Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Helene Steiner (HS) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Helene Steiner by clicking here.
Interview with Helene Steiner 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?
HS: The bioLogic team is an interdisciplinary and international team of designers, engineers and scientists.
FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
HS: The Tangible Media Group, led by Professor Hiroshi Ishii, explores the Tangible Bits & Radical Atoms visions to seamlessly couple the dual world of bits and atoms by giving dynamic physical form to digital information and computation.
FS: What is "design" for you?
HS: Design has many aspects for me. It can be a method to understand problems and create solutions and new concepts but also a process of shaping your ideas to make them reality.
FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
HS: The beauty of my work is that each project is a new challenge not comparable to the previous.
FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
HS: Nature is for me still unbeaten in it’s design. It combines complexity, functionality and simplicity.
FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
HS: During my studies I worked at CuldeSac in Valencia an interdisciplinary Design Studio. That was my first contact with the real market. But the other team-members have all different experiences with a big variety of companies and markets.
FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
HS: I always choose the material, platform and technology based on what is the best solution for the project. Each material has it’s own beauty. Each technology it’s own purpose and each platform it’s own target group.
FS: When do you feel the most creative?
HS: After exchanging with an inspiring person that opens up new perspectives for me in conversations.
FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
HS: Each stage of a project needs a different focus and method. I enjoy being involved in the whole process of a project.
FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
HS: Joy, excitement, fear, passion
FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
HS: Release as it is the point to start a new journey
FS: What makes a design successful?
HS: If it works, sustainable and longterm
FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
HS: I am looking at the depth of research, if the person understands the context or challenge right, the originality of the concept, it’s sustainability and quality of fabrication. The best design is minimal but has complexity behind it.
FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
HS: A designer has to consider the impact of his product in society, economy and ecology.
FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
HS: There are many futures because there are many different types of designers. But I do see myself in a field of design where disciplines blur and the designer takes the role of a communicator between the fields to bring them together and create new fields and products through this fusion.
FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
HS: The last exhibition was at the 30th Anniversary of the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, USA and we are looking forward to exhibit bioLogic at the A Design Award.
FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
HS: The world around us. The people around me. There is everywhere inspiration around when you walk around with open eyes and an open mind.
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?
HS: I am influenced by my studies at the Bauhaus. Form follows function. But my style has also influences by all my different experiences I made during my life. But everybody of the biologic team has it’s own style.
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?
HS: I am currently living in London and Cambridge (UK) but lived at many places around the world. London is a very vibrant and international capitol and gives many opportunities for my type of work. Most of the other team members are currently finishing their studies at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge (US). Cambridge and especially the MIT Media Lab is a very intellectual and inspiring place that often feels like that even impossible gets possible.
FS: How do you work with companies?
HS: We often start collaborations that come out of a research the companies get interested in and want to investigate and take part in. Each collaboration is different regarding to the project.
FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
HS: I think there is no suggestion for how to work with a designer in particular. But in more general I think it is important that there is enough exchange happening between the different disciplines. Communication is the key.
FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
HS: Exploration, Experimentation, Ideation, Design, Communication
FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
HS: The old camera collection of my grandfather and the toy collection of my mother and her brothers when they were children
FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
HS: Each day is different to the other.
FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
HS: Explore, get out of your comfort zone, learn how to communicate your insights and thoughts and share them.
FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
HS: For me design is a destiny and part of my life. One positive and negative aspect is that you are constantly in motion.
FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
HS: Be open for criticism.
FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
HS: Lateral thinking and curiosity
FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
HS: My toolbox is expanding with each project.
FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
HS: Being wise with decision making of what are important tasks and what are secondary ones but it is important to take breaks to reflect.
FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
HS: That depends on the object and project.
FS: What was your most important job experience?
HS: bioLogic was for me the most important job experience I made. It helped me to reach a new level of skill sets and influenced my design heavily.
FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
HS: I like most the change between the different challenges a project brings.
FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
HS: I am working currently as a Post Doc Researcher / Designer at Microsoft Research and most of the other team members are currently finalizing their studies.
FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
HS: I enjoy working in a team because every good project needs a good variety of skill sets.
FS: How can people contact you?
HS: People can contact us best at email@example.com
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