Interview with Clive and Tina Bullivant

Winner of Kitchenware, Art and Furniture Design Awards

Award Winning Designer Clive and Tina Bullivant shares insights


Interview with Clive and Tina Bullivant at Monday 24th of October 2016:

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
CB : I trained in Brighton, and have a degree in Wood, Metal, Ceramics and Plastics

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
CB : Things that don't do what they are supposed to irritate me, and things that are beautiful inspire me.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
CB : I chose to become a designer as I am a maker at heart

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
CB : I design homewares but my background is in high end silverware and jewellery.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
CB : Keep engaging with the world, draw, investigate and above all never accept the mediocre.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
CB : Consistency and the ability to adapt. A natural flair also helps.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
CB : A good design makes you want to use it, to pick it up enter it, own it. It provokes an emotional response.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
CB : Good design drives things forward and can change the way we see and interact with the world.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
CB : I would love to design something which made youngsters want to put all their technology down and do something in the physical world for a while

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
CB : I work with luxury goods most of the time and would love to execute a commission for one of the big international institutions.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
CB : Balance. Achieving harmony in the design even if working with conflicting criteria.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
CB : Frank O'Gehry, Georg Jensen, and Ross Lovegrove, and the work of Curventa Design and Seymour Powell.

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
CB : I love Phillippe Starck's ghost chairs because they established a unique trend, as well as being comfortable, practical and super cool.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
CB : My Gold Award winning design for the Goldsmiths' Craft and Design Council for a silver table centrepiece that recycled unwanted Bic Crystal pens. It showed that disposable items can be given a desirable new life.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
CB : You just have to keep challenging what is around you. I can never go around a shop or department store without picking products up and critically evaluating them, it drives my wife mad!

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
CB : I would love to have been involved in museum restoration.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?
CB : Design makes changes. It is what moves culture forward, everything we use and accept today is affected by design.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
CB : Probably The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?
CB : The patience of my family, and persistence.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?
CB : It is a very overcrowded profession, just getting noticed is hard.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?
CB : I like to show thought processes through initial ideas, through to developed designs using digital modelling.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
CB : I am currently investigating lighting in the home.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
CB : Just to keep being relevant

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?
CB : Don't know you would have to ask them.

DL: How does design help create a better society?
CB : It should be inclusive and improve situations wether through function or just in style and looks.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
CB : I am currently designing a range of products that highlight endangered species.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
CB : I think my 'Bear Hug' wine cooler, it was practical, made good use of materials and most of all great fun.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
CB : More opportunity for small independent designers and less chasing celebrity.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?
CB : Where it always has been I hope, driving change and improvement.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
CB : It depends on the project. Some can be realised in a matter of weeks, while others may take months to resolve. It all depends on scale, clients, and manufacturing partners.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?
CB : Always with sketching. You have to clarify the thing in your head first.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?
CB : Do it anyway.

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
CB : Good design should set trends, if you are just reacting all the time nothing innovative will ever come about.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?
CB : It helps plan and present work and ideas but most importantly developing technology opens up new ways of doing things.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
CB : I work with 3D CAD programmes that allow me to connect to rapid prototypers or directly to manufacturing systems.

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
CB : These are essential as they are what people connect with and respond to.

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?
CB : What the inspiration was.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
CB : I get genuine pleasure from seeing or handling good design, I like to see it context and think about what the next direction could be.

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
CB : I enjoy collaboration, it is important that people with different skill sets have input into a design challenge. For me that means talking to engineers.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?
CB : Students, they have an automatic can do attitude.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
CB : Not sure they do.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?
CB : Practice, practice and more practice across a range of products and materials.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?
CB : I would love to meet Frank Lloyd Wright.

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
CB : I don't think I am famous. I enjoy the awards for their challenge and variety

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
CB : Blue, Rome, fish, spring, E-type Jaguar, but don't like brands.

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?
CB : I was taught to forge steel for a cutlery design, by a blacksmith from the Royal Horse Guards. When I reviewed the finished work I had to change the knife design as I had inadvertently made lethal weapons. The set went on to be shown at the European Silver Triennale.

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
CB : Positive client feedback

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
CB : No, I wanted to fly aeroplanes

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
CB : Change is so fast and radical I wouldn't even try to think that far ahead. I do believe that we will find a need to return to designs that require more of the user rather than continuing to push the technology.

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?
CB : I truly believe we have responsibility as designers to think about the consequences of the things we design, whether that be use of finite resources, pollution or looking after endangered species, or affecting the thinking of those people we aim designs at in a positive way not just for financial gain.