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Interview with Snorre Stinessen

Home > Designer Interviews > Snorre Stinessen

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Snorre Stinessen (SS) for A’ Design Award and Competition. You can access the full profile of Snorre Stinessen by clicking here.

Interview with Snorre Stinessen at Sunday 23rd of April 2017

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?
SS: My education is architecture and industrial design from Norway and Italy. I did not really have a set goal or even a clear understanding of architecture and design when I started my education, actually perhaps just recently ;-) I have also done completely different work in my career, which at the end truly made me appreciate the fantastic privilege it is for me to be an architect.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
SS: It is originally a one man studio, but I now have a very talented assistant working from Italy. We undertake various kind of projects, but always with the philosophy of close interaction with the customer and a search for a strong conceptual idea which answers to both the clients need/scope and the site/surroundings.

FS: What is "design" for you?
SS: Design to me is perhaps an individual or unique approach to both understanding and answering to a task, problem, product etc.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
SS: Comprehensive projects where I am involved throughout the design process. in terms of a building that is both interiors and exteriors and sometimes even furniture. Large or small is not important.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
SS: In product design Apple is an easy choice because they have been so design driven and focused - and partly by that so far ahead of its competitors. Now we see how an entire industry has followed. But, for me personally the architectural works of Sverre Fehn was an early inspiration.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
SS: Lamps and railing systems for a cinema.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
SS: Pen and paper

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
SS: I try very hard not to be fall into routine, because I strongly believe intuition is important to find a comprehensive and interesting approach to my conceptual ideas. So, I guess anytime me and my subconsciousness is ready :-)

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
SS: A clear conceptual idea.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
SS: I guess the same as anybody else; joy, frustration, joy, frustration, more frustration etc. But, I just love it when I feel I am on the right track - that´s a good a drug as anything!

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
SS: If the end-result is as envisaged it is certainly a sense of completion; reaching the end of a long journey. But, as we don´t control everything to the end result there are certainly also often some mixed feelings.

FS: What makes a design successful?
SS: In my mind finding and honing a clear conceptual idea.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
SS: I try not to judge others work. I know what I like, but that is also a personal thing.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
SS: Certainly trying to do your best work on every project. By that I also mean you need to be personally involved.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
SS: Difficult question as I also feel we should be careful to over-design everything, at least just for the sake of design. Nature is the best designer we have and it seems like there is a growing movement of including sustainable solutions, materials and even nature itself in both architecture and design. Hopefully that can continue as a guideline without trying to manipulate nature too much.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
SS: I was fortunate to have two projects exhibited at Biennale di Venezia last year.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
SS: My sources of inspiration may be many and varied, but specifically it should be site and customer/scope when designing a building.

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?
SS: I do not have any deliberate design 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?
SS: I live in Northern Norway, small town called Tromsø, and the closeness to nature and sometimes harsh weather conditions have certainly affected my thinking.

FS: How do you work with companies?
SS: I am a strong believer of communication, listening and during the development of the process also discussing and agreeing on the way ahead.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
SS: My main advice would be the same as I would give myself - trusting your designer (or in my case the client); not blindly of course, but in a manner that you try to understand and appreciate the rationale behind their design or critique.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
SS: My process is most often one of trying to understand my customer or the scope as best as I can, and understanding the site if applicable; before I do allow myself to have too many ideas of the design itself. The goal is to find a comprehensive conceptual idea that me and my customer can agree upon. During the project development dialogue is important both to test what you are doing and also to make your customer feel at home with what you are developing.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
SS: Our water cooker by Frank Gehry, our B20 kitchen by Bulthaup, my tea cup found in Rome, my espresso cup from Tazza d´oro and

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
SS: I try to keep my days as flexile as I can - also because we are a family of five and we all enjoy our time together. But, I too have office time, after which I shop for dinner and perhaps some wine, make dinner which we all enjoy together (often quite late by Norwegian standards to ensure all of us actually can come to dinner) and then I often work in the evenings as well. Work is certainly a large part of my life, but only because I enjoy it so much and have lots of interesting projects.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
SS: Try to find yourself and your own "language". It is the uniqueness of the individual approach that gives us great new ways of thinking and understanding. But, I also believe in studying and a respect and interest for what has been done by others, but from very old times and now in our time.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
SS: Mostly just positives, but I guess that is also my general approach to life ;-)

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
SS: Finding the right conceptual idea.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
SS: Creativity, but also problem solving and analytical skills.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
SS: Pen and paper. My approach to software is very basic. I use VectorWorks as a software.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
SS: Working longer hours and not letting the stress get to me.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
SS: That varies with the complexity of the task and many other factors.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
SS: Many very interesting projects from small to fairly large scale. One of the most exciting is an entire alpine destination and resort in Narvik.

FS: How can people contact you?
SS: By phone or e-mail.


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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