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Interview with Melissa Mae Tan

Home > Designer Interviews > Melissa Mae Tan

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

Interview with Melissa Mae Tan at Friday 1st of May 2020

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?
MMT: I have a bachelors degree in architecture from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines. I have always been interested in the aesthetics of objects and buildings and loved creating things with my hands.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
MMT: Beyond Function is a newly formed company that was created with the intention of proving local design and craftsmanship can be at par if not better for the local market.

FS: What is "design" for you?
MMT: Design for me is purposeful aesthetics. It isn't just about looking good, but about having intention.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
MMT: I am trained in architecture and I enjoy that as well as interiors. In line with those, I recently got the opportunity to design furniture and accessories for the new company we started.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
MMT: i'm most drawn to minimalist designs. i believe that it takes mush more talent to design something beautiful with just simple elements, getting the right balance between something and nothing.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
MMT: the first project i worked on for a company was the design of a beach resort

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
MMT: i love the use of natural materials, especially wood.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
MMT: i feel that creativity strikes at any time. there is so much in the world that can inspire us, but my favorite inspiration is that from unexpected sources.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
MMT: i'm drawn to the small details when designing, whether its a structure, an interior space or a piece of furniture.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
MMT: curiosity is the most prevalent

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
MMT: i feel joy when i am inspired and i'm excited to share my designs with people.

FS: What makes a design successful?
MMT: a successful design for me is when i feel at peace with the final output. though i acknowledge that refining the design is not out of the question, when i feel complacency with the general idea, i know that it is a success for me.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
MMT: first impressions usually make or break a certain design however i am one for giving the story behind the design an equal weight.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
MMT: the designer must always take into consideration the effects and consequences of their design to the immediate surroundings and environment, especially the users. it must not be a design just for the sake of design, but it must have a purpose.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
MMT: design is becoming more aware of the environment and this is a very good step forward because design is everywhere and is being used daily.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
MMT: my inspiration comes from unexpected experiences, through travel, daily encounters and others.

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?
MMT: my style is simple in the big picture point of view but further scrutiny will reveal small details that are meticulously thought through

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?
MMT: living in the Philippines has definitely affected my design style. it is a more relaxed style but with sophistication in its own way. the Philippines is a good experimental ground for design because we have a lot manpower to help us bring our designs to life. however, i often think about how complacent builders are with their processes, so sometimes the result can be quite conservative.

FS: How do you work with companies?
MMT: i am fortunate enough to have easy access to the manufacturing company of our family. I feel comfortable explaining my designs to the builders so they understand the intent of the design.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
MMT: my suggestion is to find out the design style and personality of the designer and see if it matches your companies values, style and personality as well. this way the design process will be smoother and quicker.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
MMT: do not limit yourselves only to what is possible.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
MMT: it is always a good thing to have the capability to translate thoughts to physical design, but there is always that part of you that is very hard to please, because we are our own biggest critics.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
MMT: there's always room for improvement

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
MMT: it is most important to be able to clearly interpret what is in your thoughts into something tangible

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
MMT: i usually set time aside for creating, its not always followed because there are many things that distract me, but htye are always welcome because i believe i still learn from these distractions

FS: What was your most important job experience?
MMT: being an architect has exposed me to a lot of difference situations and i have learned so many things from all those

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
MMT: i may have taken a pause from architecture but i plan to create my own studio in the future combining different fields of design

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
MMT: i always like working with a team because i believe that an outsiders perspective is always important. sometimes you can be too close to your work that you cant see the big picture.


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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