Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Christine Alexandre (CA) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Christine Alexandre by clicking here.
Interview with Christine Alexandre at Tuesday 29th of July 2014
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?
CA: I grow up with artists around me and open minds. My mother was an artistic painter and my father was a pianist. They feed me with their passion of art, painting, music, architecture, museums... I don't remember I wanted to do something else than to be in artistic field. My first idea was to paint and I began in that way. Step by step I realized I needed to create objects. 3D was a real need for me and I decided to become designer.
FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
CA: Our company, Chris Alexxa Jewels has been created 2 years ago by myself and my husband. All my jewels are designed and realized in my workshop and then casted outside. All the finishings and plating are done by myself. Our collections of jewels have been exhibited 3 times in Paris to the Bijorhca Fair and have received a good audience. Up to now we have been distributed in more than 30 points of sale including an international clientèle.
FS: What is "design" for you?
CA: To transform an idea or a concept into a shaped and valued object.
FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
CA: Jewels and furnitures.
FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
CA: The "Juicy Salif" from Starck. Even if it's not ergonomic at all, it was the first time for me that someone tried to turn this basic item into a piece of design. The shape was so surprising... I have to confess I was a little bit disapointed when I used it for the first time but it remains a very nice piece...
FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
CA: It was a hair dryer.
FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
CA: All materials that allows me to be in contact with it to enhance its own particularities, textures, qualities. I need to touch the material and be in contact with it.
FS: When do you feel the most creative?
CA: when I'm sketching all what I have in mind because it's a projection of my thoughts to the paper with the pencil and my hand in-between.
FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
CA: Shapes, textures, finishings. It should be eye catching and evokes something.
FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
CA: The pleasure to touch, to transform, to shape.
FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
CA: The pleasure to reveal my mind into a shaped piece that I like, totally regardless of the it might be perceived outside. It could be perceived as strange to think in that way...but making pieces with passion will probably touch others.
FS: What makes a design successful?
CA: The emotion it evokes.
FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
CA: I think it depends of a lot of things... Is it functional or not, does it respond to it's target, does it evokes something for me... it's a very large and open question.... The question is too wide for me.
FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
CA: From my point of view, I really don't like useless piece. Our responsibility is to create something that brings a kind of satisfaction by the user. To see someone taking pleasure to wear one of my jewels, provides me highest satisfaction.
FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
CA: Design is so wide... there's true and large future for design, in so many fields...
FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
CA: The last one was in January 2014 in Paris and the next one will be also in Paris In Septembre 2014.
FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
CA: My design is inspired by nature. I'm really fascinated by plant life wich is a true bursting of shapes and textures. Nature is everywhere around us and we sometimes forgot how it's a real part of our lives. It's in this plentiful universe I took my inspiration. Shapes, textures, structures of plant life are rich and fabulous, giving an infinity of possibilities.
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?
CA: I would tell my style is organic. I feel myself close to nature and it becomes a pretext to give life to jewels, playing with textures lights and shadows. I want to reach the plant life substance. The aim is to create new shapes the nature would design them with its sensitivity and sensuality to provide a jewel connected to nature.
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?
CA: I'm living in Belgium, I'm not sure the cultural heritage affects my designs. I would say it comes more from my education.
FS: How do you work with companies?
CA: I tried to be open minded to respond well to the objectives.
FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
CA: To companies, I would say:" Please give as many as possible precise terms of your project and then don't close too many doors and let creativity speaking". From my point of view, a good designer is first of all someone open minded. To be open minded allows to be attentive to the needs, to understand well the challenge and be creative to bring the right solution.
FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
CA: To observe, to draw, to shape and add details to bring an organic spirit into my jewels.
FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
CA: The "Juicy Salif" for its shape. The "Tizio" for its ergonomy and shape. My espresso machine.
FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
CA: Each day is different... Sometimes everything runs well and the it's pleasant day, sometimes it can be a complete rush where everything is driving me mad...
FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
CA: Listen, understand and make what you really love. Give the best of yourself, touch what you do and don't believe the computer is the best way to work. Images are not enough, learn how to built to understand well what you do.
FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
CA: Positive points are creativity in many fields not only in our job. Negative points are probably to be poor in business fields and commercial aspects.
FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
CA: To be open minded.
FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
CA: The listening, the understanding, the creativity.
FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
CA: I do not use computer because it's not for me the right way to express my mind. This is nearly a fully handmade process. I use handicraft tools to realize waxes prototype. Castings are done. The wax lost casting is the only "mass" production process as all the finishings are also hand made.
FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
CA: The best I can...
FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
CA: It really depends of the project. For my jewels it takes 3 weeks to 5 months...
FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
CA: Where do your ideas come from?
FS: What was your most important job experience?
CA: To design a hair curler as easy to use as a straightener! It has been done and really successful!
FS: Who are some of your clients?
CA: At the present time, jewellers, fashion shop, design shop.
FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
CA: To increase our brand awareness and extend our distribution network. To be able to integrate and control all the steps of manufacturing .
FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
CA: I develop my designs myself.
FS: How can people contact you?
CA: By mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
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