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Interview with Sophia Neill

Home > Designer Interviews > Sophia Neill

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

Interview with Sophia Neill at Monday 15th of February 2021
Sophia Neill
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?
SN: I have always found myself wanting to be creative, making and modeling by hand and with technology. Throughout my studies, I have always felt inspired and passionate for the projects I am working on, especially when innovating sustainably or for the benefit of the public. I believe that creative people like myself are crucial for design during a time of crisis like today to create products that are of benefit for the future.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
SN: “The Wellington Faculty of Architecture and Design Innovation is a leading provider of innovative education in design and the built environment. Our central location in the heart of creative Wellington sees us placed to be a hub for the local creative industry, and we regularly host international and high profile conferences, exhibitions and events.” - Victoria University of Wellington

FS: What is "design" for you?
SN: To me, design is finding the opportunities for innovation in all aspects of life and problem solving to create a better living environment. This includes the system design around a product and the entire life cycle of it. Considering the long term effects as well as short term is always important for a successful outcome.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
SN: As a young designer, I am still finding new areas of design that interest me. However, I have found passion in designing products that are for the greater good of the community or with sustainable/eco friendly values.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
SN: The c-zero ring project is one of which I would continue to develop in the future as I believe it has the most potential in the market. Utilising the latest micro technology and smart phone accessories has been a great learning experience as it seems to be the way of the future for product design. The relevance to the global pandemic has been a motivation to use my skills to help reduce the spread of the virus.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
SN: Computer Aided Manufacturing software, such as 3D printing, is a design tool that has endless capabilities which I wish to explore for many years to come.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
SN: When I am surrounded by motivated and passionate people I feel most inspired to be creative.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
SN: Embodied energy is a term used to describe the total energy required for the production of an individual product. This term recognises all of the impacts a product has in its full life cycle, which is commonly overlooked by the customer. I think it is incredibly important for designers to consider this creating a product that may be mass produced.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
SN: Nature is my main source of design inspiration as looking at the incredible evolution is a design development in itself. I find applying the natural behaviours the most successful route in achieving a good 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?
SN: I was born and raised on a farm in rural Marlborough, New Zealand where my family often had to improvise when a job needed to be done, due to the distance we lived from the nearest town. Both my parents are creative and innovative people, who are somewhat ‘designing’ on a day to day basis as a result of the lifestyle. As a child in this environment, I was hands on with making glasses out of leaves and sticks or art work from dying flowers. New Zealand itself is well known for the DIY, (Do It Yourself), attitude. As I now live in the capital city, I am almost overwhelmed by the opportunity which makes me think, am I better designing when there are limited resources?

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
SN: As a young designer myself, I find the most passion when designing around a topic that interests me or has personal value. This is one of the best places to start when beginning a project as you will have prior knowledge in the area.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
SN: Is it necessary?

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
SN: Understanding what the target market wants while taking into account processes involved in producing the product. This includes the afterlife of the product also.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
SN: My design ideas come to me better when I am under pressure, although I will stop and take a step back when it is not working out. I find this productive and less time consuming than forcing myself to work within the typical working hours.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
SN: As I am restricted with a time frame for University projects I find my best designs have taken the longest, three months on average. However, my most recognised designs, I feel, will never be complete as there is always opportunity to improve or update a product.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
SN: I find my passion when I am designing products that have significant meaning or impact. This may include tackling sustainability issues as well as value in the design's purpose. Problem solving the many aspects in a design is challenging, however the outcome is always the most rewarding.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
SN: In 2021, I intend to begin my Masters of Design Innovation where I’ll continue research into 3D/4D printing to find where this technology can be most beneficial in terms of customisable design.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
SN: At the end of 2020, I completed a project that offers another system to help prevent the spread of airborne viruses when traveling on a plane. Within this project, I focused largely on utilising organic materials scoured from New Zealand, my home county. This project can be found on my website/online portfolio.

FS: How can people contact you?
SN: Website/online portfolio: https://www.sophianeilldesign.com/ Email: sophianeill8@gmail.com


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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