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Interview with Stephan Seifert

Home > Designer Interviews > Stephan Seifert

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

Interview with Stephan Seifert at Sunday 20th of April 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?
SS: I always loved creating, art painting photography, and always been interested in how things work. When I found the Industrial Design course at Massey University in New Zealand, I knew it was the perfect match for my interests. Later I complemented my studies with a Masters in Product Design & Development from Elisava in Barcelona.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
SS: After almost 10 years working in New Zealand, Los Angeles, London and Barcelona, in 2013 I decided to set up my own design studio. I have strong experience in furniture, toy and product design, and have been lucky enough over the years to have been able to collaborate on different projects from designing train interiors, interiors of floating homes, toys and medical furniture.

FS: What is "design" for you?
SS: Design for me is a creative methodology for defining, analyzing and solving problems. Design has grown from being just a problem solvers domain to actually being extremely useful in the problem definition phase of any project.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
SS: Furniture, toys and medical equipment.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
SS: I think my best work is yet to come! :)

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
SS: The first project for a client was actually done whilst still studying. I was the structural and graphic design for a cardboard gift goggles for the Te Papa Museum in Wellington, New Zealand.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
SS: I love wood. It's strong versatile, natural, has great tact and so many ways of finishing/polishing. And best of all it ages well!

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
SS: With some good music (80's) sunshine coffee and seabreeze!

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
SS: A balance of aesthetics AND functionality.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
SS: I love the journey, it's always an adventure, a mistery trip wthat you don't know the destination of until you start filling in the details.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
SS: A kind of pride of having finished the project and also a little loss. I guess it's what a parent feels like when your kid leaves home. You've done all you can and now it's time for your baby to fend for itself.

FS: What makes a design successful?
SS: Continuing from above, when your creation not just fends for itself but exceeds your expectations!

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
SS: Does it work?

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
SS: I think most of all to bring functional products into the market. Another aspect that we need to push for is making what we design sustainable, and we need to do all we can to convince our partners of this.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
SS: Design has always touched every part of human society. I think what is happening is that with saturated marketplaces the creative aspect of humanity is regaining the ground it lost to science over the last centuries. I think in the end design and science must balance to find creative yet useful solutions for all of us.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
SS: A lot of my inspiration come from words, word play, double meaning, reading between the lines. Another big source of inspiration is nature. It lways finds way to create a beautiful yet efficient and sustainable design for the most varied problems imaginable

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?
SS: elegant - minimalist - functional

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?
SS: In Barcelona, although I am not from here. I am a New Zealander/Swiss and have lived and worked in New Zealand, Los Angeles, London, and now Barcelona. I love this city, the climate, the culture, the location between the mountains and the sea. It's close to central Europe to get there in less than 2 hours flight.

FS: How do you work with companies?
SS: I like to be able to start early, in the problem definition stage of the project. Desgner usually get called in late, to help beautify product that has already be defined by engineering or mrketng/sales.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
SS: Be patient. Designer at the start usually have more questions than answers. Its the expansive phase of the project. Don't restrict it till later. The reason you got a designer is to get new ideas, so let them get out there. Attached to this comes also a plea to get a designe involved earlier. Usually alot of design briefs come already defined by someone who doesn't have the training in visualizing to see all the posibilities in the world.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
SS: First I try to understand the problem, interviewing people, fotography, immersing myself in the situation. Then come research of competitors, technologies ergonomics to set the base of the problem. Only then will i usually start sketching, prototyping and through iteration and interaction with stakeholders, develop an optimal solution.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
SS: Wake up, walk the dog, go for swim or run, then settle with a cup of coffee and organize the day.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
SS: To any young designers I would recomend to get into industry. It doesn't have to be the flashest design studio in town/country/world. Sometimes you learn more working around the constraints than having all the freedom in the world.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
SS: Positives are that you get to be creative,, meet a large variety of people from different fields, to help create something that will hopefully make the world a better place. The Negative sides usually are that the people you deal with have their own agenda and priorities, and that what you are making is subscibed to the imperative of it having to make money.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
SS: Make it!! Prototype! In furniture and industrial design i think it's still important to get your hands dirty and make a physical prototype. See what you are dealing with, feel it in your hands. It doesn't need to be pretty nor perfect, but get away from the computer sometimes really helps put things into perspective.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
SS: Drawing drawing drawing

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
SS: pencil & paper, camera, 3D Software such as Rhinoceros and Solidworks, The library are always one of my first points of reference.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
SS: Breaking down the tsk into constituent parts, and always doubling the estimate of how long i think it might take. I am a natural optimist!

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
SS: it all depends on the object, the complexity of it, but usually it would take between 2-4 months.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
SS: As an industrial designer it still is "Oh, so you design factories?"

FS: What was your most important job experience?
SS: As an industrial designer the most important job experience has been working in a packaging factory as a designer. The ability to work with, and understand, and i think even more importantly, emphazise with "the enemy" is extremely important to me.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
SS: I have worked for P&G, IDEO, TGV, Carpyen, LAKEN, PLAY, Fuelfor, Minairons, Thelos Henkel, Danone Waters, Groupe SEB and Reckitt Benkiser amongst others.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
SS: I like to work on design that solve problems or create joy, value and meaning for the people they were intended for.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
SS: Apart from my regular studio work, I am at colaborating with Open Ideo in Barcelona, deveoping solutions for the young people in Barcelona, to help them find their way in the world. Also creating Gardening Start-up with some friends, developing on from an idea we had during a Design Workshop.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
SS: I work for myself, but i have a close group of friends and colaborators that I bounce ideas off.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
SS: Unfortunately can't talk about them yet!

FS: How can people contact you?
SS: my website: www.stephanseifert.com telefone: +34 653 037 616


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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