Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Chantal & Daisy El Jurdi (CE) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Chantal & Daisy El Jurdi by clicking here.
Interview with Chantal & Daisy El Jurdi at Tuesday 19th 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?
CE: We are two sisters architecture who were always drawn to fashion. After having an opportunity in creating our own brand and our own line of handbags, we decided to go for it and apply what we have learned in architecture in our new business. This allowed us to combine between the two worlds we love and use our set of skills in a different way.
FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
CE: Our brand's name is "saQué" which is a combination of French and Lebanese. The word “sac” means “bag” in French. And the pronoun "é" means “mine” in Lebanese. Hence “saQué” means “my bag” in spoken Lebanese. Our handbags are all handmade using genuine leather and gold and silver plated accessories. They also have a specific function and unique shapes.
FS: What is "design" for you?
CE: Design is creating visually appealing products or projects that also serve a specific function. Design is bringing a creative solution to a problem or answering a need in a way that is visually appealing.
FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
CE: We like to design projects, handbags, jewelry and everything that presents a challenge to us and that allow us to use our creativity and explore our imagination.
FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
CE: Our favorite design is a handbag we have produced called "Al Wafi". This bag can be worn as a backpack, a shoulder bag or a handbag thanks to its adjustable and removable straps, but it's most prominent feature is that it opens from the back when worn as a backpack, thus protecting the women's belonging from theft.
FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
CE: The first thing we designed for a company was a residential villa.
FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
CE: Our favorite material is leather thanks to its flexibility that allows us to create different shapes. Our favorite platform are the social media tools that allow us to reach a wide audience and be up-to-date with the latest trends and news from around the world. Our favorite technology is all the tools that allow us to create, produce and sell our bags.
FS: When do you feel the most creative?
CE: We feel the most creative when presented with a challenge we need to resolve.
FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
CE: We focus on designing a product that will aesthetically please the consumer but that will also be practical when being used.
FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
CE: Designing makes us feel high and focused. It brings us a unique kind of pleasure that we experience when we are in touch with our creativity.
FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
CE: When our designs are realized and recognized, it give us a proud sense of accomplishment and content.
FS: What makes a design successful?
CE: A design is successful when it is unique, different from the rest and that also can be practical. A beautiful design that can't be used becomes aimless.
FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
CE: First we consider the idea behind it and what was its purpose. If it was able to achieve its purpose, it earns positive points. If its also different from the rest, we then consider it a good design.
FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
CE: The designer's responsibility is to produce products that will serve society while trying to have the least impact on the environment.
FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
CE: The design field is becoming more and more influenced by technology, but also by bringing solutions to consumers who are becoming more Eco-conscious. And we think that these two fields are the future of design.
FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
CE: Our last solo exhibition was held in our atelier in Beirut last December, for the launching of our 2016 Collections. Our next Exhibition is going to be in Amman Jordan, where only a handful of Lebanese Designers were selected to participate and us among them.
FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
CE: Our sources of inspirations are endless. We can be inspired by nature, books, various objects around us. There isn't one definite source.
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?
CE: Our design style is modern and experimental as we tackle issues that haven't been previously worked on.
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?
CE: We live in Lebanon, a country that has a very rich heritage and where the cultural and artistic scenes are very active despite some of the chaos that reigns. This has taught us to persevere and be courageous and bold in our ideas in order to differentiate ourselves. It also influenced some of our designs, where we use Arabic Patterns on some of our Handbags.
FS: How do you work with companies?
CE: We work with distributors companies who buy our products in wholesale and then sell them in specific retail shops while respecting the price points we have allocated for the area.
FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
CE: Good designers can be judged on the quality of the work they produce, their ability to handle problems and come up with creative solutions. They can also be judged on their ability to constantly reinvent themselves in their own unique way and always be up-to-date with the latest trends. Companies working with designers should be aware that creative people don't function nor produce like the other types of personalities and therefore should create a system that will allow the designer to create while respecting the company's objectives.
FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
CE: When identifying the goal we need to reach, each one of us retrieves to her own desk space and starts researching or brainstorming on the idea while listening to the music she likes. Sometimes we also light candles or incense depending on the mood. We then meet again when we have come up with a design and discuss the best way to blend the two ideas together.
FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
CE: Buthaethinol chimneys that are beautiful and practical as they can moved anywhere and be put outside or even inside. Lighting Fixtures Statement Sculptures Plants Rugs and Wallpapers
FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
CE: After beating the morning traffic, we usually sit together to discuss the latest news or what needs to be done for the day around a cup of coffee. Then each one of us retrieves to her office and our workday begins interrupted by several emails, phone calls and the unexpected matters that occur daily and that make us have several small get-together throughout the whole day. We usually finish our day by meeting some mutual friends for dinner.
FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
CE: Perseverance is key in order to make it in. Also, some knowledge in business is becoming a necessary part of success along with cultivating your talent and getting as much feedback as possible. They should also strive to always find ways in order to improve themselves and their work.
FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
CE: Some positives of being a designer is exploring the world of creativity and embracing your vivid imagination that can take you to unexpected places. Some of the negatives are the ups and downs of the business where you always need to have a plan B in order to survive the hard moments.
FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
CE: Our "golden rule" in design is to always be different.
FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
CE: The most important skill a designer needs to learn is the ability to let his/her imagination run wild without constrains. Tweaking what comes up with him/her in order to please the client or the company they are working for is another and important ability they need to have.
FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
CE: We have sketching papers and all sorts of pens and pencils. We also have our computers where we mainly use AutoCAD and Photoshop. We also have lots of design books on our shelves along with the endless researching on the internet.
FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
CE: Since we are sisters and entrepreneurs, we can manage our lives in order to be productive yet have some time to relax and attend to our other engagements. The fact also that we are 2 makes it easier since we help each other out and share our tasks in order to lessen some of the burdens.
FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
CE: It takes us around 2 months
FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
CE: The most frequent question we are asked is what is the favorite handbag or project you have designed?
FS: What was your most important job experience?
CE: So far all of our job experiences have been important to us since they are all part of our learning curve and are all teaching us new things.
FS: Who are some of your clients?
CE: Most of our clients are female friends and connections we have in our entourage but also female consumers from the Middle East and Europe
FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
CE: We enjoy all types of design work as long as there is a need to use our imagination in order to come-up with a creative and functional solution.
FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
CE: Our future plans are to develop our Collections even more and design new and innovative handbags (and maybe other accessories)
FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
CE: We work as a team in order to combine our individual ideas and produce an end result based on team work.
FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
CE: We are currently working on expanding our "Form Collection" by designing a smaller and slightly different version of the Subha, a bag ornamented with Arabic Patterns
FS: How can people contact you?
CE: People can send us an email on email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also call us on 00961 3 911 661
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