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Interview with Envary Limited

Home > Designer Interviews > Envary Limited

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

Interview with Envary Limited at Wednesday 26th 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?
EL: Quite simply: An obsessive curiosity in how things are made and a drive to create compelling things that people find useful or delightful.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
EL: We (Roger Kellenberger & Stefan Ripperger) founded Envary on a shared theory that already ignited when working together as students on various projects in Berlin. With different creative backgrounds we always pushed each other’s concepts with creative sparks when one of us would get stuck. Since then our credo has not changed a notch: A cross-disciplinary team is stronger in developing iconic yet substantial work. It definitely helps the team (and client) a lot with each member being exposed to a distinctive set of creative, technical and cultural influences. This also plays as a huge advantage, because we always opt for projects that provide new exploration opportunities (for us... ways to learn). With product designers, visual artists, brand strategists and technology experts on board the combination of unique perspectives and knowhow enables us day by day to take on a wider horizon of design ideas, exploring unknown pathways more deeply and turning great concepts into reality.

FS: What is "design" for you?
EL: Design can have a significant impact on tiny as well as large fragments of people’s daily journeys (of what they have to do daily). In fact it can facilitate better interaction, make things bearable or simply help our clients to grow their brand. Factually speaking, to us design mostly involves the development of objects that need to fulfil a specific purpose. In today’s packed landscapes of commercial products this should mean that design should aim to be relevantly practical to people and their environments. That can be functionally, aesthetically, financially, sustainably or even purely by emphasising haptic sensation. When considered as a methodology design has to be closely tailored to the context of people, culture and technology, thoroughly finessing the space in-between the Zeitgeist and the proposed conceptual narrative. Great design is pure to the nature of its purpose, which is to make people’s daily tasks more easy, powerful or enjoyable.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
EL: Definitely the projects in which we get a very open brief, years of time, a forgiving client with deep pockets and a team of extraordinary technical talents to realise our ideas. Dreams aside, there is nothing particular, we just don’t like to do too much of the same stuff over and over again unless there is something great to learn or to conquer.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
EL: Whatever works to achieve the creative or qualitative vision of the design. We love to work with very adaptive as well as uniquely crafty materials, but ultimately the fascination of exploring new types of material technologies is one of the perks that keeps the nature of the creative process fresh and keeps us interested.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
EL: Most definitely aspects, which matter to the customer experience, to the cultural and functional context of the object as well as the client’s brand. Each design project has its unique layout of challenges, which will force you to adapt your focus onto other priorities. Although we love to ignite trends ourselves and push for award-winning work, quite often you have to build-up on existing trends and proven design architectures; all for the sake of reducing risk and increasing success certainty for the client. In truth most ground-breaking products pose a huge financial risk for any company, even large Fortune500 brands. It’s quite common knowledge that plenty of new products fail, thus clients act very thoroughly when first launching something innovative to the market. Overall, as a cross-disciplinary design studio we are definitely aiming to collaborate with clients who are very forward-thinking and ambitious, empowering us to work within very open boundaries and qualitative priorities. As such – and this absolutely depends on the technical capabilities, resources and priorities of a client – we sometimes focus on re-thinking the whole product architecture, trying to enhance the archetypical functions of the object by evaluating how well intrinsic user tasks or activities are fulfilled in different use scenarios. Basically, this can mean for us to develop a completely new layout of all functional components, to re-structure the whole (physical) user interface or to use completely new materials. The latter is increasingly complex and takes significant development time (and knowhow). In other project situations the team may focus purely on aesthetic priorities, assisting a style-driven brand to add a very iconic product to their portfolio able to differentiate very strongly versus competitor products (which is most often a market advantage). In contrast artisanal brands may request the aesthetic and quality dimensions to strongly focus on craftsmanship-driven story-telling, hence using extravagant materials, construction and details to convey a deeper conceptual or cultural meaning within the object character. Hence it is usually a mix of priorities, but most often the key to an impactful design is defined by one principle: To develop better products that are easy-to-use, user-centred, iconically shaped, compellingly delightful yet brand-driven, sustainable and/or more cost-effective.

FS: What makes a design successful?
EL: We have no absolute solution yet, otherwise we would be flying jets and slacking in exclusive hangouts all day long. If the design is a very commercial product then success might be measured purely in sales numbers, thus it has to resonate with a large customer base, for another client it might be singularly well-spoken media recognition or awards. As long as you don’t create your own art, but rather design objects or products on commission for various clients there will be always some type of underlying business priority that matters in the short and long term. At the end of the day, design is not only art.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
EL: Which problems it addresses creatively or functionally and which circumstances are meaningfully considered.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
EL: Having our studio in an urbanly dense place such as Hong Kong we see up close the (negative) impact of short-lived products, extravagant materialistic packagings and other decorative items on the environment. Having our studio setup here the urge to push for more sustainable design solutions grew bigger. For example in 2016 after massive rainfalls and flooding in the region HK’s coastal areas faced a sea of waste. It was shocking how much stuff floated around and spilled onto the shores. Swimming in the water was a truly nasty experience and beaches were full of waste. With the amount of trash (or ‘landfill’) that is produced every day, designers definitely have a mission to influence the reduction of waste either by using easy to recycle materials, regionally sourced components or to extend product longevity.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
EL: Formerly regional and strongly-cultural influenced aspects are slowly disappearing, yet partially remerging in the global design language. It’s kind of a universal cultural mash-up. Most of these cultural fragments are not distinctively original any more and have been adapted. So we are going in the direction of a universal design language. We find this a bit sad, but think that on a regional level craftsmen and young designers will still dig into past times and revive forgotten elements of design or crafts.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
EL: Traveling, exhibitions, daily life on the streets, artisan crafts and nature. We try to get away from sourcing any design-focused inspiration via Pinterest or Google because it really stifles your ability to create original designs. Sometimes out of laziness.

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?
EL: It’s holistic, but there is no certain style. We dive deeply into context research, spend a lot of time with materials and passionately shape out details, but that’s about it.

FS: How do you work with companies?
EL: Collaborative and on the same eye level.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
EL: Look out specifically for designers that initially try to figure out your problems by asking critical questions, providing detailed elaborations on the challenges and opportunities of working together. Designers must be able to anticipate your situation in the big picture.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
EL: We always adapt and tailor it. Insights and explorations always come first.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
EL: Be critical of your own decisions, create useful and relevant objects, don’t compare yourself too much to what’s out there, instead develop your individual method and look (even it you think it is not as polished as some designs you see on Pinterest or Behance)

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
EL: The creation of objects or products takes up valuable time of your life, so make it meaningful. Substance matters when you look back 10 years at what you have done.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
EL: Communication, Communication and holistic thinking. A designer without communicative abilities will get stuck in the process when working with clients, manufacturers, suppliers, freelancers or retailers. You always need to hone these skills in order to articulate aspects of your profession very precisely. That includes understanding the true meaning of words in the same way you would learn what a color means to the human mind.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
EL: Not really important, every tool that you feel comfortable with to produce great stuff works.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
EL: Sometimes a few months, occasionally years.

FS: How can people contact you?
EL: Search for us on google ;)


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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