Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Simi Gauba (SG) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Simi Gauba by clicking here.
Interview with Simi Gauba at Tuesday 17th of March 2015
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?
SG: I Post Graduated in Design from National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi in India back in 1998. It been an amazing journey of doing and learning for me since then. My first 3 jobs in India required me to travel to manufacturing places pertaining to industries like wooden artifacts, hand made paper manufacturing, glass products, printing on textiles, woven textiles; where I worked first hand & learnt from the local artisans. It was an invaluable experience. 2005 I travelled to Paris to freelance for some companies in France and subsequently to Sweden where I worked for an Austrian Furniture company and now am employed with Duni AB, besides running my own company Simi Design. As a child I loved to draw and paint, but back then I never knew there was a profession called 'designer' that one could be. I thought I wanted to be a doctor, more-so because it was the norm in India - to either be a doctor or an engineer. It was only years later, that my brother filled in my application form for entrance into the most coveted design and fashion institute in India - NIFT. Where I failed every exam to be a doctor, here I passed the very first entrance examination! It was a revelation..a whole new world! The rest is history!
FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
SG: I started Simi Design back in 2012. Its just a 3 year old..but we have done some fantastic projects with companies like Alice&Fay, Minted (US), Keka Designs, Fun Wheels of Sweden. Since November 2013, besides running my own company, I am also employed by Duni AB as their Lead Designer in the consumer area. We have an amazing design team at Duni that I am a part of and our first team project - Year Round Consumer sortiment 2015 is in stores now! A bit about Duni - Duni is a leading supplier of innovative table-setting concepts and packaging solutions for consumer and business areas. Duni's products are found in over 40 markets and enjoy a number one position in Central and Northern Europe.
FS: What is "design" for you?
SG: Design is what makes a product - essential, beautiful, eye-catching and tells a story!
FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
SG: I love designing products and prints. Love playing with wood, glass, paper and combining materials. In prints, I always push myself to achieve a new style/result every time. I love to sketch, paint, draw and mix it all in illustrator with fun results. These past few year I am drawn to geometric designs and patterns and am inspired by Mondrian and Kandinsky.
FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
SG: I love most of the work done by the spanish designer Patricia Urquiola. My most recent favorite being the carpets designed by her for GAN.
FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
SG: A table cover in modern zardosi* embroidery. *Zardosi is a beautiful embroidery style that makes use of a combination of copper wire, with a golden or silver polish, with a silk thread
FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
SG: My favorite material is paper and cotton. Technology is Adobe Creative Suite!
FS: When do you feel the most creative?
SG: I feel most creative on holidays! I work on vacations ;)….the best results come when I have a glass of wine on my table and a view of the sea/valley.
FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
SG: Simplicity, inspiration, utility, style and the process of manufacturing. A good design is not good enough, if its not manufactured well using the right means and methods. So its very important for me to think of the whole process from inspiration to the final product!
FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
SG: Happiness! I love to design. I think I'm blessed to be in a profession which gives me energy and happiness
FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
SG: Super Happy!
FS: What makes a design successful?
SG: Form, Function and how the design reflects the present trends and showcases the designer's individuality!
FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
SG: The good aspects first!
FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
SG: A designer has immense responsibility in making a product that is eco friendly and using processes that are fair. This not only showcases her/his talent but uses materials that do not negatively effect the environment!
FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
SG: Design is becoming more open and focussed on making products using materials that are biodegradable and environment friendly. Design is slowly becoming more accessible for 'all' people than just the elite!
FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
SG: Duni AB displayed the Consumer Year Round 2015 collection of napkins and the Pebble Bagasse that I designed for them at Formex 2015 in Stockholm.
FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
SG: Most of the times my design inspiration comes from my childhood. From my mother's kantha sarees to the streets of India, I look back and its a pandora's box of amazing times and memories.
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?
SG: My style has changed over the years and is still changing. As a product designer I'm drawn to sustainable design. As a print designer I love bright energetic colors and enjoy mixing - fluidity with geometrics. Exploring and evolving is what I do everyday!
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?
SG: I live in Malmö in Sweden and come from India. I would call my style a mix of 'mangoes and meatballs'. Coming from India, I love bold, strong colors and products inspired from ancient Indian handicrafts. Sweden has taught to love simplicity and geometrics. The mix is simply fascinating!
FS: How do you work with companies?
SG: I normally work with companies with whom I feel the synergy. A lot of times I receive a brief from a company as to what they are looking for in terms of a product. Basically a loose guideline. Other times, I present to the companies, starting from inspiration style boards to the final product.
FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
SG: Companies should select a designer with whom they feel the synergy. Its important that the designer understands not only the product but also the core values of the company.
FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
SG: My design process starts with inspiration and preparing a style board that best translates my thoughts into visuals. Next are loose sketches, basically back to the drawing board followed by stages of designs that all lead to that one final sketch.
FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
SG: - Lienz table lamp - Zoya cushions by Simi Design - Floria paper napkins from Duni - Cory table cover from Duni - Jaipuri Kantha bed throw from India
FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
SG: Day starts with lots of coffee (with milk and sugar) and time with husband and kids! Next, breakfast with the family, followed by rushing to work and dropping kids to school:). Work for me is really a fun place. I love what I do, so sometimes 8 hours are just not enough! Evenings are family time and sometimes-manytimes I work late nights after I put the kids to bed
FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
SG: Believe in yourself and your work. Remember product design doesn't always mean designing for the niche market - A commercial product can be designer, if you make it with vision, the right thought process and tools. The best part with a commercial design product- it will truly make a difference in ordinary people's lives and live in millions of homes.
FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
SG: The biggest positive is that you do what you love 24X7! (..better still - you are paid for it!) The negative for me is that there is no shut down time…I don't do a 9-5 job..I do what I love 24X7, all weekends and vacations, simply because its what I 'love to do'!
FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
SG: Stay true, simple, genuine and let your work do all the talking!
FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
SG: Vision, determination ( as lot of times people will doubt your skills and capacity to deliver), Love what you do, stay true and inspire people with your work!
FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
SG: Adobe creative suite, brushes, paint, pencils, paper, scissors. I love making miniature models of my products in paper to get a good view of how my first prototype will look like.
FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
SG: I try to multi task and prioritize what needs to be done first. Making task lists for me really helps.
FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
SG: Sometimes it can take 2-3 months and sometimes 8-9 months depending on the product, material and the place where we get the pro types made
FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
SG: How do you get inspired ?
FS: What was your most important job experience?
SG: My most valuable job experience was working at the grass root levels in India with the local artisans. I have learnt some of the best handicrafts first hand from the makers of the art. For me the 6 years of traveling to all parts in India be it Jaipur or Jodhpur, Saharanpur or Moradabad to meet and learn from these craftsmen has been invaluable! Today I apply the same knowledge and experience in designing everyday!
FS: Who are some of your clients?
SG: Duni AB, Fun Wheels of Sweden, Alice&Fay, Minted, Keka Cases
FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
SG: I love work that makes a difference in ordinary people's lives and way of thinking. Thats the reason I am very proud of my pebble bagasse collection where we have used an eco friendly material called bagasse to replace plastic as a single use disposable product.
FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
SG: Future Plans are to excel in the field of design. Make some really cool products that genuinely make a difference in people's lives!
FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
SG: At Duni AB I am a part of this wonderful team lead by Anna Karin Fäldt! Its a new challenge everyday! A lot of times I develop the designs with the team and sometimes all by myself as well! At Simi Design I develop all the designs myself.
FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
SG: I'm working 2-3 projects simultaneously. - Am working on YR 2016 collection for Duni AB, - Designing the next season of prints for my valued customer Alice&Fay, - Designing some prints for a client who specializes in stylish accessories for wheel chairs.
FS: How can people contact you?
SG: Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at +46-736257032
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