Interview with Rolans Novikovs

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

Interview with Rolans Novikovs at Sunday 24th of April 2016
Rolans Novikovs
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?
RN: When I was a child I had to draw a drawing in school of an apple in 4 stages as it was eaten. My mother saw the drawings and was very impressed by my drawings skills at that age so she guided me in that direction which seams like the right path for me as I have not lost my interest to designing, sketching and coming up with new ideas.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
RN: Novikov Designs (ND) is a name or umbrella under which all my personal ideas, designs are stored and remain consistent. ND and myself are focused on creating designs which are at least different in appearance and form and somehow draws the attention.

FS: What is "design" for you?
RN: As mentioned in my A award profile, design for me is an international language which everyone speaks and understands. When you as a designer deliver an idea you have the opportunity to express your work exactly how you want it and everyone will see it exactly how you delivered it. They might have different tastes and preferences but the visual appeal will be the same.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
RN: I enjoy every process of design stage, from concept to development, client implementation and final delivery on site. The only problem is the time, and being able to fit myself in all these aspects is challenging. Design challenge for me is very important, I do not learn if I don't find new ways and approaches. I cannot stand copying the same design detail to a new job, which is what I often did in my past employments. It has no connection with the new concept and brief. That is why I spend my time to start every project from scratch and try to deliver something new every time.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
RN: There isn't one favorite really, they are all equal to me.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
RN: The first thing I designed in the company was for a tourism firm. We designed a store of the future for them which was a very challenging process and gave me a good taste on what it is like to work with demanding clients.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
RN: My favorite material would be matte metal finishes. Apple store aluminium wall cladding would be one good example. The sterile, clean and fresh appearance.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
RN: When it is raining and dark weather outside, which here in UK is a regular phenomenon!

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
RN: Just like the foundations are the most important part for building construction, getting design concept right is the most important part of design stage.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
RN: I feel totally switched off from everything. There is just me, my head, the pencil I hold in my hand and tea!

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
RN: Excitement. Seeing something being built that has been delivered from your mind and vision is a wonderful feeling.

FS: What makes a design successful?
RN: Very difficult to say. Depends on the goal of the project. Most of the time it is business driven - make it sell! Sad, but true. I try to hide/ignore that part of the project as I believe the most successful design is based on strong presentation and ability to stand out, instead of fallowing others who showed good statistics on their annual income sheets. This has been proven so many times! Everything is seasonal, it comes and go, but strong, consistent and memorable experience remains.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
RN: The first thing that always hits you is the appearance and how the design looks. That is normal as we all judge what we see first. However once you get past that and you start questioning the rationale, purpose and also consider budget, that is when you can start balancing and question yourself whether design is good or bad.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
RN: For me the most important is the impact on the environment. I try to use as little as I can so that I can leave as much as I can for those who will come after. The paper in the office, I always collect it and reuse the other side as a sketchbook when possible so nothing gets wasted. I tend to print only when really necessary rather than printing and filing every comment client makes. All lighting simply must be LED everywhere! There is no excuse not to use them, they have become accessible, cheap and provide same lux output yet saves a whopping 75% energy. Same applies to the designs and materials we spec. We welcome all suppliers who use recycled materials or hard wearing, long lasting fabrics, tiles etc. It is true that doing all this does not save our planet, but it does give more time to those who innovate and exercise sustainable energy, which eventually will make a difference to our planet and beyond that.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
RN: It has become more accessible because of the world of the internet. Today any designer can publish his works to the wide web and get fast responses and recognition which was not as flexible in the past. This allows designers to improve and perfect their style very quickly and also gain influence from other design members.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
RN: My last exhibition was my Universities Graduation work. I don't tend to focus much on exhibitions unless I have been specifically requested to attend.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
RN: I really like geometry, the sharp angles, forms and endless possibilities of complex patterns and symmetries. Geometry is my main influence when it comes to designing.

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?
RN: I was always told by my tutors and other students that my work is easily recognisable, and if the work had no name on it, they would still be able to tell that it was done by me. So I assume that there is a particular look or style to my work. I don't know what it is, but it would be great if I keep the quality and consistency of designs throughout my design career.

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?
RN: I live in UK, London but my location does change often, as I can't find myself in one place for a long period time.

FS: How do you work with companies?
RN: No mater what we as designers want to see in our clients projects it all comes down to their final decision, so we always respect and implement clients requirements. This also applies to design companies who employ me.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
RN: Companies are very busy and have little time to actually search for good designers, so they will refer to employment agencies or related websites to advertise available positions. That is understandable, so a good designer will find the perfect company instead.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
RN: It starts off by sketching, researching coming up with some ideas and then developing them further. Once happy with developed design comes the technical detailed stage where the proposal gets a skin and practical examination. Once all is good the design gets presented and receives feedback.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
RN: traditional sketching items which I kept from university - techical pencil, scale ruler, tape measure, old tria markers and brushes.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
RN: Most of the time I work (design) in evenings I will normally do some sports (badminton, swimming) and a good movie before sleep.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
RN: As difficult as it is, try to never doubt if you are a good designer. People come with so many different backgrounds and tastes which makes it difficult to design for all. Try harden yourself against criticism on your work. I remember when I was very sensitive to criticism. I spent long evenings perfecting something and the fallowing day headmaster said that the design does not fit the scheme and it is just ugly. The most annoying part was that he saw the concept in developed stage, so when I finished the project I received the highest score, during my university years, and also an apology. That was a good experience from which I learned.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
RN: How expensive everything is! Pencils, markers, sketchbooks, computers and materials. Sometimes you compare yourself with other students who only have a laptop with pen and a pad. Designers have so much stuff that they take with them where ever they go. When I was in university I had to buy all the tools I used, and I spent a large amount of money on them, but I realised that the pencils I bought then, I still use today and they last a long time. That never stopped me, I just worked overtimes and got what I really needed for my work to show.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
RN: Staying focused on the work you do. It is difficult, as I get easily distracted from work and from searching furniture end up on youtube watching top gear!

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
RN: Every designer will have their own way to achieve the end result. Some sketch, some model, some use 3D software. It depends on designers preference.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
RN: Books, but I tend to browse them online, TASCHEN is a great source of information.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
RN: Setting targets and deadlines which I never meet! Sounds very unprofessional but that is not the case, I just reach for perfection and will never release a quickly slapped together something. It has to be perfect and complete.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
RN: Difficult to say, sometimes it will happen over the night, sometimes it will take weeks if not months till it looks resolved and presentable.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
RN: "What is interior designer and what do you do?". Just hurts my brain when I have to explain what I do, and seeing the confusion in peoples eyes as they pretend they understand what I am talking about! Sometimes I wish I was a police officer, then I would save myself the effort to explain what I do.

FS: What was your most important job experience?
RN: Disagreeing with one of my directors on my existing employment development and progress. Which was a very good experience.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
RN: I would prefer not to mention our client names as some clients prefer confidentiality and we respect that.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
RN: Concept stage - that is where all the fun begins and if you get it right the fun continues throughout the project, get it wrong and all hell brakes loose!

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
RN: I really don't know, I will just continue working as I am at the moment. I tend to use this expression often - Direction in which wind chooses to blow, I choose to fallow.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
RN: Teamwork is essential as you can bounce off the ideas quicker and get the work done very effectively. I tend to work in both options, but I do find that I enjoy working by myself very often.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
RN: At the moment I am fortunate to be involved in development for large projects in Asia which I don't want to go in too much detail as the projects are confidential until completion.

FS: How can people contact you?
RN: By my personal website - on contact page you will see an email and contact number.

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
RN: I think we have covered most of the things, thanks for this interview!

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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