Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Talk at Chelsea Harbour - Sunday 17th March Design Week 2013

A talk with Tricia Guild, Robin Levien and Neisha Crosland.

An interesting conversation with three very different designers who talked with interest and lucidity about coming trends and how they, as designers, work.  The questionnaire managed to get the designers to talk candidly about their design process:  how they collate and come up with ideas and how inspiration comes.

All agreed that ideas and designs come often from things that they have seen and enjoyed many years before.  Both Tricia and Neisha have boards onto which they pin things that interest them.  They may not be for anything specific, but eventually they appear in a design.  

Answering the question 'Should designers follow or inspire trends' Neisha, told the story of inception of a fabric and its design.  It is on trend now, but when inspired and considered she didn't know that it would be.  The design was inspired by a ceiling in India (visited 6 years ago) the colours of some bull fighters (on the inspiration board forever), and drainpipe in Positano with clashing colours of pink and yellow.  None of which taken in isolation would be considered to be on trend,  but being woven now the colours are completely on trend.  Was this happen-chance or just the fact that we are all subconsciously led and influenced by what is going on around us? 

Robin, found some sea worn pottery handles on a beach on holiday many years before, these handles formed the inspiration for some china years later - is this being lead or leading? All his designs are formed in blue dense foam before being made into the actual item.  He feels that it is essential to see and feel, that computer generation is not enough to appreciate the form and function of an item. 

To the question 'Are consumers more informed more now?'  All answered an unwavering yes!  The increase of people travelling, the variety of magazines, the Internet and our openness to different ideas and ways of seeing and doing has changed and altered the buying public interest in design.   Now people get bored quickly and the constant demand for something new and vibrant does make for a challenge.  All agreed that they try and design for the long term, they don't want their products to just be for the season - they want them to be enjoyed and appreciated for many years. 

The speakers all agreed that they are probably the last of a generation of multi-disciplinary artists.  When they trained they tried and were taught in many different aspects of the artistic/manufacturing/designing process.  Now students specialise much earlier.  Students are very interested in the ecological impact of their products, which is often at the forefront of the design process, along with making the items lighter, simpler and they consider the disposal or what happens to their products at the end of their lives.  None of this was even thought about when these designers were at college. 

I think that for me the quote of the day was from Robin Levin whose advice to anyone considering going into product design or design of any nature would be 'Find out what you love and go with it, that way you will always enjoy what you do.'

An enjoyable and interesting talk.  Thank you BIID and Homes and Gardens for arranging it.  

*I haven't written about all that was discussed, but just given a flavour of the talk.