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Interview with Tina Gorjanc

Home > Designer Interviews > Tina Gorjanc

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

Interview with Tina Gorjanc at Wednesday 26th of April 2017
Tina Gorjanc
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?
TG: I choose to study fashion mainly because of my passion for drawing and discovering the human anatomy. I started to express myself by putting the human body in different contexts and by doing so I discovered different mediums that have the ability to change our perception of the body. Fashion was the branch of design that permitted me to developed concepts with which I attempt to reinvent products and push the boundaries of the luxury industry. I graduated from CSM this June from a Master Course held by the school called Material Futures. The course inspired me to undertake a critical approach to design and mix my expertise with new technologies as well as based my work on a strong research background.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
TG: I am currently working as a freelance designer and I am constantly looking to collaborate with different organisations and companies to develop interesting speculative and critical projects.

FS: What is "design" for you?
TG: Design is a form of creativity that is driven by the current or future needs and demands of our current society.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
TG: My passion is showcasing a critical approach to design based on an in-depth research on developments and events present in our current society. The research enables me to speculate on future scenarios that might evolve as a consequence of those events. I am always trying to illustrate the concept behind the project in the clearest way possible in order for it to be easily understood by the public.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
TG: I am fascinated by critical design that is able to provoke a change in our current society and tackles unexposed thematic in an innovative way. A really good example is Cody Wilson’s 3D printed gun the “Liberator”, which besides showcasing the potential and dangers of an open source platform also tackles a whole series of problematic dealing with legal rights.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
TG: A speculative online platform selling human bodily material as a commodity.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
TG: I find biological material, especially the ones of a smaller scale (DNA, genes...), really intriguing as I believe that the new advances in research that are dealing with those materials are enabling the evolution of exciting new technologies. Besides creating new alternatives and products, those technologies also enable the implementation of the mentioned materials within domains with which they were not commonly associated.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
TG: When I run upon a social issue or a new technology that hasn’t been properly exposed before.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
TG: My design direction relies on designing products and systems that are informed by an in-depth research. When designing those products and systems I try to make every decision influenced by information gathered through this research and not purely by my personal preferences. I really enjoy challenging my research skills to overrule my personal taste. With that said, I also do enjoy the making part of my projects as it gives me the opportunity to learn new crafts.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
TG: I think as most designers do I also go through the emotional roller-coaster of the design process: 1. Uninformed optimism 2. Informed pessimism 3. Stubborn determination 4. Hopeful realism 5. Informed optimism

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
TG: When the designs are getting close to being executed there is the strong drive of impatience and excitement followed by satisfaction and joy while seeing all the design components assembled in the finished work. Unfortunately, the end phase lasts for a really short time as I quickly begin to analyse what could be improved with the newly acquired knowledge.

FS: What makes a design successful?
TG: Successful design direction is often determined by design intelligence, which is the intuition that allows the designers to find design opportunities and understand their challenges.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
TG: I tend to assess the success of a design based on how easy it is to understand the premises behind it and whether it is considering how the design can impact different aspect with its production or implementation in the society.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
TG: Designers have a responsibility to make progress and contribute to a variety of fields, such as materials, methods, products, sustainability, systems, ethics, etc. They have the obligation to move the design development in the right direction. However, the decision regarding what the right direction actually is depends purely on the designer him/herself.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
TG: I am a really big believer that future technologies will be shaped by biology – if not by using biological sources than probably by mimicking natural systems in order to make them more efficient -which is the reason why I am fascinated by biotechnology.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
TG: My last exhibition is currently still going on in the Lethaby gallery in London and I am really grateful to have three more planned across London and New York in the future. I would be also really keen to showcase my project on several future events or even contribute it to a permanent exhibition.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
TG: I noticed that my work most of the times revolves around the luxury industry which is probably partly due to my background experience in the field. However, what I believe is the main driver for me to engage with this industry is that I find it extremely inspirational. I think that the main underestimation of this field comes from the fact that the luxury market gets generalised most of the time and that it is viewed as unnecessary and shallow. On the contrary, I believe that this market is the perfect platform to present and bring new technology to the public as it allows the implementation of those technologies into other major fields of our society.

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?
TG: Due to the nature of my design direction, I always lead the context of the project to dictate the style of the objects and everything surrounding them. The main purpose of my design outcomes is to illustrate the story that I try to portray with the project. However, after a close review of my line of work, I noticed quite a few themes that I tend to embed in every project. The biggest one is probably the relationship with the human body followed by the demand for neatly executed bespoke pieces that respond to the commonly proposed research brief: the new luxury.

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?
TG: I am originally from Slovenia and I moved to London four years ago. The biggest influence that the heritage of my home country has had on my designs is not necessarily linked to the design direction I am persuading but more to the approach to work in general and the commitment to good quality. The determination to persuade the line of work that I am currently doing was born upon my move to London. I believe that this event has open my eyes to such a vast amount of different practices and a whole new approach to design that does not require a classification of your work in specific categories. The multinational and diverse structure of the city is what I think really shapes impactful ideas and allows the rise of so many great London base designers. The biggest shame is that all of this could be compromised in the future by Brexit.

FS: How do you work with companies?
TG: I am currently just starting my professional career in the new design direction that I am persuading and I am currently working with two companies on a short and long collaboration as the lead designer for the project.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
TG: I think companies should always push themselves and try to grow in terms of their practice (which also applies to individuals) and therefore should not settle for the obvious and comfortable choice. Every now and then they should be open to the idea of collaboration with a new bold designer that could potentially provoke changes in their line of work.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
TG: My design process always begins with a wide research on the picked topic. After getting an overall feel of the area I narrow down the gained information into specific problematic and concentrate with an in-depth research on just one of them. This allows me to really understand the area and become more skilful in it. After getting to the core of the picked problem and locating the design opportunity I always try to look at it again from a wider perspective and understand which other areas of life could be influenced by my design intervention. When designing the objects that will illustrate the problematic the project is trying to expose I always concentrate on the facts gathered by my research so that the objects really relate to the context. I then aim to elevate my design skills by working with as many different experts in the chosen fields as possible and gaining more information and feedback regarding the context and the objects itself. I define my design process as collaboration-oriented because I do not believe that the projects that I usually pick on could be successfully designed with a singular creative input.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
TG: Induction Turkish coffee maker, jersey cotton bed sheets, blue wash wooden flooring, framed insects display, trench coat.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
TG: My days are usually substantially different depending on the project and the stage of the project. It varies from devoting 18 hours a day to designing to spending a good part of the day training and doing sport activities.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
TG: Always be involved in projects you really believe in and care about as they will probably shape the type of projects you might be involved in the future.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
TG: The fact that as a designer you are able to incorporate creativity and critical thinking in every aspect of your life leads you to experience your job as no job and a 24/7 working schedule at the same time. This for me represents the top positive and negative aspect of the designer job at once.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
TG: Don’t ever apologise for your design work.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
TG: Having the ability to foresee potential design opportunities in most aspects of life and the ability to identify targeted customer/ focus group.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
TG: The content of my toolbox changes with every project and within different stages of the project. This rotation of tools and gadgets is probably the part I enjoy best as it allows me to constantly learn and discover new research techniques and craft practices.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
TG: I believe that by choosing to be a designer you essentially choose a lifestyle rather than a job. When it comes to a specific day, I don not really work within time frames. I rather try to set tasks that I need to accomplish each day and then determine my free time based on that.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
TG: Highly dependent on the object and the project itself (if the context requires an immaculate finish or rough look).

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
TG: “What type of designer are you?” to which I have no answer.

FS: What was your most important job experience?
TG: I think every job experience that I had so far was a valuable experience. However, the experience that in my opinion pushed me to grow the most as a person is not technically a job experience per se. Although, at the time it really felt like a job. With my final master project, I got an amazing amount of media coverage for which I am still really grateful. However, at that time I was not skilful in the marketing of the project and hadn’t had many experiences doing interviews, talks and sharing my view as a designer. As I was asked to do numerous press releases and appearances I got to learn this part of the designer’s job really quickly. When I look back at it I am really appreciative as I now feel much more confident in the mentioned part of the job as a consequence.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
TG: Design and marketing agencies and bioengineering companies.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
TG: Critical and speculative design that can push the boundaries of what is commonly acceptable in our society.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
TG: My plan for the future revolves around trying to expand my practice and get as many inspiring collaborations as possible. I have currently a couple of exhibitions and talks lined up at exciting events such as Biofabricate in New York and Most Contagious in London. I am also doing some short and long design collaborations with different companies which I am really thrilled about.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
TG: I develop the context of the design myself. However, I try to engage with as many experts in the field I am researching at the time so I can really immerse myself in all the different aspects of the project.

FS: How can people contact you?
TG: I am a really attentive email reader so please feel free to drop me an email at gorjanc.tina@gmail.com at any time.


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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