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Interview with Florian Seidl

Home > Designer Interviews > Florian Seidl

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

Interview with Florian Seidl at Sunday 23rd of October 2016
Florian Seidl
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?
FS: I guess I always really enjoyed drawing and art in general and I knew quite early that I would want to build on that. At first I had no idea that there was a possibility to specialize in design so I was aiming for architecture initially. When I got to university I discovered the Industrial Design course and gave it a shot.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
FS: I’m currently the Design Manager of Lavazza. The objective of this newly created position is to establish and consolidate competences, resources and processes within Lavazza to guarantee an efficient and coherent development of all activities regarding the corporate design of Lavazza. In this function I am reporting directly to the CTO and I’m now responsible for a small team of internal and external designers, consultants and agencies.

FS: What is "design" for you?
FS: Design is a complex process with many different layers. It is an expression of human culture.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
FS: I quite like classic product design and furniture. I also really have a soft spot for transportation design - especially cars.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
FS: Most favorite design? That’s almost impossible to answer. I like furniture done by Le Corbusier (LC4), Charles and Ray Eames and Arne Jacobsen. The work of Apple in from the first decade of this century was great and Bang&Olufsen are doing consistently doing interesting things. In the area of automotive design the Citroen DS and the original Audi TT and the original Renault Twingo rank high with me. More recently I really liked the Volkswagen XL1 and the work of Volvo.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
FS: That’s a difficult question as well. I’ve been doing internships and worked as a freelancer while I was a student for quite some time and I was involved in several smaller projects. The first real project I was involved while working professionally were the Fiat Panda and the Fiat 500L.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
FS: Nowadays I’m mostly working on a Wacom Cintiq with Photoshop and Alias. But I still really like traditional sketching with pen and paper.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
FS: When I’m relaxed and there is not too much going on to distract me. I need to be able to focus.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
FS: That depends on the state of the project. Initially it would be the overall concept, the general functionality and the context. The further the project evolves the more it’s important to focus on smaller details and making sure everything stays on track.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
FS: A wide spectrum actually – ranging from happy and motivated to complete frustration. Design is a creative process and sometimes that can also be quite tough.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
FS: Satisfaction and to a certain extend pride.

FS: What makes a design successful?
FS: There are many different things that need to come together to make a successful design. Context, usability, functionality, ergonomics, cost, materials and not least innovation and aesthetics - but in the end it is the market that makes a design successful.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
FS: The first thing would probably be the formal execution and how it is presented. How well the design is resolved – proportion, colours, materials, details… The functional aspect comes slightly afterwards when using the product over time.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
FS: A designer should always strive for a socially and environmentally responsible design. It is admittedly a difficult task in the economic and industrial context. Design in general is not Art and in most projects there are certain limits that are difficult to overcome. But that doesn’t mean that the designer shouldn’t fight for the best possible outcome.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
FS: There are new opportunities with new interfaces, connected and intelligent products and new production technologies. But the basic underlying set of rules in esthetics and usability stay the same or evolve with the specific cultural context.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
FS: I had a private project displayed at the Drone Berlin trade fair in October 2016. There are also some other things brewing, but nothing decided yet.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
FS: Inspiration can come from almost everywhere. It’s important to keep your eyes open at all times.

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?
FS: When working as a in-house designer it is always important to express the brand identity and stay true or develop and evolve an established form language.

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?
FS: Currently I am living in Turin, Italy. But having lived, studied and worked in many diverse places such as Austria, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, and the United Kingdom I have a well-developed awareness for cultural differences and the positivity this can bring to a work environment or project team.

FS: How do you work with companies?
FS: I have experience as an external freelancer and as in house designer. There are advantages in both. While the work of the external designer is somehow faster the in house work has more direct contact with the project team and there is more control of the final outcome.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
FS: The first step is probably a close look at the designer’s portfolio/website to get an idea what they have done before. Meet them in person if the work samples seem promising and if you feel comfortable with the guys just give them a try.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
FS: It starts normally with a project brief and with the analysis of the context to understand the task. Then there is a first creative phase trying to come up with conceptual and formal ideas. Those ideas then need to be evaluated and developed to see their potential. The most promising ones are developed further and refined with the help of others they might eventually end up in production…

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
FS: A plain brushed steel Zippo, a Bialetti Moka, Apple MacBookPro, Freitag bag, and a Kikkoman Soy Sauce bottle.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
FS: Yes. But there is nothing out of the ordinary.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
FS: Don’t fall in love with your very first idea and work hard. Be creative. Enjoy what you’re doing.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
FS: The positive thing is that you get to be creative and develop real things that people can enjoy. One negative thing could be that it’s sometimes difficult to keep the work at work and not bring it home. You need to be able to switch off.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
FS: There is no such thing as "one golden rule". Also - if you know the rules, you can bend them and break them…

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
FS: Communication.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
FS: As already said earlier I’m mostly working on a Wacom Cintiq with Photoshop and Alias on my everyday workflow. Physical mock-ups and models are really important too. Websites that I check back on include: www.cardesignnews.com, www.carbodydesign.com, www.core77.com, www.designboom.com,...

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
FS: I’m trying to concentrate on the task at hand while also responding to smaller immediate requests that can be dealt with quickly. This way the big task is not blocking too many of the smaller things. But only one major task at a time.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
FS: That really depends on the complexity of the project. It can be anything from days to months. It generally takes many months to actually bring a project into production.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
FS: What is it that you actually do?

FS: What was your most important job experience?
FS: Seeing a real world project materialize.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
FS: I am an experienced and creative designer currently working as design manager at Lavazza's Innovation Center in Turin. Before that I was part of the exterior design team that developed the Fiat 500 successfully into a whole range of different models and several other projects that can now be seen on the road. I have also done work for KTM and as freelancer for various other non-automotive brands. Always with a strong feeling for brand identity and the bigger picture beyond the project as a mere product.


FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
FS: I quite enjoy the strategic, conceptual part of a project.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
FS: I only made the switch to design management about two years ago. So I think I would like to stick with my current job for some time to see the fruits of this adventure. There are still many things to do and I’m still learning a lot as I go along. But you’ll never know what comes next.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
FS: Design is almost always a team effort. Most products have a degree of complexity that does not allow for one creative genius to do everything.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
FS: At the moment we are very busy developing a range of new products for Lavazza. It’s really exciting as there is a lot to do and there are many opportunities.

FS: How can people contact you?
FS: Through my LinkedIn page or on Twitter.


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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