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Interview with Debbie Drury

Home > Designer Interviews > Debbie Drury

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

Interview with Debbie Drury at Thursday 28th 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?
DD: I grew up sailing and enjoyed drawing sailboats since my early years, and I loved taking things apart and recreating them. When I discovered the field of industrial design, I had no choice but to embrace this career. I got my design degree at Ecole Superieure de Design Industriel in Paris, and after a short year working there, I moved to New York where I have spent the last 23 years.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
DD: American Standard has shaped the home environment for almost 150 years, at home and at work, in America and abroad. Our brand has a very deep connection with our customers and users, and has a long tradition of innovation and design. When I join the company in 2013, we were on a new path to reinvigorate the brand. We have since reinvented to our approach to design and launched a new luxury brand, DXV, based on our tradition of style and craftsmanship.

FS: What is "design" for you?
DD: An investigative journey; a chance to better people's lives.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
DD: Products that challenge the status quo.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
DD: A 30-foot yacht for the French boat manufacturer Jeanneau. I worked directly with the craftsmen who were building the prototype, kneeling on the loft floor refining the details full scale. It was fantastic.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
DD: On airplanes, when I am forced to finally slow down.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
DD: A strong sense of discovery.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
DD: Hard to describe… a very deep satisfaction. A feeling that the right balance has been achieved.

FS: What makes a design successful?
DD: I have to quote Henry Dreyfuss, who once said: “If people are mader safer, more comfortable, more eager to purchase, more efficient, or just happier, the designer has succeeded.”

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
DD: Does it truly provide a solution? Does it add anything new to the discussion? Or does it only serve the ego of the designer.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
DD: Being at the front end of the development process, we have a responsibility towards the environment, as our design decisions always have an impact down the road that we should be aware off.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
DD: The design field is constantly evolving – the tools, the nature of the projects, the connections between fields of expertise, etc. But the process remain the same at its core.

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?
DD: I grew up in France, was educated in Paris, lived mostly in New York ,but also in Shanghai. The world is full of inspirational experiences, but there is a deeply pragmatic approach to design in the US that certainly resonates with me.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
DD: Research, observe, investigate, ideate… then test and test and test. It is all about empathy, trying new ideas and being humble – not being afraid to be wrong.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
DD: Design is about empathy, not ego.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
DD: Positive: every project is a new challenge. Negative: lack of sleep!

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
DD: More than skills, it is curiosity that drives designers. But sketching (on paper, digitally, in 3D) is also key.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
DD: It can take anywhere from 6 to 24 months.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
DD: I most enjoy working with my team. They are incredibly talented and have produced some great designs.


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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