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Interview with Ari Korolainen

Home > Designer Interviews > Ari Korolainen

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Ari Korolainen (AK) for A’ Design Award and Competition. You can access the full profile of Ari Korolainen by clicking here.

Interview with Ari Korolainen at Monday 11th of March 2019

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?
AK: My interest in art derives from my childhood home, as my father was an artist. I can still remember the smell of turpentine, and ultramarine painted on canvas. At school I had a very good and supportive art teacher, who encouraged me to continue with my artistic aspirations. I graduated as an architect BA in 1984. In my work I had to visit customers, and I did not have a nice light case where to carry my drawings. So I made myself a prototype briefcase from recycled cardboard. The case got a lot of attention from my customers and colleagues, they seemed to be more interested in the briefcase than my drawings. I started making similar cases for my colleagues, and soon after I founded a company of my own.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
AK: Private Case was founded in 1985 and is based in Lahti, Finland. By that time I worked as an architect and industrial designer, and started to manufacture my own briefcases made of recycled cardboard. A timeless, simple yet beautiful shape and functionality were the starting points for the product design. The good acceptance in the market and their unique design, which has been recognized by numerous awards, have made Private Case Oy one of the leading manufacturers of environmentally friendly stationery products in the international market.

FS: What is "design" for you?
AK: Design is like a way of living.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
AK: Clean, plain design with good functionality.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
AK: I think my favorite design is the entire Private Case collection. I started making it in 1985, and I may have been the first designer to start making products from recycled materials. Most of the people know me as Mr. Private Case.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
AK: Briefcase 101, made of recycled cardboard (still in production).

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
AK: Recycled materials. Nowadays I use a lot of recycled leather. It is made of leftover leather pieces from shoe and bag factories.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
AK: I think it is when discussing with customers and when they tell about their problems. That's when ideas start to fly.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
AK: Sometimes from the first idea, I have to go far to find a way back to the first one.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
AK: I think there is often a feeling if I could do something better. What would be the next step?

FS: What makes a design successful?
AK: A design is successful if a lot of people would like to have one and they are ready to pay for it. You feel you have succeeded when your work delights its user.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
AK: Good design combines ecological and aesthetic aspects with functionality. A new product has something old and familiar as well as something new.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
AK: We have to take care of environment , when designing.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
AK: I think good designer is always "ten years ahead of time".

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
AK: I think designers have kind of a playful mind.. You have to do something that has not been done before, but at the same time you have to keep in your mind the past and the history of the product.

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?
AK: My design is simple and clean without any extra "lines". My works often have a funny detail, which lends them a cheerful look. I enjoy seeing them bring joy to the recipient. You feel you have succeeded when your work brings a smile on its user's face.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
AK: Use them!

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
AK: I have many ideas but typically in my work, drawing the very first line can be difficult. I can start the same project many times over, and at the final stage I remove everything I possibly can to achieve the result I want. My works are plain, with each individual detail and dimension carefully planned.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
AK: My chairs Cubic and Basic.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
AK: My working day starts at about 8.30 and ends at 6. It allows far too little time for design work, most of it is something totally different. I often continue design work after 8 in the evening.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
AK: You have to be willing to learn a lot. Very often there is not one right answer. Be ready to do everything. Trust yourself and do things that derive from your inner self.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
AK: Keep it simple.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
AK: A good designer has to be able to understand the customer’s needs and problems. You need to have an open mind.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
AK: Normally ideas of a product come fast, but then taking away everything that is not needed takes time.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
AK: students: DO YOU HAVE WORK FOR ME ?

FS: What was your most important job experience?
AK: Private Case.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
AK: For small companies to big international companies.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
AK: At first you need to have a problem, what you have to solve.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
AK: I would like to see my company A Aerssin to sell all ower the world.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
AK: I develop by myself, but listen to my family's and friends' opinions too.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
AK: I have a new Buy Local. project.

FS: How can people contact you?
AK: My e-mail is ari.korolainen@privatecase.fi My phone number is +358 500 716833


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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