Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Rita Abou Arraj (RA) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Rita Abou Arraj by clicking here.
Interview with Rita Abou Arraj at Tuesday 26th of April 2016
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?
RA: ” Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”. I believe that and have always known that I would work in an artistic environment. The Liberation in drawing, the sophistication in art, the structure in architecture, the subtlety in Interior design fascinate me, and I find a particular interest within the human approach of designing a special object for someone out there.
FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
RA: I consider the design process, an intimate experience, and I’ve grown to work alone day to day. Occasionally I sneak out of my bubble and indulge in collaborations with other artists, architects, and designers where the experience spikes my interest, or the task at hand demands it.
FS: What is "design" for you?
RA: Design is “the most elegant” answer to a given riddle. It is, but not limited to, Knowledge by research for ingenuity, a hint of trickery and ostentatiousness wrapped with skill.
FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
RA: I have ventured in many design routes, from TV studios, scenography, stage and set designs, Interiors of all facets to exhibitions and installations, however, my real passion remains Object and Furniture design.
FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
RA: For Some Reason, my favorite design is always the design I’m working on.
FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
RA: My career premiere happened to be a polyvalent Sports studio Set for a TV channel.
FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
RA: Call me old fashioned, but despite my interest in Technology and constant follow up of all trends and breakthroughs in design materials, I have to admit that I’ve always had a soft spot for simple wood handcrafting and easy mechanical fixing and manipulating techniques.
FS: When do you feel the most creative?
RA: There is a time when I provoke myself with uninterrupted questions regarding a certain new riddle. Creativity flows when I get a moment to answer them.
FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
RA: Every aspect deserves its share. A successful outcome depends greatly on a designer’s fairness and generosity towards all aspects of an idea.
FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
RA: The satisfaction of knowing the answer to a yet to be asked question.
FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
RA: The satisfaction of sharing the answer mentioned above with the ones curious enough to figure out the question.
FS: What makes a design successful?
RA: Time would only tell. It only recalls successful ones.
FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
RA: Can it drive someone to adopt new points of view further to interacting with it, and most importantly, would it still be relevant tomorrow?
FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
RA: By pure vocation, by esthetic flair or by unadulterated necessity, All good designers fancy themselves superheroes of their generation and the supreme “caped” problem solvers. As our esteemed colleague, Peter Parker said once: “with great power, comes great responsibility.” ( technically his uncle said it, but who’s counting )
FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
RA: Design can only be accompanying human and environmental evolution, with a constant considerable lead, in order to pave the way and answer the progressive developing needs of society at any given frame in time and space.
FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
RA: I am fascinated by puzzles, riddles and games. The logic within the process, asking the right questions to get the right answers, can be inspiring and brick-builds an analysis and methodology that works as good in puzzle solving as in design.
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?
RA: I feel unrest towards the static state of everything. Limited functionality and the disabled upgradability bore me. The world is alive, nature is continually morphing, society changes character non-stop. Even “out of this world” ideas are actually of and for this world, thus having to evolve, adapt and propose. My style mirrors this concept.
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?
RA: I’m lucky to be Based In Beirut, Lebanon. This living mosaic of a spot has always been and continues to be a rich and sophisticated hub of worldwide cultures. This openness contributes a lot to answering universal design issues, not just culture specific ones. I feel concerned and involved in human eagerness and appreciation to design wherever that may be.
FS: How do you work with companies?
RA: Ideas stimulate the curiosity and motivation to realize them. This urge translates in partnerships with individuals, studios and companies, where an instant team formation can be achieved in order to redirect resources and focus them for a favorable outcome. Where team integration is goal, I work for seamless integration, and where leadership is aspired, I’m all for it.
FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
RA: Consistency within a designer’s portfolio is key to selection and cooperation with other entities. Companies deduct a designer’s methodology, way of thinking, equilibrium between shape and functionality from his/her previous works, and should be able to assess expectations based on all of the above, and be ready to offer a significant margin of freedom for the designer in order to extract the most creativity.
FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
RA: I ask too many questions and challenge myself to answer most of them if not all. I write in doodles.
FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
RA: There is wittiness and merit in most of what surrounds us by unknown and underrated designers, of current and past existence. Each attempt at answering this question offers 5 alternative and additional designs.
FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
RA: I can, but doing so would give credibility to Routine’s attempts at taking over my days. I will continue to live in denial. Thank you.
FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
RA: A design, one pencil stroke short, is a question partially answered. Keep pushing your design forward till dissipation of doubt.
FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
RA: Positive: the need to evolve constantly. Negative: the need to evolve constantly.
FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
RA: It CAN be done.
FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
RA: Coffee, beloved pencils and sketchbooks, a solid internet access, a potent PC, 2d Cad, 3d modeling & Rendering and Photo editing software and another coffee round.
FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
RA: NO, being a mother is a very time consuming task. Designing is Fun and Leisure.
FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
RA: Since I’m always in quest for the most elegant answer to that riddle in the most simplistic way possible, it tends to take much more time than allocated, each and every time.
FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
FS: What was your most important job experience?
RA: No matter the pedigree of the job, while in progress, there is always a chance to learn and grow. Frankly, the most complicated of jobs are assortments of smaller ones in chain, and in most of times the answers to their riddles are deducted directly from previous experiences in the simplest of jobs.
FS: Who are some of your clients?
RA: Being an interior Architect with an affinity to object configuration and highly artistic event installation, based in a hub where oriental and occidental keep on co-reinventing themselves, my clients happen to be multi-cultural individuals, groups and companies, seeking identity affirmation or fusion, with a sense of detail, and eagerness to showcase evolution and originality, whether in a permanent daily adaption or a unique time/space expression.
FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
RA: Objects that are much more than what they reveal. Designs that offer multi-use and alternative purposes in a minimal shell. Bluffing designs, that when you think you’ve seen them in all their facets, manage to surprise you with alternative roles and proficiencies.
FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
RA: I’m always learning, and always aiming at upgrading my skill sets and tools in order to be more productive and more effective in my design approach. My future plans? Perhaps, More awards, If I may?
FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
RA: As answered above, I consider the design process, an intimate experience, and I do work alone by default. But I do sneak out of my bubble and venture in collaborations, exchange expertise, and enrich design knowledge in the process.
FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
RA: Works-in-progress are my daily bread, however not all works-in-progress can be shared at least while they don’t answer yet my own questions.
FS: How can people contact you?
RA: People that are interested in what I do can find me at www.ritaabourraj.com , and drop me a message through email@example.com or via other contact details found on the website.
FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
RA: I would like to stress the importance of design competitions in modern society development and the opportunity they present for designers, investors and end users alike to evolve and have their questions answered at an accelerated pace.
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