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Interview with Seedling Design Ltd

Home > Designer Interviews > Seedling Design Ltd

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

Interview with Seedling Design Ltd 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?
SL: Fabiana and I are graduated in architecture with Master degrees from the University of Italy and Argentina. We decided to became designers for the love of curiosity and to explore the limits of our ideas in the practical and tangible scale of the object design industry.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
SL: Our architecture and design company is based in Mombasa where we landed 5 years ago after about 10 years of professional experience around the world, mainly in Italy, Argentina, UK and USA. We both share the strong belief that nature is offering us everything we need to live a comfortable life therefore we should re-discover any humble and simple natural material and use it directly harvested from the nature as a solution for the impact that the design industry has on the environment.

FS: What is "design" for you?
SL: To design is to answer to a necessity with a functional and aesthetically elegant solution

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
SL: We specially like to work on light and household products

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
SL: Our favorite designs are always characterized by simplicity and subtle elegance

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
SL: Our first works were focused mainly on corporate identity and graphic design

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
SL: We share a deep love for natural materials, especially when harvested directly from nature and used with minimal modifications.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
SL: We both love to travel and our most creative moments happen probably during a visit to different countries and cultures.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
SL: As Architect we're both interested in the aesthetic quality of any object and at the same time I (Roberto) am more interested in technical details while Fabiana is the one with the practical sense and practical approach to production. We always said we improve each other designs.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
SL: Happiness, euphoria, stress, apathy all in a continuous cycle. for me (Fabiana) whenever I have an idea, I feel the urgency of stopping whatever I'm doing to start drawing in the air with my finger.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
SL: Pride and joy, relief and a strong desire to start again.

FS: What makes a design successful?
SL: Define the term "successful".... In an ideal world the "successful" formula is based on a mix of aesthetic, practical, cultural, social and economical factors. In the real world when a product is successful in terms of sales percentages, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's the best (if at all) design from an aesthetic and technical point of view, it doesn't even mean that it brought a positive social and cultural improvement to the community.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
SL: We all live in a narcissist society so the first aspect we all analyse is the aesthetic quality of an object. The shape of a product can attract you in many different way, from pleasure to disgust or curiosity and it immediately establish with the consumer an emotional link. The analysis on the functionality of the product come immediately after or even before according to Fabiana, as we believe that even the nicest object without even the simplest functionality is utterly useless. Otherwise, after our experience as volunteers for some community projects in Kenya we also recognize the importance of the positive impact that a product can have in every community.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
SL: Our responsibilities are enormous, as the creators of products used by the masses we have the chance to show how to live a comfortable and pleasant life using object that have a minimal impact on the environment in a cradle to cradle production setup.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
SL: The design industry has been deeply marked by the spread of academic education. Today we see thousand and thousand of designers around the world and in some way we lost that magical appeal that an object of design could have had for example in the sixties. On the other hand we are facing a major environmental and economical crisis and part of the problem is to be found in the mechanisms of mass production, if we want to increase our chances to survive we have to re-think our approach to industrial manufacturing, for example by using materials directly harvested from nature and by following a "producing on demand" philosophy

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
SL: Our last exhibition was at the Aliance Francaise in Nairobi whit our Baobab Tree installation holding more than 30 pendant lights and the equivalent amount of Baobab decors.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
SL: We take our inspiration from multiple disciplines: literature, art, cinema, biology, technology, fashion, through books, movies, magazines, internet and travels. Recently though has been the process of observing the nature and its biological patterns which mostly influenced our design.

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?
SL: DIY style ah ah...no, seriously, we both come from an architectural professional background and we never studied product design so we never think in term of style. Our style is the result of the materialization of our concepts through the less complex production process we can use.

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?
SL: We currently live in Kenya but we both come from Latin countries (Italy and Argentina) and of course we have been deeply affected by our cultures, full of historical and artistic marvels. In particular the Italian design culture had a profound impact in the design industry in the last century and it's sometime difficult to overcome the burden of such a prestigious heritage. At the moment though the hardest part of our job is related to the lack of "modern" design culture in Kenya and consequently the lack of workmanship and hi-end production facilities.

FS: How do you work with companies?
SL: We haven't yet work with other companies , but we are open minded and we believe that the future is in the collaboration of many disciplines and expertise.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
SL: Our design process usually start with a conversation during a meal, with one of us rushing to look for a piece of paper and a pen, then follow a drawing, after that a small scale model to understand feasibility and then boom... the sky is the limit!

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
SL: the giraffe chair we built for our son, the table we designed with as stump cut from a tree which fell down in one of the first compounds we lived in here in Kenya, the hedgehog pencil holder made from a Baobab tree pod, a lamp made with just one hanging coconut palm leaf, and our plywood minimalist sofa set.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
SL: Just do it, again and again until you find yourself in your design

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
SL: Humbleness and curiosity

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
SL: Like a tightrope walker

FS: Who are some of your clients?
SL: Most of our clients are private individual or entertainment and food businesses

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
SL: We are expanding our production line to maximize our sales with the aim of increasing the strength of our company

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
SL: Most of the time the initial concept comes from our individual creative effort, the concept is then refined though a collaborative process.

FS: How can people contact you?
SL: You can contact us directly by phone at +254704055762 though we prefer to be contacted by email at our company address seedlingkenya@gmail.com


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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