Interview with Guideline Guideline Manufacturing (pty) Ltd

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

Interview with Guideline Guideline Manufacturing (pty) Ltd at Monday 18th of April 2016
Guideline Guideline Manufacturing (pty) Ltd
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?
GG: My father was a Bauhaus architect which had a huge influence on my awareness of design and perception. Especially classic contemporary furniture designs created by icons as Arne Jacobsen, Mies van der Rohe or Charles and Ray Eames motivated me to become a Master Craftsman Cabinetmaker which enabled me to realize my ideas.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
GG: Guideline is a furniture design house with attached manufacturing facilities. It was founded by myself, Christoph Karl and my partner Roan Snyman in 2011. Our aim is to produce high quality furniture pieces for hospitality industry but also the domestic market. We believe in sustainability through a long product lifespan which reflects in the quality of our products.

FS: What is "design" for you?
GG: Design for me is not just about beautiful things. It is part of life in many aspects. The world has become a "smaller"place and design is now a global matter with regional influences compared to the past where design was very often categorised geographically as Scandinavian or African design.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
GG: It has to be chairs. There are very few furniture pieces that are as challenging to design. A chair gets moved around, has to be strong but light and elegant at the same time and has to provide comfort, requirements that are not easy to achieve in one piece.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
GG: The Tulip chair, the functionality and simplicity combined with the organic detailing and it's elengant lines make hgtis chair may all time favorite.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
GG: It was my Journeyman Piece when I completed my apprenticeship as a journeyman in cabinet making. I was 20 years old.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
GG: I love would. It's a material that is 100% natural and has found its match in any artificial materials. It's strength and natural beauty keeps on fascinating me every day. Modern woodworking technology as CNC machines enable us to push boundaries in terms of designs and are a great tool to combine traditional workmanship with modern production methods.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
GG: Out in nature South Africa's vast and raw nature with a clear mind spinning around ideas.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
GG: Functionality, which in terms of a chair design is first of all comfort achieved by optimised ergonomics. Considering the environment of use is important. The item has to "work" in its future space in any aspect. However, I also consider commercial viability as important in order to make the design accessible for relevant market.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
GG: Mostly excitement, sometimes paired with a bit of anxiety until I've found out how the design is received. I design furniture for people to use, so their feedback is crucial to me.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
GG: Seeing a design realised is a very satisfactory experience. When people use your design and see the value in it by buying it is very rewarding.

FS: What makes a design successful?
GG: A design is successful when it improves people's life in the broadest sense. In our case that means when someone buys our products and puts them into daily use.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
GG: Function then form, the standard Bauhaus rule that never lost its relevance.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
GG: Improve people's life! That also means create a sustainable product without harming the environment. We live in times of quick consumption. The most obvious way to preserve our resources is to produce products that have a long lifespan through quality and timeless design. We use the hashtag #futureantiques for a reason.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
GG: As mentioned earlier, through social media and global communication design has become a international community that anyone can access. Design has relevance in many different aspects of our life and awareness of that fact is growing. Different regions will add their flavour to a global movement.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
GG: The last exhibition we've participated in was held 2016 in Cape Town, South Africa by Southern Guild and was called "Woodwork". We are planning to exhibit at IMM Cologne in January 2017.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
GG: I'm drawing inspiration from many different fields as architecture, nature to automotive designs. I found Instagram to be a great tool to share and get inspiration from across the Globe.

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?
GG: Its'hard to describe your own style but I've been told one can see my Northern European roots and Bauhaus influenced up-bringing in my designs. I would call them classic contemporary pieces. I love to add an organic details to clean architectural lines.

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?
GG: I live in Cape Town, South Africa for the past 10 years with no ambitions to leave. Being German, my origin has a clear affect on my designs but Cape Town, being a cultural melting pot, left its impression as well. One of the daily obstacles we have to overcome is the lack of availability of raw materials which makes it sometimes harder to realise a design as envisioned.

FS: How do you work with companies?
GG: I co-own Guideline with my partner Roan Snyman which makes the process from conceptional design to production of a final product much easier than having to design for other companies.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
GG: I would say a good designer needs to have some kind of practical background in actually making a product. That helps the designer to understand that the manufacturing process better which is crucial make the design commercially viable.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
GG: It all starts with a thought or idea in our case often triggered by a client's enquiry. I then sketch on paper until I have the concept presentable to my technical design team. They will then with my guidance convert this into 3-d computer renders to details. Once the engineering process is complete the prototype will be made for adjustments and approval.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
GG: my daughter Swan, 3 years (nature is the greatest designer), Tulip chair, Horizon table, Alessi cork screw, my car Mercedes Benz

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
GG: Wake up 7am, Have coffee with my daughter Swan and wife Mekyla with lots of love which is the foundation for my day. I arrive at my office which is at our factory around 8:30am and check my emails first. The rest of my day is mainly meetings with either clients, my designers or production. Most of my creative design work is actually done after hours or on the weekend. Back home usually around 6pm.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
GG: Do your homework! Design involves experience which is usually gained by putting in the hours. You're not designing to win awards, to be featured in a magazine or for other designers. You design for your clients, so listen to what they want.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
GG: The instant feedback to your work and the fact to be able to see the fruits of your creativity being used is a great feeling. However, sometimes one wishes for people to see more value in the actual design process than just in the finished product.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
GG: Design for people, not for your ego!

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
GG: To be able to listen. It's an industry full of big egos, put yourself in the background and prioritise your client's needs.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
GG: South African red wine, pencil and paper, Rhinoceros, Tom Ford book and Instagram

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
GG: We've created a business with a great team. Core philosophy was to empower people in the process of growth so that the business grew underneath us. Through that I'm not involved in daily operational tasks which enables me to do what I do best, being creative.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
GG: From the idea to the final product approximately 2-3 months. In emergencies we made it happen before in 3weeks.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
GG: "How much will it cost me?" An important aspect of design work is to have a commercially viable product.

FS: What was your most important job experience?
GG: my apprenticeship as a cabinetmaker in Germany

FS: Who are some of your clients?
GG: Sohohouse London, New York, Amsterdam, One&Only Hotel Group, Sun International South Africa, Puroplan Finnland

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
GG: Designing furniture pieces as chairs and tables is definitely what I enjoy most. It's my field of expertise and I understand the entire process from the initial design sketch to the production of the final product. Furniture is an essential part of people's life and a trade that is thousands of years old.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
GG: The plan is to grow Guideline as an international furniture brand and supply our furniture across the Globe.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
GG: I work very close with my partner Roan Snyman as a team. We both see things from different angles but great respect and understanding for each other. I do most of the conceptional design and aesthetics while he contributes with the technical realisation of the design. However, being a Mastercraftsman I still share with him my skills and traditional woodworking knowledge.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
GG: It's a design we've finished just recently, the Horizon dining table. An exciting project where we've combined steel and woodwork using our in-house facilities.

FS: How can people contact you?
GG: P: +2721 534 0334 cell: +2781 731 2660 email: Instagram: @guidelinedesign Facebook: Guideline MNF

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
GG: We are looking for distributors or retailers worldwide ;)

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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