else. It depends on project’s goal.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
AZ: Anticipation.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
AZ: Satisfaction. Something likes a spiritual or mental orgasm.

FS: What makes a design successful?
AZ: Answering to this question, I can much talk about that the product can be successful even if design of this one is bad, and that the success of the product aside from the design depends on many factors ... All this is true! But in fact, things are even simpler. The people create successful design. People for who design are life, and not just a source of profit. They are able to fill the form and function with beauty and emotions. They infect us with his dreams. Such people can't lie, their design is honest.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
AZ: As says Dieter Rams - "Good design is as little design as possible." As for me one of the first criteria for evaluating the design is an emotion. I believe that is perfect when design perceived intuitively or emotionally, when design does not force us think when it’s not needed.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
AZ: Designer must be honest and, above all, he must be honest with himself. Designer must recognize that he undoubtedly has an impact both on society and on the environment. I think that the bad designer should make this impact at least beautiful. But a good designer should make this influence positive.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
AZ: Once when I was a student, professor asked the audience - when do you think the design will disappear? Someone said – when all people will become designers. Today, the word “design" is perhaps the most popular word in the world (not counting the "war" and "corruption"), and its popularity is growing. Nail design, hair design, food design and countless others "designs". Beautiful, comfortable, functional and qualitative thing it's something as granted. I think that “design” in traditional sense of the word may disappear in the near future. Instead of this should appear something that will denote the design of process, design of emotions, design of human behavior or design of behavior scenarios and even the design of culture.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
AZ: So far I personally haven't participated in exhibitions. But different companies (my clients) regularly participate in exhibitions with products that designed by myself. Up to this time I've been focused on study of the theory of design and on developing such complex projects as medical equipment, vehicles etc.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
AZ: My imagination, my dreams and goals, my students, travel, science, role models, and many more.

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?
AZ: During the five years I studied woodcarving and applied arts. I think it affected my approach to design. I pay great attention to details, to the properties of materials, to tactile sensations, to meaning of things. Maybe after a while this will form my own style.

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?
AZ: I live in the most beautiful city of the most multicultural country of the world, which has a richest cultural heritage. I live in St. Petersburg, Russia. Maybe it's weird, but my interest to the culture of my own country has increased many times when I started to work with companies from the U.S., China, and Europe. I realized that the deeper I know my own culture, the better I can understand someone else. I participate in ethnographic expeditions to the Far North. I explore the culture and way of life of indigenous peoples of the Russian North, studying native applied arts. All this inspires me and brings a lot of new ideas in my work. As for the pros and cons… Pros of work in Russia are that everything is just beginning here and here is a lot of work. But the downside is that everything is just beginning here and be the pioneer, not only honorable, but it's difficult as well.

FS: How do you work with companies?
AZ: Quite successful.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
AZ: I think that the companies know the answer to this question better than I.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
AZ: Mostly, my studio works with private companies which is clearly understand what they want and what is the place of design in their plans. This principle is very practical and allows us to avoid many problems in the future work. Although there are exceptions. All projects are very different. Everything depends on the complexity of the project. Sometimes we are developing a product from sketch to production. Sometimes we control any stage of product development. Sometimes we just provide a design consultancy. Sometimes we are developing a concept and set the goals to staff designers of our client. Our small team is very flexible. We can connect to product development at any stage. Moreover, we always work with highly specialized freelancers.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
AZ: I can’t, it’s private.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
AZ: My advice is that it makes no sense to listen endless advices. Always go your own way and never imitate someone and don't copy someone else. Your need to learn how to self learn. Only this way you can become significant!

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
AZ: I can't call any negatives of being a designer. Design – above all is a way of thinking. And now I can't imagine how I can think otherwise. I think this design thinking would be useful in any profession.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
AZ: “If you can't solve a problem, it's because you're playing by the rules” (Paul Arden)

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
AZ: Thinking skills are most important.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
AZ: I use completely different tools and this toolbox always changing and evolve. My favorite tools are pens and Moleskine. My favorite software is Solid Works, but now I try to replace Solid Works on the Autodesk Alias. It’s because my favorite hardware is Apple. As for the books, so, I think that such book as "Manufacturing Processes for Design Professionals" by Rob Thompson (or relevant) must be your desk book. And also I many times re-read the book "Dieter Rams: As Little Design as Possible" by Sophie Lovell.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
AZ: I don't have any rules associated with time. I just try not to procrastinate what I can do now. When you work with the team and on serious projects, deadlines are very important.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
AZ: This depends on the complexity of the object. If consider such object as Cubix, the development took little less half year. I mean the development from the first briefing to the first serial samples.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
AZ: Probably “How you find clients?” or ”How did you get started?". I think in Russia these are quite actual questions.

FS: What was your most important job experience?
AZ: In the past year I've worked with VTeams Company in California in the United States. We were developing snow removal equipment for Canada's market. Today it's probably the most my important job experience.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
AZ: Ronbow (USA), SKB Kontur (Russia), DNA-Technology (Russia), Electron XRay (Russia), VTeams (USA)...

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
AZ: I really enjoy by design research, ideation and conceptualization. I love to discover and invent something new.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
AZ: My far plans are write book and organize the University of Arctic Design. And my near plans are keep going and get PhD.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
AZ: I work almost always with my team.

FS: How can people contact you?
AZ: All my actual contacts on my website www.aizzz.com. Or you can search my name on Google.


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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