Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer André Teoman (AT) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of André Teoman by clicking here.
Interview with André Teoman at Sunday 21st of September 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?
AT: I don’t think I’ve always known what it means to be a designer. But since my early days I’ve been involved in different creative fields. From puppetry, photography and illustration to music. My whole family is very connected to art. If I remember correctly the first profession I wanted to follow was actually architecture. The idea of creating buildings that were born in my imagination and then came to life was fascinating. But somewhere around my 14 years of age I meet a designer, my teacher actually, and I fell in love with what he did. It was so much more liberating, I could create everything around me. And from that day on I’ve been living my dream.
FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
AT: I’ve recently started to work on my own new project with a group of designers and art devotees, the Young Guns – Art Design Studio. We intend to show the world, bold and iconic design-art pieces. The group will take both emerging and established artists and designers with fresh and dynamic ideas, that primarily follow their own aesthetic values and are able to create interventions and collections of limited edition. The group is established in the north of Portugal, an area long forgotten by the world of arts, that still has great craftsman that help the artists create their unique pieces with great precision. Despite the remote location, we are still living in an era of computer science facility and we use this in our advantage, along with the presence in recognized galleries where we exhibit all the novelties from the group. We will bring a new sight to the debate between art and design, with wicked points of view and refreshing concepts to bring a more functional art to the world. We strive to achieve a sense of humor, crucial to appeal and seduce all kind of art and design lovers. Young Guns is committed to bring ambitious ideas to life, through the conquering of everyday obstacles and by always keeping our integrity has a must-have to built strong relations with the artists and gallerists. We aim to be similar to what Archizoom or Droog Design did in the world of design. With a manifest of beliefs and foundations to an art design movement, Young Guns will make a stand. We don’t intend to be a symbol of “arms” but only to be respected and ,every time we launch a new collection, to bring it with a “bang” of young spirited concepts. We will start with signature pieces by artist but we aim to have Young Guns Conceptual pieces for commercial reasons that will bring humor and innovation to all type of creative areas. The piece I present to A’Design Awards is inserted in this commercial collection. The idea is to create iconic and bold pieces with the help of all the creative minds involved in our Studio, creating pieces that aim to be more affordable than the limited artist pieces.
FS: What is "design" for you?
AT: It’s a process. You can use it in your day-to-day tasks or to create something.
FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
AT: Art-Design pieces. Pieces that will be of limited number series. I get bored easily so I like to be always creating and following the production of the pieces next to the suppliers and craftsman. I like to be there to discuss all the details and make sure that everything is made perfectly as I imaged it. About the pieces itself I like pieces that are the opposite of a butler. Normally we count on a butler to only be felt when we need him, I like pieces that are always making a statement but can also be used for a purpose. Life is short and it shouldn’t be boring, our houses too.
FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
AT: The Newton Dining table that I created for Boca do Lobo in 2012, because it was my first piece developed as a professional designer.
FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
AT: The Newton Dining table for Boca do Lobo. It was a great first experience, since in 2012 it was considered a trend for 2013 by the Nelly Rodi tendencies stand during the Maison et Objet. It’s great when our work is credited by other identities.
FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
AT: I like to work with antique and traditional techniques. Reinvent them as I explore them to create new pieces.
FS: When do you feel the most creative?
AT: When I’m alone, after troubled times. When I refer to troubled times it’s the international design and art fairs, after I absorb all that visual information, I need my alone time to process it in my own way.
FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
AT: I try to focus on the details, the rest comes naturally.
FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
AT: Distrust, I’m always doubting myself “Will people like it?” “Is it good enough?”... If you are a designer you will get it.
FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
AT: Proud, like a father looking at his son. I am just guessing.... I’m not a father yet.
FS: What makes a design successful?
AT: The satisfaction of the user. That’s the point of all of it. If he doesn’t like it or is not satisfied with it, then it’s “mission failed”.
FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
AT: How it makes me feel? Is it making my life easier or happier? If not it’s bad, if yes it’s certainly good.
FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
AT: As many as everyone should have. Designing something without thinking about such aspects, it’s as wrong as leaving trash on the street or not helping a person in need.
FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
AT: In some aspects it’s evolving for the better and in some for worst. I hate it when I hear “oh that thing is amazing it haves so much design”. The word “Design” has been used so much for marketing reasons that it started to become vulgar and cheap and doesn’t explain what it is at all. But I start to see a lot of people thinking as designers, “problem set problem solve”. I see it has a disguised evolution of the design areas in every aspect of everyone’s life, I think it’s a good change. Now we see “design thinking” being used everywhere.
FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
AT: Isaloni 2014. I was representing some brands that I was designing for. I hope Basel, Milan or New York will be the city to one of my next exhibitions.
FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
AT: Besides the international fairs and the magazines, I save every day from 30 minutes to one hour to check some blogs. I feel somehow like my parents reading the newspaper everyday in the morning, but with theme filters that only show me what I’m expecting to see.
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?
AT: I would describe it as Art Design. Design pieces that when not useful are Art pieces or the other way around if you prefer. I always wanted to make pieces with identity, with something to say but that wouldn’t need a philosophic explanation, and I love the interaction that can be created with the user, so exploring this kind of pieces was always my comfort zone, where I’m happy creating. In my approach to design, I don’t believe in the unity of the “true, the good and the beautiful”, that aesthetically valuable and quality-conscious design will make us better people, as Bauhaus or the Werkbund once proclaimed, but I try to create my own world with wicked things and to turn them into a symbolization of distinctive taste and humor. And the production of these ideas making a difference to my hometown local artisans is very important to make the design meaningful. The preservation of such craftsmanship is a mission, and a desire to join their best craftsmanship with other great techniques that are being forgotten around the world.
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?
AT: I live in Viana do Castelo, a city in the North of Portugal. Sure it affects my designs, I love all the small craftsman workshops that I visit since I was young. All these different kinds of “art” were something that gave me a sense of what it was possible to do from raw materials since I was little. There are a lot of pros about having such excellent people working with their hands, and the knowledge they have, passed from generation to generation, is something amazing. It may be hard to believe but they are very open minded to new challenges if you know how to seduce them into different kind of works. The cons are definitely the economic crisis, I understand that it must be like this everywhere, but Portugal is one of the most affected countries, at least in Europe.
FS: How do you work with companies?
AT: For the last two years I worked with a contract. Now with my solo project on it’s way I adapted myself for royalties contracts or a price for piece. It’s been a great challenge to work with different people from different brands and most important with different ideas.
FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
AT: To be great and patient with them, after all Rome was not built in a day. See them as a tree, first you plant the seeds, then you nourish them and just when they grow you can collect the fruits. I think companies should look for talent, hard working, consistent, regular, loyal, but most importantly someone that believes in their “cause”.
FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
AT: I can start the process in two different ways, sometimes I explore different paths to find where I’m going, but there are other times when I get overwhelmed by something and know exactly where I want to go, only needing to find a way to get there.
FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
AT: The items are written by the order I recall them and not in order of importance... Golden Ceramic Robot, Phone (in my case an Iphone), Billy (from Ikea), Stark’s Juicer, and Pantone Chair.
FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
AT: I wake up at 7 o’clock in the morning, take my breakfast and read some online blogs, at 8H I go for a short run in the beach and then I go back home. From 9H to 19H I work and only stop officially for 1h during my lunch break. But I like a relaxed work environment, where me and my colleagues take some creative breaks and discuss ideas.
FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
AT: 1- Work night and day. You need to want it really bad to succeed. 2- Make good connections, having friends in the right places is always a great help. 3- And most importantly, have fun doing your work.
FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
AT: A positive and negative of being a designer, respectively, is the fact that the work can’t be accounted as most other works do, it’s a creative process, sometimes it takes you one hour to do it, and sometimes it takes you a week to do something quite similar. And that’s great we never get bored, but it’s really bad when we have strict delivery dates.
FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
AT: Believe in yourself.
FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
AT: Master all the creative aspects of your design field so you won’t feel creatively restricted by them.
FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
AT: I always start with a pen. My most frequently used tools are the Ipad, notebook, basic colors tombow pens, 0.4 pilot pen, coke (coca-cola...), and my computer with some 2D and 3D creative software.
FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
AT: My trick is to be always designing. 3D visualization in my mind helps me create even when I’m grocery shopping, but when it really works best during long baths. I don’t need to be sitting in my desk to think of how to solve a problem, when I get there I just achive the solution that I came up with.
FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
AT: That depends on the complexity of the object.
FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
AT: “Where does your inspiration come from?”
FS: What was your most important job experience?
AT: My actual one, it’s now that I can make a difference, it’s now that I’m at my best.
FS: Who are some of your clients?
AT: Gallerists, Interior designers, architects...
FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
AT: Turning a blank page into an idea and then follow the production of it.
FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
AT: To have a private collection in my name to produce that will be of a limited edition number, and to focus entirely on my studio with Young Guns.
FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
AT: I like both methodologies. Sometimes it’s great to change ideas and to divide tasks, other times it’s better to be the “lonely wolf”. When creating I prefer to be alone, less chances of being judged in a break trough, but for development I surely prefer to have colleagues around to discuss with and share ideas.
FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
AT: Yes I do, the best thing to do is for you to see it for yourself by visiting the Young Guns - Art Design Studio website. Also in January of 2015 you will see the entirety of the project officially presented.
FS: How can people contact you?
AT: I can be reached by e-mail, or by the use of social networks. I’m registered in almost all of the top ones such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or Behance. Feel free to contact me.
FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
AT: Yes of course, I would like to give credit to some of the people that make all my days great and easier... my mom, my girlfriend and my sister... the three girls of my life.
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