Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Amee Vora (AV) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Amee Vora by clicking here.
Interview with Amee Vora at Saturday 23rd 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?
AV: As a child, I was always fascinated with everything that was crafted by hand. It began with an interest in clay modelling at the age of 4. By the time I turned 8, this interest had spread to other art forms, like sculpting with balsa wood, pottery, painting and mirror-work. My art teacher who was also an interior designer nurtured this interest and insisted I try my hand at architecture, even though I had made it to medical school.
FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
AV: The name AV 4th Dimension is a derivative of my initials and the 4th Dimension that was at the centre of the Dimensionist Manifesto signed in 1936 by various artists that talks about this dimension being symbolic of the advancement from 'line' to 'space'. The Design studio was established in 2010, and is adept at handling both interior design and architecture projects, for varying spaces like residential homes, hospitality ventures and commercial spaces.
FS: What is "design" for you?
AV: "Design" for me is way of life. It allows you to live beautifully.
FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
AV: Designing excites me and when i have the opportunity to create something exciting it gives me immense pleasure and satisfaction. This joy till now has been experienced by me the most when I have designed residential homes.
FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
AV: This is very difficult to answer as the endeavour in each project is to get in something new and fresh. But the one thing I like to do is to integrate an Indian artform, in some way, in each of my work as a tribute to India's rich and diverse culture. One particular large residential space with double height ceiling required me to design something unique. Here I took the opportunity to involve artists to paint a fresco depicting characters from India, which gave the space a very different identity.
FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
AV: Furniture products for bedroom spaces.
FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
AV: Metal is my favourite material; and then fusing it with wood in various ways and finishes is a challenge I always like to take on.
FS: When do you feel the most creative?
AV: I feel the most creative when in my comfort zone. That allows me to think freely and create without boundaries.
FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
AV: For me the flow of design elements and use of appropriate materials that narrate the story of the space. My focus is to ensure that I get right each time, every time.
FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
AV: I need to be at peace to start designing in the first place. But post that, the act of designing is too fulfilling to leave any space for another emotion.
FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
AV: Joy and fulfillment.
FS: What makes a design successful?
AV: The success begins with understanding the client needs and creating an aesthetic and functional envelope around them. The pre-requisite to success is also the clarity of thought on the client's part about what they want and their ability to articulate these needs. It also depends on collaboration: the people who stand with you, are willing to experiment and stay motivated through the entire process.
FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
AV: Finishing, flow of materials (basically whether the story is complete or not), and whether the functionality has been maintained. It has to be a user-friendly space.
FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
AV: Make life better. Create opportunities - especially in case of artisans who are struggling to make a living. Occasionally, also educating the people about living with the times.
FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
AV: Over the next few years, design will become a way of life, and not stay restricted to a certain segment of the society. Considering the economic upheaval of recent times, the shift is going to be towards products and services imbued with more value.
FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
AV: The last exhibition was three years ago! Thereafter interior and architecture projects have left little time to participate in such events. First available opportunity.
FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
AV: Reading, observing, travelling, experiencing new experiences... All these are triggers to looking at things with fresh eyes.
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?
AV: My design style is contemporary. It is a continuously evolving style, which gives me enough elbow room to try different things. Approach to design: client satisfaction.
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?
AV: I live in Mumbai, india. Yes, cultural heritage definitely impacts my designs. Pros: diverse design forms. Cons: scalability since much of these artforms are handmade and the number of skilled artisans is also dwindling.
FS: How do you work with companies?
AV: The bulk of our work involves high networth individuals, and not companies.
FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
AV: Having the right company representative who liaises with creative individuals would help. But having said that, as I mentioned earlier, we deal with individuals and not companies.
FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
AV: Begins with the design brief goes through a creative process of several hand sketch variations which eventually culminate into a final design.
FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
AV: Suspension lamp (self-designed). Coffee table with stone marquetry. Charcoal sketches from Ajanta-Ellora caves. My coffee mug by Villeroy & Boch. My gel bed mattresses that is cooling and comfortable!
FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
AV: Wake up. Fix breakfast. Eat. Drop son to school. Work. Work. Work. Head home. Go for a walk. Eat dinner. Play board game. Sleep.
FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
AV: To start off, they need to be really hands on with the design process. Knowing the history of design is helpful, since that is where you can learn from the past and adapt these learnings to create a new language. And last but not the least, there is no substitute for hardwork and dedication.
FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
AV: Positives: Your are able to indulge your creativity. Negatives: You have to keep proving yourself all the time since this field is very subjective.
FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
AV: Keep at it. And never stop innovating.
FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
AV: Observation. The ability to adapt. Exploring new techniques in material applications.
FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
AV: Inside my toolbox: pencils and sketch pad. Outside the toolbox: fertile imagination.
FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
AV: Running an establishment is a time-consuming task because of the administrative angle of things, etc. When i have to think, till date, I get up really early - like 3am or so! If I am unable to do that for any reason, I just shut the door and put on the music - and put everything else on hold.
FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
AV: I design homes, and it can take anything from a few days to a few months!
FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
AV: How could you think of such wonderful design!!!!
FS: What was your most important job experience?
AV: An important job experience is when your thought process aligns with the clients'.
FS: Who are some of your clients?
FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
AV: Anything which has the scope to create something different.
FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
AV: To continue creating good work. To be in the moment.
FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
AV: It's teamwork, all the way. As I mentioned before, one of the important things for a design to be successful is good collaboration.
FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
AV: Currently, we are collaborating with two artisan communities for developing a product range and an installation.
FS: How can people contact you?
FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
AV: Every project is a collaborative effort, and may have several influencers. In the case of Luxury Indeaah Redefined, it was Ms Shweta Patel who played this role by adopting the rich material palette which gave the projects its final shape and sense of luxury.
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