Interview with Maurice Dery

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

Interview with Maurice Dery at Thursday 21st 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?
MD: I was interested in art when I was a kid in elementary school. I won an art competition when I was 10 years old, so I guess it’s always been there! My mother is very artistic, so it runs in the family.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
MD: My company, Karice Enterprises, is an artisan manufacturer. We work with metal to produce an array of custom projects, primarily custom lighting. We’ve been in business since 1993, and have always been based out of the Vancouver, Canada area.

FS: What is "design" for you?
MD: Art seeks expression. Design seeks solutions. I'm looking for both in all original pieces I create. Design is all about purpose. It navigates and overcomes seemingly impossible challenges with solutions that are technically functional and aesthetically beautiful. Art, on the other hand, is articulate. It is the culmination and expression of skill and understanding. I aim to reflect both artistry and thoughtful design in all I do. I only want to take on projects that others are afraid to. I believe the intersection of art and design is daring, explorative, and adventurous in achieving solutions. It's also expressive and aesthetically pleasing. It's master workmanship: balancing beauty with functionality. This balance is what I seek in each original piece I create. As such, I consider myself an artisan: a practical craftsman who is one half artist and one half designer.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
MD: Challenging ones! I love to make the seemingly “impossible” possible. If you tell me it can’t be done, I love proving it can! Specifically though, large chandeliers are probably my favourite product type to create.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
MD: The Sprocket. I can’t tell you too much about it as we aren’t releasing it for a few more weeks! But I can tell you this: it showcases 37 years of metalworking experience in the most sophisticated way possible, while producing a clean and simple looking design.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
MD: A stair rail, if you can believe it!

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
MD: Metal. Steel specifically because I know it the best. My father was an ironworker for 55 years, so I come by it naturally! (His brother, my uncle, was an ironworker, too.)

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
MD: Sitting in the bathtub at 10pm at night, finally relaxing at the end of a hard day’s work.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
MD: Realism. I prefer mimicking real life objects, rather than the abstract. I do abstract but I don’t enjoy it as much. I like my work to be clearly defined, and I like to challenge myself in construction techniques. Like The Sprocket: it is true to its shape and form.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
MD: Oh! I’m happy. I feel exhilarated. I feel anxious to see the final results. I love seeing my thoughts come to life.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
MD: Satisfaction. It’s very rewarding.

FS: What makes a design successful?
MD: A successful design is one that solves a problem or moves the profession forward. It makes a contribution. This is achieved when a design is both beautiful and functional, giving it value and purpose.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
MD: Quality of finish.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
MD: I always like to ask the question: “Is the piece selfish and exclusively about me and my expression, or is it generous and purposeful - making a positive impact on those it interacts with?” That is what differentiates the finest work: it is responsible and forward-thinking. The same goes for environmental consideration. We are to be good stewards of our resources and planet, and aim to leave the world a better place for future generations.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
MD: Collaboration. The synergy that comes when diverse disciplines unite with a common purpose is powerful. I believe in teamwork, not just with my internal team but with other leaders in the industry. The more generous we are in working together, the greater our innovation will be. The leaders of the future will be the collaborators who can best bring highly talented people of diverse disciplines together.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
MD: BUILDEX Vancouver, in February 2016, was the last exhibition I attended. Although my work was displayed at the Architectural Digest Design Show in New York City in March 2016. The next exhibition I will be personally attending and displaying at is the Interior Design Show Vancouver in September 2016.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
MD: Everyday life.

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?
MD: True to form. Meaning: I prefer not to be an abstract designer. I like things to be refined and defined.

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?
MD: I live with my family in Surrey, a coastal suburb of Vancouver, BC, Canada. This is increasingly becoming a world-class city for innovative design. I think this is a result of a combination of things: Vancouver’s adventurous pioneer heritage, the natural awe-inspiring beauty of the region, and the melting pot of diverse ethnicities. This creates a haven for inspiration and creativity. We’re also a very entrepreneurial people. We’re not afraid to take risks and do what hasn’t been done before. As a designer, it is a healthy atmosphere to be surrounded by. However, Canada is a very young country, and Vancouver in particular is a relatively new city (it’s a little over a hundred years old). As such, we do not have the depth of history and heritage of most other countries and cities. And in the design world, we still seem to lack an identity. Thankfully that’s changing, as Canadian west coast design and craftsmanship begins to be recognized across the globe.

FS: How do you work with companies?
MD: Collaboratively. I take my skills and expertise in design and metalwork and apply those to help others reach their final goal.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
MD: Look at their skills and abilities, by looking at their track record and longevity. If they have an outstanding portfolio but they’ve only been in the business for two years, you need to think twice about how honest they’re being. No amount of talent can make an expert overnight. A true master will have years and years and years of consistently creating brilliant designs - from start to finish. Age does not make a master. Consistently innovating and pushing creative boundaries over many years does.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
MD: Whether it is our own concept or a client’s idea, we begin by solidify the conceptual drawings and design objective. We then draft our initial designs and being developing prototypes. We always have formal blueprints drafted before prototyping, and we always prototype before production begins. Once we’re happy with a prototype, we then begin production.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
MD: (1) A trellis that I designed for my wife 23 years ago. (2) A nautilus bench (3) My boat! It has beautiful, beautiful lines. (4) My system of McIntosh amps (5) A quad rack I designed for carrying four full-sized ATVs on a shortbox truck

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
MD: Every day is different. Very different! Some days I am at my computer creating concepts and drafting designs. Other days I’m experimenting and building prototypes. Still others, I am on the shop floor finishing the final product. But every day I am leading my team and interacting with clients, while trying to make room in each day to be creative and explore new ideas.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
MD: Develop practical skills. Great ideas are common, but excellent execution is rare - really rare! Few people have the skillset to actually bring their ideas to life. Few can actually create the brilliant design. Also, know that the difference between good and great is in the little details. Master the basics. Truly become an expert on all the fundamentals of your discipline, and over time you will be known as the best in your field.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
MD: Positives: You get to create things! It is very fulfilling to have an idea, design and develop it, and then see it through to completion. Being a designer is very rewarding. Negatives: Finding the balance between confidence and humility is the greatest challenge of any designer, in my opinion. You have to be confident but you must be humble. If you lose sight of either, you will fail altogether. When no one knows about you, it is hard to persevere and continually perfect your work. And when you’re successful, it is equally challenging to continue pushing forward - the temptation is to sit back and enjoy your success.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
MD: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. As a designer, seek excellence. Seek innovation. Seek originality...with EVERY project! When a client hires you, treat the design with the same level of care and attention that you would if it was your own. Make other people famous because of the amazing work you do for them. Such an approach will ensure you are always in high demand! And, in time, you will receive your dues.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
MD: To be able to actually create the design you come up with. If you can’t create it, why design it? Having a technical understanding of how things work is critical.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
MD: For Design: AutoCAD For Development: I stick to metalwork, so I do a lot of fabrication - TIG and MIG welding, grinding, etc. - as well as machining and waterjet cutting.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
MD: Good question! This is something I struggle with every day. It is hard to balance creativity with productivity. And, truthfully, I believe the answer is teamwork. By having a high quality team, you can rely on others to carry the load. If you’re doing everything yourself, you don’t have the time to pursue your inspirations.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
MD: A day. A week. A month? It entirely depends on the project. Some stuff we have developed from start to finish in an afternoon. Other projects have a life of their own. We have had some designs that took six months to complete.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
MD: “Can you build this?”

FS: What was your most important job experience?
MD: In my late twenties, I decided to make a career change out of ironworking, after replacing a coworker who was blown off a bridge. After that, I decided to refine my metalworking skills and get a machining ticket.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
MD: Earls Kitchen + Bar has been a client for 20 years. I’ve developed custom lighting and metalwork for most of their restaurants across North America. Most of the major premium casual dining restaurant chains in Canada have been our clients over the years.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
MD: Challenging, supposedly “impossible” projects that others are afraid of. This is what excites me and really brings me to life. I love tackling an overwhelming challenge with design solutions. At the end of the day, solving problems is what I most enjoy.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
MD: More original pieces. I want to keep pushing the creative envelope, and leave a legacy that my son is proud to inherit.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
MD: I prefer to work as a team. Too often though, my designs are completely my own. But as I age, I am making a concerted effort to pass on my knowledge and skills to the next generation, so I am co-designing with younger designers as much as possible.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
MD: The Sprocket. We have just finished a 10-foot by 10-foot feature chandelier that is a fully functioning to-scale sprocket. It is probably the best work I’ve ever done, and fully culminates my 37 years in the industry. It'll be released to the public soon.

FS: How can people contact you?
MD: Phone: 1-604-542-7137 Email: Instagram: @kariceenterprises

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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