Interview with Moritz Pröll

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

Interview with Moritz Pröll at Saturday 28th of April 2018

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?
MP: Since childhood, I had the passion to create something. I simply had a lot of fun making stuff and my main focus was always based on art. I did a lot of paintings and drawings and then started with sculpting. Building scale models, was especially fascinating for me and over the years I made lots of scale sceneries that represented my thoughts or stories of my mind. Later, I discovered woodworking and I was really interested in woodturning. I was amazed on the beauty of wood and I noticed you can make and build almost anything yourself when you have the right tools and skills. A final component made me fall in love with furniture design. Once I had the ability to apply different kinds of woodworking techniques, I concentrated more and more on the appearance of each piece as well as one of the most important aspects of furniture design: the functionality. I taught everything myself and just simply tried a lot of different things until I had the right skills and I was happy with the results. For about 5 years, I develop many different types of furniture and there lots of great ideas in my mind that I would like to work on in the future. I went to higher technical engineering school and I got a good overall comprehension for technical issues but I noticed that I am just simply more drawn to creative challenges and that I love to design and make object of art. To be honest, I never really thought that I will once make a living as a furniture designer although creating art and design was always my passion. But I think you should go for it and follow your dreams!

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
MP: "Moritz Proell Design" is all about contemporary and modern furniture design. The main focus is based on the unique idea and the language of form as well as the composition of colours, textures and materials. New ways of thinking make it possible to lift the boundaries between functional objects and works of art in order to create extraordinary and elegant pieces of furniture. The combination of all these elements gives each object its distinctive appearance. All products are handcrafted in local manufactures which ensures precision and high quality for a long lifespan.

FS: What is "design" for you?
MP: For me personally, design means combining art and function. Design helps us to improve the way we live, developing new things and creating order. In comparison to art, design needs to fulfil a certain task. And that makes it often very hard to combine these two elements in one products, no matter what it is. Finding the right balance between art and functionality makes “good” design. As an example, a chair might look outstanding but if is not comfortable, it cannot be used at all. Whereas on the other hand, no one likes to use or buy a very comfortable chair that looks odd or bulky. Also, the user-friendliness for certain items is as important as its appearance. These aspects make design and the process of creating design so interesting because you have to keep so many aspects in mind.My goal is to fade away the boundaries between art and design in order to create pieces of furniture that are one of kind and have not previously existed in this form before.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
MP: I mostly concentrate on designing pieces of furniture used for storage. You have a lot of freedom concerning the design and the overall shape and materials. Of course, the function is essential, but you don’t have to focus on things like comfort or standardized dimensions. And there are so many different types of storage solutions like bookshelves, sideboards, racks, cabinets – it never gets boring.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
MP: Well, there is no “favourite design” for me. I have to say that it doesn’t really matter which brand it is, who designed and created the object or when it was made. But there are certainly pieces that I’d like to call “good design”. The look as well as the functionality must be right and of course it is very subjective and personal if you like a certain piece of design or not. I especially like design that is thought through, offers a clever solution and is something different than most other products in this field do. It must protrude and be elegant as well.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
MP: It was a moveable painting table for the pupils at an elementary school.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
MP: It is wood. You can do so many different things with it and it is quite easy to work with. The beautiful grain and the variety of types of wood has fascinated me since my first experiences in woodworking.Youtube has helped me a lot to learn certain techniques and to develop new techniques or discover new materials.This might sound oldschool but I am not the biggest fan of CNC-machines or 3D-printers. I like to do things the traditional way and the craftsmanship is something very valuable which can be always reflected and seen in the final product. But on the other hand, modern machines enable us to create amazing things which is really fascinating as well.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
MP: Definitely at night. The best ideas always come late at night, even sometimes when I am already in bed. I generally prefer working in the afternoon and evening. I can just simply concentrate better and I prefer getting up late anyway.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
MP: This depends on the project I am working on. Sometimes the overall appearance is more important than the function and sometimes it is the other way round. When I design something on my own, I always try to pay the same amount of attention to each step no matter how much time it takes to cover each of the design aspects. And sometimes your client tells you where to focus on and what is especially important. This makes the design process so interesting because you have to keep so many different aspects in mind until the design is completed.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
MP: When I start a new design, I am always very passionate. Sometimes, an idea pops up and I instantly start sketching. It can be very fun and sometimes it even works as some kind of a stress release. But it can a bit frustrating as well if you can’t reach your goals or if you can’t fulfil a certain task. But I never give until I am happy with the final result.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
MP: I am usually very satisfied, proud and happy. Knowing that you have just created a fully functional as aesthetic piece of furniture completely on your own which can be seen as an object of art as well is a very satisfying feeling. Only if the design does not look or work as expected although you have put hundreds of hours into it, makes me feel disappointed and a bit angry because I know I could have done better. Then, I try again and keep on going until I like the result. But the amount of work you put into it always pays off!

FS: What makes a design successful?
MP: In the end, it is always up to the viewer if it is a successful design or not. Sometimes you just simply have an awesome idea and the first sketch you make doesn’t need any improvements no more. Whereas, it can also happen that you spend a lot of time finding the right proportion, dimension, materials, colours and so on. You can’t really start a project having in mind that the design has to become successful – it either happens or not.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
MP: It differs depending on the product but in general I first consider the overall appearance and look (proportions, materials, colours, textures), the functionality, the user-friendliness, the comfort and the attention to details.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
MP: Design helps us to improve the way we live, developing new things and creating order. Our responsibility is to provide and develop products for society that improve the way we live and also make our life a bit brighter by adding beauty to useful and everyday-items.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
MP: Difficult to say. I think the focus will even increase in the field of design based on technology whereas the market of “conventional” design might also grow the same time.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
MP: This can vary a lot. Sometimes an idea simply comes to my mind. But often, the best way to start a new design is to just simply sit down at the desk and start drawing. When I travel or visit a place like a big city I always walk around with my eyes open. You get a lot of impressions and inspirations can come from almost anywhere and anything. Of course, furniture fairs are also a good way to find inspiration but you might unknowingly copy a design or parts of it. My first priority is to create designs based completely on my own ideas and I would never ever copy anything from someone else. And of course, nature can be a great source of inspiration. It is also a wonderful place to relax and collect yourself to be able to stay focused and concentrate on the essential things. It has also happened a few times, that I fall in love with a certain material or that I especially love a certain combination of colours or shapes and forms which I would really like to incorporate in a new design. I’d like to add, that some designs are simply based on a certain function or task which makes the process usually a bit easier.

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?
MP: Contemporary and modern with a minimalistic approach. I am just simply interested in new and modern things that’s why I like to create pieces in that style. The characteristic of my style is that the piece has to offer something new which no one had done before in this form. The main focus is based on the unique idea and the language of form as well as the composition of colours, textures and materials. It can be also its innovative function or the mechanism which makes the piece interesting. New ways of thinking make it possible to lift the boundaries between functional objects and works of art in order to create extraordinary and elegant pieces of furniture.

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?
MP: I live in the third biggest city of Austria called Linz. Austria is a small country with its very own traditions and lifestyle. I love my country and especially the beauty of the mountains. It is a country of freedom where everyone has great chances to follow their passions. Also, in a city, you get to know many different people, see how quickly things can change and what the latest invention are. I think these aspects have mainly influenced my designs and style that I feel free to come up with innovative ideas and that I don’t necessarily have to follow a certain trend.The advantage of living here is definitely that there plenty of amazing places you can go when you need to take rest and find some inspiration. The nature is a very important part of my life and I really enjoy doing outdoor sports. I am not sure If there are many cons about living in this country – maybe you get distracted easily by the beauty of your surroundings.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
MP: Maybe a good way would be to call for a competition and every participant has to design something about the same topic. A job interview afterwards helps the company to get further information and a personal impression about the applicant.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
MP: Once I have an idea which can occur in many different ways (see question 18), I usually sit down at my drafting table or desk and start working on that idea. I draw a lot of sketches by hand until I reach a point where I don’t want to go any further. The rough design is already done at this point but all details still have to be figured out. In most cases, I don’t care about materials or colours yet. Now, I think about the product more in detail and add important element or reduce some parts – I make sure everything works and that the proportions look right. Then, I usually start drawing the product on the computer although am still at the stage of sketching. You can quickly create renderings and compare different design options. Colours, materials and textures are added as well. But often, I do that step using hand drawings and markers. It depends on the project and my mood. This is often the most fun and try to use many different techniques for each project. The amount of time that goes into this step always differs as well. Sometimes you are done within a few hours and sometimes it takes weeks to finish sketching a design. The second step is to work out details and also to think about the production process. Detailed plans are drawn on the computer.And the last step is to build at least one prototype in order to test the functionality and the overall appearance and look. Usually some changes and improvements have to be made until the product is finally done.After that, I work on the calculation and define a fair prize for the product.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
MP: a beautiful sculpted wall-clock which design is based on the clocks of the painting “Die zerrinnende Zeit” by Salvador Dalí, the carpet in my living room incorporating different geometric forms, a classy and cosy rocking chair next to my bookshelf, an orange press of my kitchen utensils, a vintage scale;I also really appreciate the design of my Nespresso coffee machine and the shape of the iPhone 6.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
MP: I work independent which means I can choose the working time and free time myself. I usually get up late and start working at around 9 or 10 in the morning. Then, I work on different things like new designs, contracts, organisational issues or meet up with clients. I like to pay attention to a healthy diet and enjoy cooking myself. I always work until late in the evening or night – that’s the time when I am the most creative and productive. But of course, I don’t work seven days a week. When I feel I need to take a day off, I do so and I try to keep a good balance between work and leisure time. Although my job is my passion I try to keep the following in mind: “Work to live” and “don’t live to work”. Spending time with my friends and doing sports is essential to me and keeps me going.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
MP: Stay focused, concentrate on the essentials, pay attention to detail and follow your passion. It might be hard, but it’s worth it.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
MP: It is a very creative job and have a lot of freedom referred to the working process and tasks – that’s what I love about it the most. You can work independent and experiment a lot as well. The negative part of being an independent designer is that it might be hard to get contracts and that it is a bit risky business since there many other competitors in the field.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
MP: Knowing when to stop.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
MP: being creative/curious/optimistic, thinking outside the box, coming up with ideas and solutions, never give up, there are no problems – only tasks, staying focused, paying attention to every step for each project, remain faithful to your style but also experiment with new techniques and ways to approach your designs

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
MP: my drafting table, many different types of black-ink pens (I don’t like pencils since I want ever thought and every line to been seen on paper), lots of Copic-Markers, a few rulers (although I don’t use them very often at all), material samples, sketchbooks with different types of paper, a big desk including my laptop with an additional screen and a digital drawing pad as well as a printer, earphones (very important for the creative process), software: SketchUp, ArchiCAD, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator & InDesign, a big shelf with design books & magazines

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
MP: I usually choose my projects on my own so I am always very passionate and enthusiastic about the designs that I am working on which means it doesn’t matter to me if it takes a lot of working hours to complete. I like to stay up late and also work late at night. There are weeks, where I stay very focused and work a lot and during that time I sometimes don’t have much leisure time. But on the other hand, there are times where I do lots of sports and leisure activities or meet my friends and family. I mostly can arrange my work schedule myself and if I feel like I need to take a day off, I do so.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
MP: I can’t answer that in general - it depends on the project. Sometimes a project is completed within a few weeks and there are projects that take months to finish. It probably takes me an average time of two months to complete a piece of furniture.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
MP: Where do you get your inspiration from? / What are your sources of inspiration?

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
MP: I enjoy the most designing pieces of furniture that’s why I became a furniture designer. I mostly focus on interiors used for storage – these are the most fun because you can be the most creative in my opinion.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
MP: I am currently focusing on my own business and I try to get recognition of my brand and my products. Raising awareness for my pieces of furniture is the main goal right now. Increasing the sales is my plan for the future. And of course, I also like to design new pieces – I am already working on a new collection.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
MP: I develop all my design completely on my own – that’s the best way to me and how I can work the most efficient.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
MP: Well, I am always sketching a lot and there are many very interesting designs that I might implement in the future for the new collection. But for now, I am concentrating on sales and marketing.

FS: How can people contact you?
MP: They can directly call me from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. or contact me via email. I usually respond within 24 hours. Phone: +43 660 9007980Email:

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
MP: I am really looking forward to the future and what’s happening next!

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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