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Interview with Albert Potgieter

Home > Designer Interviews > Albert Potgieter

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

Interview with Albert Potgieter at Sunday 15th of May 2022
Albert Potgieter
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?
AP: Being a designer wasn’t always the plan, no. I was a Physiotherapist before when we lived in South Africa. When my wife and I moved to the Netherlands in 2017, I started the business on a dream to use art and design to help people. The dream is to get people into my business, off the streets or just people that life hasn’t been kind to and then mentor them and teach them while making good art and design pieces.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
AP: Albert Potgieter Designs is a functional art design studio. Specializing in the combination of wooden handmade furniture and art objects. We also started the mentorship program called Redemption Designs, where we make minimalistic designs to teach people on.

FS: What is "design" for you?
AP: Wow, this is a big question. Design is everywhere. Everywhere we go, in our houses, workplaces, buildings. Design is what shapes the spaces we live in. Personally for me, design is something that comes out through what I put in. If I am a lot in nature, then that will affect my designs. If I am in love, that will affect my designs. A bit of me goes into my designs everytime.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
AP: I like designing sculptural designs, because the process is slightly different for me. It is a lot like building a puzzle rather than designing on paper first.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
AP: Currently my favorite design is a sculptural side table called the Ahadi Side table. It’s made out of different pieces of wood designed into a mountain like sculptural look. Love the process of that design.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
AP: A conference table

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
AP: My favorite material is Walnut wood

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
AP: When I am in nature or on the farm in South Africa

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
AP: I focus more on the parts that you see most. Or for a table I will focus more on the legs, for a dining chair I will focus more on the back, but a lounge chair maybe more on the sides.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
AP: Mostly Joy :) but sometimes frustration, in those times when the design gets stuck

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
AP: Excitement

FS: What makes a design successful?
AP: I think when a design is both practical and beautiful. So basically when it serves its purpose it was designed for, but also captures attention visually

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
AP: Practicality and a close second is what it looks like.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
AP: Improvement is probably the biggest responsibility. Every project that a designer does, can’t be one dimensional but other aspects needs to be taken into consideration. Beauty can’t be the only aspect. Development or the practical aspects needs to be thought of as well. What is the vision or aim of the design?

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
AP: I think it is growing and expanding into more areas of life. More and more people or organizations are taking the design of a project into consideration and not just the functionality of it. Visual aspects are becoming more and more important but also designers tend to think out of the box and creatively and more and more organizations are starting to see the need for this in their business.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
AP: My last exhibition was February 2021. Rotterdam Art week in Rotterdam

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
AP: My inspiration comes from observing my surroundings, especially nature, the greatest design. I try to always be aware wherever I go, always looking and feeling. I try to take in different lines and shapes in nature, in architecture in other designs around 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?
AP: I don’t know if there is a name for my style but tend to, mostly, design an idea on paper or my program, but then I go to the workshop and start playing around with the idea, with pieces of wood and try a few things. If I get stuck I will go back to the paper and then go back to the workshop. This style is something I taught myself, as I used my senses I learnt as a Physiotherapist to look and feel and then this method developed as I was just trying new things. The designing and building process becomes one through this process of designing.

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?
AP: I live in Rotterdam, Netherlands but I am actually from South Africa. This definitely affects my designs. You can see a bit of the wild, nature from Africa in my designs. Pros - There is a uniqueness in my designs because I come from South Africa, but now lives in the Netherlands Cons - I think sometimes my designs can be to crazy and I have to always keep in mind the simplicity that is also needed when it comes to designs.

FS: How do you work with companies?
AP: I like working with any company. I like people so working with companies and trying to realize their vision or goal is really an enjoyable challenge.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
AP: The think firstly you need to choose a person before you choose a designer. You need to be able to get along with that person and be able to talk through things or being able to change things if needed without a relationship going sour.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
AP: My design process starts by jotting down ideas, making photos of shapes or lines that I find beautiful. This sparks design concepts in my head, which I will then start to draw roughly. From here I will start to draw more concrete designs in my CAD program. At this point my process differs from design to design, sometimes I will start working in my workshop on the design before the drawing is completely done, other times I will finish the drawing first.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
AP: My Optique Bench. The first of its kind with all its inperfections is standing at my house. A sideboard design I made for my wife but now holds all the kids toys Our Dining table Our desk I made custom for our house A desk chair I made custom for my wife

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
AP: I would wake up at 5:30 (not always but I try to) then I will go down to our living room and spend some quiet time just me and the Lord. Then usually between 6 and 6:30 I will take coffee to my wife and my daughter will also start to wake up around this time. Then the day starts. Making porridge, getting dressed, dressing my daughter. Depending on the day I would take her to school and then go to the workshop after, where I would either design, do a custom job or mentor and teach someone while doing carpentry. Then going home at 5pm to go play with my daughter, eat together as a family and get ready for bed.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
AP: Just start. That idea that you have, don’t wait until it is this grand idea. Start small, start now, start with one step. You don’t know where the path will lead you but you can control your feet. Keep going. It doesn’t matter how many times you fall, never stop. Learn from your mistakes and move forward. If you never give up, you can never fail.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
AP: The positives are the things I get to see. The talent, the designs and art I get to see while collaborating or on an exhibition. I love it. Also a positive for me is the creative process. It’s such an exciting process and to see where it comes from and what comes from it is often amazing. The negatives are that I can’t switch the creative process off. It’s always running and brain is always thinking of new ideas.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
AP: Too much is too much

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
AP: Endurance Fall forward Never be afraid to try new things Never stop learning Don’t forget to look up - people skills

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
AP: I use my IPad and Apple Pencil to design. Apps - Concept, Shapr3D And then also have a drawing book and white board in my workshop

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
AP: I try and put time aside or sometimes I will put a day in a week out, but there also needs to be a cut off time.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
AP: Oe this differs a lot. It often starts months before with just ideas and designing here and there on paper or program. The prototype building process will often take at least a week.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
AP: Where do you get your inspiration from

FS: What was your most important job experience?
AP: Doing restoration work on 20th century designer furniture at Jarno Kooijman

FS: Who are some of your clients?
AP: It differs a lot from galleries to private clients

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
AP: I love designing abstract functional objects. It’s challenging and I really like to play with different shapes and lines.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
AP: Currently I am working on the mentorship program we just started and the new design line we started to mentor each person on. This is the beginning of a big dream that can potentially affect a big amount of people.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
AP: I develop the designs myself

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
AP: I have two designs that I am very excited about. The one is called Ahadi (Meaning Promise in Swahili) range which is sculptural functional objects and the other is textured wood furniture designs called Urithi- meaning Heritage in Swahili

FS: How can people contact you?
AP: Email is probably the best Admin@albertpogieter.com Or through my website https://albertpotgieter.com/contact/

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
AP: No thanks. This was good


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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