Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Alessandra D'alessio & Alyssa Vani (AV) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Alessandra D'alessio & Alyssa Vani by clicking here.
Interview with Alessandra D'alessio & Alyssa Vani 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?
AV: Alessandra D’Alessio: I have always wanted to pursue a career in the visual arts ever since I was a little girl. I grew up with a passion for drawing, painting and designing as a child and could always be found drawing pictures or making crafts. School and summer art camps helped me foster my love for the visual arts and allowed me to excel in the creative field. Alyssa Vani: With myself, I never really thought that a design background would be a career that I would pursue. As a child I was always really good at math and the sciences, however I did always have a hidden talent for art. I was really good at painting and doing all kinds of crafts in Elementary School, but it wasn’t until High school that I truly realized that Design was where I wanted to go. Now I love any arts from hands on work and model making, all the way to advanced computer graphics. From there forward I’ve always been so happy with my choice, knowing that I would not want to be doing anything else.
FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
AV: Both of us have just completed our second year of studies at the Ryerson School of Interior Design. The Ryerson School of Interior Design is located in the heart of downtown Toronto and is one of Ontario’s oldest university degree granting interior design programs. The school first opened in 1948 and is focused on teaching young designers through experiential and hands on learning techniques. The Ryerson School of Interior Design has been named one of the top three design schools in the world, alongside Parsons The New School for Design in New York City and The Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. With emphasis on both studio and workshop courses, students learn to foster their creativity and passions through the rigorous curriculum.
FS: What is "design" for you?
AV: For us, design is about coming up with new and innovative solutions. It is about bringing fresh ideas to the table and exploring your creative train of thought. The way we are taught is to really focus on the concept of your design because the best work always comes out of many, many iterations of your ideas.
FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
AV: We are both very interested in Interior Design. Alessandra D’Alessio: I have a particular interest in product and graphic design as well. Alyssa Vani: I would say that I am also interested in product design as I love to build things with my hands, but I truly am interested in graphic design and the things that can derive as an outcome of our advanced technology.
FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
AV: Alessandra D’Alessio: My favourite design is a pair of high heal sandals I created using only five pieces of white Bristol board. No adhesives such as glue, staples or tape were involved in the making of the shoes. This was a very challenging first year university project I had completed. It is my favourite design so far because although it was an extremely difficult challenge to overcome, the nature of the project allowed me to really think outside of the box and take my creativity to the next level. Alyssa Vani: My favourite design would have to be this series of models that we had to make for one of our classes in second year university. It consisted of four models of the same building, and each time we had to do our research and come up with our own interpretation of the circulation, sightlines, detail and parti, without having ever visited the space. It was fun to build models that were never actually literal of the building but to my version of it and then being able to compare it with others that had the same site. It was my favourite design project so far as it allowed me to put my own touch of creativity into a pre-existing design.
FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
AV: Alessandra D’Alessio: My favourite material is a sketching pencil or paintbrush. My favourite artistic medium to work with is graphite or oil paint. Alyssa Vani: Acrylic and watercolour paints would have to be my favourite artistic medium. My favourite technology platform currently is AutoCAD, the Adobe Suite and a 3D modeling program that we are learning called Rhinoceros.
FS: When do you feel the most creative?
AV: Alessandra D’Alessio: I feel most creative when I am sitting outside in my backyard at home sketching, or when I am riding the subway every morning to school. The long ride in silence allows me to think through some of my designs and come up with ways to improve them. Alyssa Vani: I feel the most creative when I can explore the world we live in, and be inspired by everyday things. I also love to be in a creative environment like our studio at school, where I can constantly bounce my ideas off of other creative souls and think of new ways to improve my designs.
FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
AV: Alessandra D’Alessio: I tend to focus a lot of my time on the initial concept development stage through countless sketches and ideations. My ideas are best communicated through drawings. I also like to focus a lot of my time on the fabrication stage of the design project, where I get to take my sketches and turn them into a reality. Alyssa Vani: As we have stated before, we are taught to focus on the initial concept, and work through many iterations of it. So for myself as well I do put a lot of focus on the initial concept in addition to making mock-up models of the actual design, whether it is by hand or through a computer program.
FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
AV: Alessandra D’Alessio: When I am in the “design zone” I feel ready, concentrated and passionate. It is very exciting to be fully immersed in a project you feel passionate about and have to ability to improve it and watch it develop overtime. Alyssa Vani: Design makes me very happy. Everyday my interest in it grows more and more, growing my passion for design with it. It can be stressful at times when your desired outcome isn’t working as planned, but that’s just the way of design. When you go back to the drawing board and finally end up with this amazing proposal, all of the struggle in the process makes it feel like so much more of a success.
FS: What makes a design successful?
AV: We believe that hard work, dedication, persistence and patience are the key factors that need to come together to make a design successful. A design is hardly ever successful in its first few attempts. From experience we can say that the final outcome is always a product of countless ideations coming together at different times and the process of always going back to your work.
FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
AV: When judging a design as good or bad, we both think it’s important to look at the entire process of the project, from its early stages to its final ideations and throughout its fabrication stage. A good design will have a thorough story to tell when it comes to its development from beginning to end.
FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
AV: From our point of view, it is the responsibility of the designer to find a way to make their designs environmentally friendly and environmentally conscious. This has to do with making the right choices for materials based on their properties and the effect they will have on the environment. It is also very important to design with the benefit of society in mind. It is best to start off by asking yourself “whom does this design cater to and how will it make their life better or easier?”
FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
AV: The future of design lies in environmental and sustainable solutions. The design field is moving greatly towards adaptive reuse projects and finding new ways to reuse old materials. We believe that the future of design is all about how to improve our quality of life through innovative and resourceful thinking.
FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
AV: An exhibition of some of our work will be held at the Ryerson School of Interior Design Year End Show in downtown Toronto, which is an annual exhibition of the best works from students in years one through four. The Year End Show will open on April 21st 2016 and run until April 28th 2016.
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: We both both live right outside of Toronto in a city called Vaughan in Ontario, Canada. We live at home and go to school in the heart of the city so we believe that our daily travel of leaving our quiet neighborhoods and entering a loud, and busy city has influenced the way we design.
FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
AV: The project began when we were trying to find a way to create a product that would enhance someone’s way of life. We had many different initial ideas however decided that designing a product that would improve a blind or visually impaired person’s way of life was the direction we wanted to go in.
FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
AV: Our advice to young artists and designers is to work hard and have patience. Do not lose sight of your goals and follow your passion. Good things take time and hard work most definitely pays off. You will find your niche through many years of practicing and creating.
FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
AV: We spend a lot of time working with just a pencil and paper to get our ideas flowing initially. Throughout the entire stage of a project and depending on the nature of the project itself, we use software programs such as: AutoCAD, Rhino, Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, PowerPoint and Microsoft Word to bring our ideas to life. We also spend a lot of our time in our Workshop at the university where we frequently use the laser printer and different machinery and hand held tools.
FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
AV: Alessandra D’Alessio: I truly enjoy so many different aspects of design, from interior design to graphic design. However, my true passion lies in drawing and oil painting, as well as product design. I love projects that are hands on, where I have to chance to manipulate materials and make things on my own. I am most confident and effective with just a pen and paper. Alyssa Vani: The design work I enjoy the most is a mixture of interior, product, and graphic design. Each field has something that interests me and they always allow for me to mix things up once and a while. I also love to combine these fields together in every design that I create. I believe this hybrid platform allows for ample creativity, as I have a skill and passion for both the hands on and computer generated portion of all these fields.
FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
AV: Alessandra D’Alessio: After graduating from the Ryerson School of Interior Design in May of 2018, I plan on getting a master’s degree in interior design or industrial design. I am also thinking about getting my masters of Business Administration. From there I plan on becoming a certified interior designer. Alyssa Vani: Upon graduation after my four years at Ryerson School of Interior Design, also in May 2018, I plan to work the allotted amount of hours in the design field so that I can write the NCIDQ Examination to become an accredited Interior Designer. In the process of that, I may look into going back to school to master in Marketing or get my real-estate license.
FS: How can people contact you?
AV: Alessandra D’Alessio: I can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org Alyssa Vani: I can be contacted by email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
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