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Interview with Jon Walker

Home > Designer Interviews > Jon Walker

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

Interview with Jon Walker at Wednesday 3rd of May 2017
Jon Walker
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?
JW: I'm not a trained designer but have always designed - making pots from the clay in our garden, tables from the wood in the garage... I wanted to be an architect originally.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
JW: dwiss is a young company concerned with designing products and services that help people behave sustainably. We collaborate with academics, students, designers and makers from across Europe.

FS: What is "design" for you?
JW: Working out how to compete a task with simplicity and style.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
JW: Practical objects that make the task in hand easy.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
JW: I like Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona chair - proportionally elegant, durable, simple and functional.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
JW: The dwiss is our first offering.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
JW: Wood is my favourite. I'm enjoying the possibility of 3D printing.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
JW: Whilst taking an early morning run.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
JW: Human interaction and component interfaces.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
JW: Focus, clarity, satisfaction.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
JW: Satisfaction, joy, pride.

FS: What makes a design successful?
JW: Functionality that gives rise to elegant form.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
JW: How well it achieves its purpose.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
JW: Design in a way that supports the circular economy - the conservative use of sustainable materials to develop durable products that can be easily repaired.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
JW: The value of design is being ever more realised. Design will move to a more central position in human evolution.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
JW: September 2016 at Tent, which is part of London Design Fair. We're hoping to exhibit at Stockholm's Furniture and Light Fair in 2018.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
JW: People and world around us. I like using public transport and walking round public spaces to see people and how the interact with the world around them.

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?
JW: Simple, sustainable and elegant. I'm a minimalist and so this style works for me.

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?
JW: I live in Sheffield, UK. We have a strong history of making, starting with steel and cutlery. I think that the durability of this material and product is captured in my designs.

FS: How do you work with companies?
JW: In a real collaborative win/win way.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
JW: Listen to their ideas and give them space. I think selectin is gut feel, so extended conversations work best when selecting a designer.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
JW: It's very much based around the 'design-thinking' approach. My designs are about the user, providing them with a solution. So rapid prototyping and feedback are key.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
JW: An old Singer sewing machine - beautiful engineering. A pan set that we got as a wedding present - simple and durable. A Wedgewood vase that we inherited for some flamboyance. A cutlery set that we also inherited - dripping with Sheffield heritage. My Orange mountain bike - fun!

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
JW: Rise as early as I can, meditate and shower. Get the kids up and off to school. Come home and design. Lunch and then make calls / have meetings. Then get the kids to bed and grab dinner with my wife.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
JW: Talk to as many people as possible to understand an issue from multiple perspectives - you never fully understand anything so react more than you plan.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
JW: Positives are freedom of expression, creativity, craftsmanship. Negatives include uncertainty, doubt...

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
JW: Never consider anything as finished yet know when to walk away.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
JW: Communication, vision, ability to suspend judgement.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
JW: I tend to sketch in a book and knock up prototypes. I work with the people that are skilled in the use of software to create the digital models.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
JW: I don't try and manage it too much but I do apply the principle that sometimes done is better than perfect and move on.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
JW: It can be hours or it can be years. The dwiss has been over 10 years in the making but I designed a desk in a few hours.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
JW: How did you come up with the idea?

FS: What was your most important job experience?
JW: It was actually writing a quality procedure - it talk me how to capture expertise.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
JW: In the interest of their privacy I'd rather not say.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
JW: The concept stage right at the beginning, when an idea flickers into your mind.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
JW: Developing a low cost version of the dwiss made from surplus material that we can supply as a 'product as a service'.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
JW: As a team.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
JW: I've a desk that I'm working on. The idea is that it can be shipped flat pack to anywhere in the world and built using something as a basic as a rock.

FS: How can people contact you?
JW: jon@yourdwiss.com

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
JW: Anyone can design, just think of something that you need help with.


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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