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Interview with Mauricio Issa

Home > Designer Interviews > Mauricio Issa

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

Interview with Mauricio Issa at Sunday 23rd of October 2016
Mauricio Issa
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?
MI: Since I have memory, I've been interested in building things. I started building balsa wood models with a Dremel Mototool and a glue gun that I got from an uncle, then I started to buy more advanced tools to build breakfast tables, side tables, I even got into custom car sound systems with a friend. all this with no background at all, just for fun. My parents kept feeding that desire and allowed me to do pretty much any mess that i wanted in the garage. Then I came to USA on 2006 on an exchange program and the funny thing is that our school had one of the best wood shops, I learned a lot and made nice wooden projects. My other passion is always been entrepreneurship, so I decided to study Industrial Engineering in of the best business schools in Colombia, Icesi University. They have a double degree program, so when I was in 5th semester of engineering I started in parallel Industrial Design, I knew that it was going to happen since day 1 but I started engineering first because it would take me less time to validate both at the same time. It was a worthy sacrifice.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
MI: Arlo Skye is a New York ­based travel brand for the design obsessed. The company focuses on travel goods based on three main pilars, an uncompromising focus on quality, elegance and practical intelligence. People should feel different using the products from the brand. The first product is The Carry-On, but the idea is to extend the range to soft-goods and checked pieces.

FS: What is "design" for you?
MI: For me design is " thinking creatively ahead"

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
MI: I like mass production products, thing that you can use and are not just for a museum. I really like solutions that make changes in people lives, it doesn't matter if is small or simple, just one simple positive change.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
MI: I love things that fit on the context and work. I really like the A9 from Bang and Oluffsen, it is simply beautifull and the sound is perfect and the Emeco navy chair, because I can trow it from a balcony and it will survive, it is simply indestructible. I absolutely love the serif TV the Bourellec brothers did for Samsung and I also love the Hippo Roller from Pettie Petzer and Johan Jonker, I think its a really good solution for the context in which is used for.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
MI: I worked on a new packaging for High End Bed Sheets, for a Colombian Brand while I was at College.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
MI: All kinds of wood, I just love how it blends with everything. I have to say that one of the things i enjoy the most is hand prototyping, 3D print is a big think in my life right now, but I'm really interested in learning about Arduino.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
MI: When I'm not thinking that I need to be creative. random places. That is why learning about a lot, allows you to have a broader mindset about the things you do.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
MI: I believe the concept and story behind it, are probably the most important things. these are the main pillars for a design solution.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
MI: I love to daydream, it nurtures my process, thoughts, feelings and goals. but as a normal human being my feelings go from joy to anger. It is really hard for me to get mad at something.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
MI: it is hard to describe, I always have a sense of fulfillment and happiness of doing something that somebody likes.

FS: What makes a design successful?
MI: Thinking on it as a whole. Not just an isolated product or service but part of a systemic approach, measuring impacts on different fields.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
MI: the process behind, the concept, the idea, the execution. Sometimes really great designs are underestimated just because they do not look or what people was expecting but the idea works great and the concept is perfect for that idea. That is why I like taking the time to see the idea and process behind.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
MI: Sustainable design is possible and we have seen it. We need more designers to push forward thinking towards these ideas inside organizations, Designers CEOs that push sustainability ideas, no matter if the revenue is a little affected. If we do not do that, there will be no world to save pretty soon.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
MI: with the time design is becoming more " in-tangible", which is good because allows us to work within any area of an organization. I think designers will become highly relevant within organizations and we are going to see a lot of CDOs in companies that didn't have the, and CEOs that are designers.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
MI: I presented a project in the Wanted Design 2015, Colombia Design Booth called "Rana" along with a friend, Dario Narvaez.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
MI: I like reading about interesting things that have nothing to do with design, you never know where you can find inspiration. Architecture is a great source of inspiration for me, i love learning about the history of the buildings, you can learn a lot about how the context influenced the design in that specific moment. Also, long walks along with music. Looking for what is new to the market, what is trendy, what is not.

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?
MI: it is basic, changes a little depending on the project but i like simple useful lines with meaning. I'm obsessed with displays, the interaction with the design needs to be seamless

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?
MI: Right now I'm based in NYC. Colombia has good design schools although we do not have a huge heritage in design as a Country. I think living and growing there and be able to live and work abroad has made my mindset shift. It made it broader.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
MI: Not only looking for cool portfolios and awards but people that actually is a team-player and mixed backgrounds.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
MI: Always start with a brief or a basic idea in a notebook. The notebook is essential because i put there everything that comes to my mind event if is not related to the project. then I do some research for exiting similar ideas or just inspiration and keep sketching in my notebook. after I filtered the ideas, I start developing them in the PC, but always keep sketching ideas to introduce to your process. it is a cycle, so sometimes you go back and start again. Then mock ups and prototypes to validate concepts and ideas. and then more development. The process always vary depending on the project, but this is how pretty much I always approach my personal projetcs.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
MI: Marshall Stanmore Bluetooth speaker, I love the mix of vintage with new technology. My watch, because of what it means to me. My Arlo Skye Carry On in matte black. simply bad ass. Red mini Cubebot. meaining GoPro with accessories, that thing is pretty clever.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
MI: it is pretty basic: Gym to sweat the stress - Work - daydream - iced coffee - read on Flipboard - work on personal things at night and cook my meals.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
MI: I'm still on that category but I'd say that, keep learning about whatever you want, never settle because that is the only way to nurture creativity.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
MI: is positive that you can impact people lives, improve them. and is negative that it is still underestimated as a career just to make furniture for rich people.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
MI: keep asking questions, even if you think they are stupid. sometimes those are really importannt and nobody thought about them.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
MI: curiosity, empathy, humbleness and team-playerness as a I call it.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
MI: hardware would be - Lenovo laptop Workstation w540, wacom cintiq companion 2, Dremel Moto tool, notebook paper, markers colors and even crayons. I use a lot pinterest, le manoosh and design blogs. read a lot on flipboard about a lot of different stuff. i have books on design thinking, materials, and manufacturing.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
MI: I try to validate ideas quick asking a lot of questions to my self.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
MI: depends on the complexity, but it can take from weeks to years.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
MI: so, what do you mean you design a product ?

FS: What was your most important job experience?
MI: Working with Curve ID, great talented people. I owe them a lot.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
MI: while at Curve ID, worked on projects for All Clad, Colgate, WasauPaper and Perkin Elmer. Now Arlo Skye with the travel goods.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
MI: I like the projects that make someone smile when they see and use them.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
MI: Right now, keep working on what I'm doing right now. We will see what the future has to offer.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
MI: always team, working on a complex project by yourself is pretty much impossible i think. but when is a small personal project, I might do it alone or ask for feedback from friends that I trust a lot designwise.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
MI: some, can't share because are not personal projects.

FS: How can people contact you?
MI: llinkedIn or Facebook with my name. I'm really easy to reach and always open to collaborations of any type.


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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