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Interview with Mykolas Seckus and Antonio Gandolfo

Home > Designer Interviews > Mykolas Seckus and Antonio Gandolfo

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Mykolas Seckus and Antonio Gandolfo (MSAAG) for A’ Design Award and Competition. You can access the full profile of Mykolas Seckus and Antonio Gandolfo by clicking here.

Interview with Mykolas Seckus and Antonio Gandolfo at Thursday 7th 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?
MSAAG: talking for me, Antonio, industrial designer, making stuff isn't really as a job but is more a way of life. When I was a kid I have been always inventing things making them with my hands. Since then, my background was starting to orient towards small scale goods. Even though I have been studying in an architectural high school keeping a wide-open view, my choice was to become an industrial designer. While for me, Mykolas, Landscape Architect, since I grew up in the suburbs with my neighbour who is now a product designer we used to build and deconstruct things. As I noticed my particular fascination in design and art, I tried my chances at the National Art School where I was able to explore a wider range of art profilation. Not surprisingly I found myself enjoying the most the design curricula with particular focus on spatial design. But what concerns the question of why Landscape Architecture and not Architecture I don't have a definitive answer, but I would assume it was the fascination of the natural environment and the opportunity of working with raw elements and aiming to adapt them or transfer those primitive but complex qualities in an urbanised setting.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
MSAAG: Our duo was simply born as a collaboration between two colleagues in the same renowned architecture studio in Copenhagen. The motivation behind our duo was the wish to do something alone, detached from the office work and with less creative limitations. We were always joking and coming up with two minute utopian and fictional ideas during our breaks. I guess we thought that in any case it would be at least great fun to work together and we might just come up with something unconventional and reasonably well designed. So we started looking for competitions and a beginning point from where we could start.

FS: What is "design" for you?
MSAAG: Antonio: Design is to create something addressing needs for people. Design is all around us, it is invisible, sometimes we don't realize that simple things can change the world. That is design. Mykolas: Just like Antonio said, design has to address something either the needs or issues of its users. Design should alter behavioural path. I guess it could be anything physical or digital consciously made for one or another purpose.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
MSAAG: Antonio: It is hard to tell, I don't really prefer something, I love to get free random inspirations. I can tell what I have more fun to design which is furniture, especially chairs. Mykolas: Well since I like to think of designer from a professional perspective as somebody with the toolset to create something. Some of us focus on small scale objects, while others on spatial design. But for me, the exploration of different scales and mediums is probably one of the most exciting things as a designer.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
MSAAG: Antonio: I wouldn't recognize my favourite design as an object but more likely as a style or approach to design. That would be Dieter Rams and the Good Design. I am talking about one of the giants that wrote the history, his philosophy of Good design has to be the guideline for the current and next generation of designers if we want to change something in the world. We have to stop making useless goods. Rams inspired us for the 1x1 with his bookshelves system and the approach to modularity. Mykolas: I couldn't agree more with Antonio. We actually watched the movie ''Rams'' around a month or so before we started working on our competition. Despite being an industrial designer by his professional profilation in his elder years he began of exploring more and more other design areas such as landscape architecture. He managed to simplify and condense essential design truths in his good design principles. Since design is universal he should be the source of inspiration just the same for product designers as for architects.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
MSAAG: Antonio: I have been involved in the design of a little wooden figure, a panda made out of wood. I love the final result, it is the best representation of the lazy animal it is supposed to be. It was designed fo the company Architectmade with the studio BIG. Mykolas: As far as I can remember since I started doing internships after the first year of bachelor, my first work for the company was quite boring and definitely not glamorous. But the fact that I continued on with my studies, was a sort of proof I was on a more or less correct track.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
MSAAG: Antonio: My favourite material is surely wood. Simple to work with and sustainable. Mykolas: I guess my answer as a landscape architect should be plants or something like that. But to be frank, most likely its those primitive technologies or materials which in a sense are very exciting to work with since you get that quick direct feedback and satisfaction.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
MSAAG: Antonio: When it is getting dark outside and during the night. Mykolas: When I manage to detach myself from stress or other disturbing factors. I wouldn't say its a specific place, time or activity even though you still need to work a bit to get those creative ideas out.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
MSAAG: The main aspect of design focus was the development of modularity and adaptability for various programs. In other words, a big part of the design process was focused towards finding solution on how to create this modular system which could be easily and practically transformed into various programs while ensuring individual object functionality and visual quality when placed in isolation

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
MSAAG: Mykolas: I guess since the design is inevitably an emotional process as in the of the day we use our gut feeling which tends to determine the path of the process, there is a range of emotions involved. Furthermore, despite the design process being quite frustrating process due to a multitude of reasons such as the issue of idea translation from abstract and subjectively comprehended thought of imagination into something stable and polished. I would suggest I feel at least a bit of satisfaction and hopefully fun, cause otherwise, you might lose that passion and motivation on the way. Antonio: while I'm focused on designing, during the creative process my mind gets completely detached from reality, almost in another dimension. This kind of feeling is not something you can control if you are in it, if you feel this emotion, it means that you are going the right direction with your ideas. Sometimes it is nice to go back on sketches and products of those "creative moments" to redefine what you initially thought with a little more rationality.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
MSAAG: Mykolas: I guess it really depends on how you feel about the implementation quality as if you don't feel satisfied it might make you feel quite unsettling. But overall it should be a cherry on the top, giving you the final reward for all the struggle. Antonio: Every time something you have worked on is realized, I could say in my case that is "on the shelves" (at the shop) then you know that you did something great. In our case, with our project, we will feel realized when our design will be gloriously standing.

FS: What makes a design successful?
MSAAG: when the design is actually implemented as well as when people appreciate the design because of the object and not because of the designer himself

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
MSAAG: The first aspect we consider to judge if a design is good or bad is if it is actually addressing any solution to real problems of the world. This is what should be the first aim of every designer.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
MSAAG: I don't think designer has different responsibilities than any other citizen. We should all be conscious of our individual and collective behaviour and impact on society and the environment. The only difference is the set of tools and the scale of impact. So I guess we as designers just have more pressure to ensure a positive outcome of our actions ''design''.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
MSAAG: In the beginning of the design process for 1x1 we established a couple of insights such as the growing trend for democratising design and tools for it. People are moving away from generic mass production with an increasing focus for reusability and recycling/up-cycling. Furthermore, society is moving towards the concept of design by demand which allows user to have an increasingly stronger voice to directly influence the product manufacturing process. The latter opens up doors for customization and interaction between the final product and the client/user. I like to belive our design is at least a partial reflection of these current and future design directions.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
MSAAG: Mykolas: Its never just one place or a thing I do which puts it all together. Though sketching and just working on it helps. But in most cases when you do so you are just pulling out some of pre-formulated ideas from your head. For me personally its important to always find at least one thing which could bring a completely different perspective or source of information. Antonio: Nowadays the internet has the greatest potential giving us source to unlimited content. When I want to get inspired I don't use the web because I would get invested by a number of useless information I don't really need. I mostly find inspiration around me, from the nature of previous experiences.

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?
MSAAG: Mykolas: I think it is a bit too early for me to distinct my style. I would rather let my current and future work to formulate a description of my style. Antonio: I don't think I have a personal style...anyhow I had tell that I am always approaching design in a way which I can find helpful to solve problems. I mean, that's my way to see design.

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?
MSAAG: Mykolas: I am originally from Lithuania, but since I have started studying I have moved to England for my Bachelor and then to Denmark, Copenhagen for practice during a gap year and then master studies. Not sure about specifically my cultural heritage, but definitely the combination of living in all those different places and being submerged in various cultures allowed me to alter my perception and design methodology. Antonio: I am from Italy, and I don't really think this has changed my perspectives. I am of course taking care of the history that my country has in the design field, the masters that marked with their masterpieces.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
MSAAG: I guess since all of us as designers are very individual, the one thing I could suggest is just to keep an open mind and from time to time slightly change the angle of application processing as it is easy to overlook and underrate someone during those conventional methods. Just as if a designer will continue using the same methods most likely he will end up with a somewhere similar outcome. It might work well for a while, but from time to time you might need some fresh breeze.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
MSAAG: The design process went through different stages over several months. The main phase before the final submission was around 3 months long. Time was stretched due to the lack of time as we were working in an architecture firm at the time so we had to spend many long nights on it. In the beginning, we were trying to formulate the concept alongside working with the site analysis as a source of inspiration. Then we moved on to practicalities working with 3D model. One of the main focus areas were solving the concern of how to make the modular system work individually as well as together with minimum limitations and amount of elements such as fixing parts.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
MSAAG: Mykolas: iPhone; Laptop; Bluetooth Speaker; Headphones; Chef's Knife Antonio: Sketchbook, 3d printer, good books, laptop, and music.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
MSAAG: Mykolas: I would say it varies quite a lot from month to month. But none the less when I wake up I have my morning shower and breakfast. Then I move on with the day. At the moment it's my university matters. Around an early evening, I am done with lectures so head back home to have a meal and then do what was left for work before doing some exercising or just going for a walk. When you sum up its pretty basic, but the beauty hides in the details and small moments.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
MSAAG: I guess both of us still fall in the category of young designers so we will step back and allow the elder to share their wisdom while we try to listen and figure it out ourselves.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
MSAAG: Mykolas: Designers tends to appreciate slightly different things such as details and aesthetic qualities or practicalities/functionalities. Being surrounded by high-quality objects, architecture or public space gives pleasure which is slightly more conscious to a designers eye. However, it might be just as pleasing as frustrating when you see something out of place or poorly designed. Antonio: From my perspective, one good side of being a designer is when you actually see realized something you have designed. it is a tangible proof of your work! one main downside is that it is really hard sometimes, you have no office hours, especially if you work on your own...

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
MSAAG: Rules are there to be broken. Always keep improvising and don't be restricted since rules and guidelines are great as a stepping point but they always overlook at least a small aspect of potential within the specific context.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
MSAAG: Confidence and idea expression either analogue or digital as well as verbal communication.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
MSAAG: Its a bit funny question. It is like asking how long does it take to do anything? It depends on how much time you put in. If you are working alone or with a team. What is the quality of the product you are looking for?

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
MSAAG: Mykolas: What is landscape architecture Antonio: Can you make me a logo? ( I don't make logos!!)

FS: What was your most important job experience?
MSAAG: Practice at a renown architecture firm in Copenhagen.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
MSAAG: I guess our future plans are trying to implement our design and to see it getting build.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
MSAAG: We work as a duo

FS: How can people contact you?
MSAAG: Linkedin or email


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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