Interview with Mohamad ali Vadood

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

Interview with Mohamad ali Vadood at Saturday 11th of April 2020
Mohamad ali Vadood
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?
MAV: His father used to work in industry. So, since he were a child, simple tools were kind of my playthings. His elder brother helped him take the first steps as a child game-wise, and as for his mother, she would always support his ideas as a kid and take them serious. When he was a teenager, he used to make his toys himself and have fun with his playmates who were usually fascinated by his invented toys. School used to offer him a mundane existence and he always thought he could make a better use of his time out of school. He was able to get his hands on a load of good wood, and as a result he got to like it. Through a television program, he realised there were carving workshops in another city. he traveled there and spent a year training with special tools and making inlay forms. On his return, he opened his own workshop and after a while, was invited to work for the Cultural Heritage Organization. At the Institute of Traditional Arts of the Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization, he had the opportunity to draw on the experiences of longtime professors of different fields of design and traditional arts. And then he was elected as the head of the Wood Arts Workshop at that institute. At the same time, due to his artistic and research activities, he was honoured to receive first-rate art from the Supreme Council of Culture of Iran. It was when he was invited to teach by the art universities. In all of these years, he believed he has in fact experienced a real on-the-job training process and this is the record of the training he has been through.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
MAV: He is the chief manager at Vadood's Wood Arts which is a complex art and cultural institution. They work with the Ministry of Cultural Heritage in the research department and with different universities in education. They restore artworks for museums and collectibles and organise annual exhibitions by creating specific artworks. For museums and collectibles we repair artworks And we organize annual exhibitions by creating specific artworks

FS: What is "design" for you?
MAV: There are times he gets a kind of feeling that sounds quite confusing and different without he knowing what it exactly is. He feels as he may be aroused by what he has seen, heard, read, touched or even smelled, or any other stimulants. Whatever way it strikes him, it grows inside him, makes him involved all his time, and when it is the time, it rises out from his inside and gets born. He finds it a fresh design with a happy birth.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
MAV: I go on with life; use good things that have been made before, and when those can no longer be the help to the things I want to do, I get started. Sometimes I design a new tool or a new technique. I might even create a new design to express an unknown feeling at times. I adore doing any designs for the sake of life.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
MAV: Forest Heart is the design he has nominated for the A Design Award in 2020. This work is the result of a great discovery in designing. This work shows we can see the nature better, think more of what we see and create links between ourselves and our nature. Along with doing a beautiful design, this is a lifestyle, and so it is my favourite design. There are moments he lives with it, and in these moments he neither wants to be overpowered by nature nor want to overcome it, but he wants to be in harmony with nature.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
MAV: For the interior of the car Unimak, one of the products of a Benz company owned by a tuning group in Iran, he designed the console, dashboard, and other parts with beech wood which which turned out to be very interesting.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
MAV: Of course, wood has everything for me at the same time, but I'm also interested in metal, and especially when these two (wood and metal) are interconnected, there could be certain tools which can help us do whatever we wish. I like hand tools more as I suppose they make us stronger and more skilled, and above all it is so much fun working with them. I use technology only when it is time to shorten a project.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
MAV: Usually when something is not so clear to me and I think I can not do it, or it sounds weird to me, I just get started thinking, experimenting, doing everything about it until I get to feel that I can do it, no matter how small, then all of a sudden something intruiging happens and things begin to go well. In the end, when the job is done in its best way, everyone says, oh what creativity!

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
MAV: Well, I look at the designs others have made and sound original to me. Then try to figure out what has been the path which has come to that notion and then say Bravo! It is the time I think to myself how I could improve that design and do my best to find a way and do something noone else has actually done to it. It may be related to the beauty of the work, to its use or its concept.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
MAV: At first, I get confused, then I get frustrated, and all of a sudden something springs to my mind. After struggling with the new idea, if I find the solution, I will rejoice, and if not, it starts again from the beginning until I get my hands on the answer.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
MAV: The very first thing is that I will find myself really, really excited and would like to show it to others. But after a while, I get to think well, I have to do better.

FS: What makes a design successful?
MAV: Well, it's a long story, a full life story. However, in short I can say we should look at what nature does for as long as we can, and of that think about points which give us joy. We should keep watching until we start feeling we know evey sinlge part of it. It is when we will find one thing more attractive than others. In the second step, we should think of everything attractive we have discovered and start imitating nature. For instance, paint it, or make a replica. As for the final step, when we have actually perceived the beauty and attractiveness of something, we will be able to dominate it, and integrate a couple of such gorgous stuff with each other and make a fresh extract. Seeing, analysing and experiencing are to me the three sides of the triangle of success in design.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
MAV: Concept, application, and visual beauty. Any idea or design can be good when it comes to balancing these three.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
MAV: A designer is, in fact, someone who can see things that do not exist but can actually have being. A designer recognises the needs of their community and improves the environment by discovering solutions to those problems.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
MAV: 15. When I look at the path design has paved so far and its impact on human life, I feel human beings are defeated by nature, and this is nature having guided their way of life. Then man, with his understanding, tried to harmonise with nature, and succeeded. The harmony with nature gave man the power to overcome. However, he used this power in the wrong way. Humans have been designing for years only to keep getting over nature which is a win-lose approach. Whereas, we should go back to the harmony with nature as it is a win-win approach. Designing to overcome will just lead to the destruction of nature and this is of course wrong. I can only wish the future of design would go in harmony with nature and it would be a basic attitude. Amen!

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
MAV: My last exhibition was at the Academy of Arts and Culture of Iran. I hope my next exhibition will be held at the A Design Award in Italy.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
MAV: Sometimes I get inspired by my problems or others' or by the beautiful spots I catch from nature. And there are times that concepts and emotions interacted with people help me.

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?
MAV: I tend to have a naturalistic style in my design. I believe the foundation of everything is there in nature. The main feature and attitute of my design is to show a new horizon of ability and path to a harmony with pristine nature in order to achieve visual expression.

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?
MAV: I live in Iran and here we speak the language of poetry, walk on carpets with cosmic motifs and dwel in cities that are thousands of years old. I do my best to keep up with the thinking and cultural heritage of my country and wish my country and its history will always be one of the honours of human civilization.

FS: How do you work with companies?
MAV: I would rather make a contract at a specific time.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
MAV: The most important thing for a designer is to make their design and thought understood. This adds to the designer's passion for more work and more creativity. The feeling of satisfaction and content would be the best pay to a designer. Companies first need to know exactly what they want and then find the right designer to help them meet their needs. To do that they should make attempts to get to know such a right designer after getting their hands on them and also to realise them. In this way this company will always have a bubbling spring of ideas.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
MAV: The design I have presented is the result of a new approach and style in wood marquetry. In earlier time, more attention was paid to the colours and tonalities of the wood used in maquetry. Each piece was selected as a stain of colour, cut, and would make an image along with other pieces. In the way that I have presented here, in addition to the natural colour and tone of the wood, there is a special emphasis on other visual phenomena of this natural supply such as lines, textures, transparency and opacity. In my method which called Naqshbandi (Wood-pattern Tracing), these phenomena get to move from each piece to others. For instance, the lines and waves of a beech tree wood in one piece should be along the natural lines of its surrounding pieces of other woods so that it can help the viewer pay less attention to the fragmentation of the image. I would say Naqshbandi demonstrates the natural character of the wood in the best possible way. The title of this work which is in fact here as a manifest of Naqshbandi, is Forest Heart and that is to say it hails from the heart of forest.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
MAV: 1. Architecture 2. Kitchen 3. Library 4. Carpet 5. Furniture

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
MAV: I habitually wake up before dawn and just in bed, reply to emails and Instagram messages and generally check things out. I routinely start off my days with a glass of warm water and taking a shower. Eating an apple a day, I walk to work, and there I have my breakfast. I work on my projects and see how personal workshop and also the institute's affairs are going in the morning. I have lunch at about 1 p.m and finish work at about 6 p.m. Getting back home, I take shower, make some plans and write some schedules, read in my field of work, have dinner and watch a film. Finally, before going to bed, I drink another glass of warm water and usually read a story to my interest in bed. And at about 11 p.m just drop off.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
MAV: The very first thing in my point of view on this matter is that no sophisticated idea pops into our mind at once. Of course every great idea is only a simple one at the beginning, and after a long shot, it becomes an incredible design. So, we should just give every idea a go without prejudging that as a come-to-nothing one. One more thing to think of is that every path, even if it doesn't work out in the end, brings us valuable experiences which may be the key to the success of our other paths in future. In fact, life is successful in whatever way we pave, but you just need to make belief in what you do. And finally, the more you ground others, the more you yourself will learn while teaching them, and the more ideas will flash through your mind.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
MAV: A designer always has a varied and exciting life to discover. Never does their life get dull or like a mundane existence. They always provide a solution to the challenges of their own life and that of others. They are loveable fellows. A designer always has a sense of independence, usefulness, and value as an individual and enjoys the ability to express their ideas. However, there are usually others who get more out of a designer's ideas, by stealing and copying. Another drawback could be the thing that a professional designer like a soldier or an athlete is sometimes too busy with ideas and performing tham so their family life gets affected, and it's not nice. So, by and large, if their community does not understand the ideas of a designer, they will fall into great sadness.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
MAV: In the heart of every seed is a robust tree. And each forest has started off with a tree.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
MAV: I would say a designer should have three parts of their being deeply conscious and in effective control, and somehow strengthen these three parts every day. These three are physical body, mind and spirit. It is best to discover your body through a physical activity such as a sport or a game and strengthen your nerve and muscle coordination, especially the coordination of the nerve and the muscles of eyes and hands. To train your mind, you can always raise challenges for yourself. For instance, the ability to teach others makes us always subject to questions of the mind and so it has to process and find answers. And as for strengthening and discovering spiritual skills, a designer can enjoy making attempts to improve the lives of others and set this up as a mission.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
MAV: I believe in the magic of hand and pencil design. I am greatly fond of this way and find it really inspiring. Another thing I use as a software to speed up my visualisation process is mechanical pencil. I also make a maquette of my idea at times to have an initial form of that.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
MAV: I see a design from idea to implementation, like a plant as it grows. I plant the seed and wait for it to grow naturally. I do not have to pay for it every minute as it can itself grow smart in me. I take care of it between my daily routine and only when it needs care. I consider it to be an integral part of my life. I live in the garden of my ideas, plans and designs.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
MAV: It depends. I have had a day's experience of implementing and accomplishing an idea and also have an idea I have been turning over for 5 years.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
MAV: 32. My most critical question is whether nature has first made the appeal to reason, or reason to nature.

FS: What was your most important job experience?
MAV: Establishing and founding a dedicated complex cultural and wood arts institute

FS: Who are some of your clients?
MAV: My business relationship with customers is divided into three categories, research, education and production. Some of my clients are organizations with whom I have make research contracts, such as the Ministry of Labor, the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, the Ministry of Science, and the Visual Arts Association. I have training programs as well with some of my clients, such as the Ministry of Science, the Ministry of Culture and the Arts, and private classes, as well as classes at the old Kamal al-Molk Academy. And finally, I work in the production sector with museums and private collections, as well as producing specialised tools and providing educational packages.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
MAV: I am interested in designing and inventing tools the most because I believe that tools and human beings are moving on like a see-saw! Man makes tools, and tools make man skilled. And then man makes more advanced tools, and again these more advanced tools make man more advanced. And this is driving the process of human civilization

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
MAV: One of my most important plans for the future is to create an organisational structure for the wood arts where enthusiasts can meet their needs in education, research and production. My next long-term project is to design and expose a great question that can revolutionise human visual understanding, even though I have been searching for an answer for years and have not been able to find any. To that end, I have decided to ask the question and challenge others. My next dream is to create a forest. And to start, I have made up my mind to make anyone interested in working with my organisation plant a tree in a predetermined location.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
MAV: I am more alone in creating artworks but team up in the research, training and manufacturing departments.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
MAV: I do not think we should talk about a design until it is done mainly because the excitement of the unseen design involves much of the designer's energy and motivation to move forward. However, I have an idea which needs international support, and I wish someone would read this and take a step. The thing is I have made an attractive wooden set of fountain pens. As it is to my plan, through the UN, kings, presidents and world leaders will all be invited to write a short text on world peace at the UN's annual meeting in a handmade design notebook. And this book will be called the Millennium of Peace. Fountain pens under the name of these paticipented names are kept in a museum next to the "Millennium Peace Book". And after that, the book would be widely published and distributed around the world so everyone could know what the countries' heads think of peace. This may help unite politicians' ideas to build a better world.

FS: How can people contact you?
MAV: You can find me on the internet via this instagram page:

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
MAV: I Would like to thank the founder of A Design Award and Competition for creating this equal opportunity for all the people of the world. It is very valuable that a team dedicate their time to this great service, thank you and all your colleagues and wish you all the best.

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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