Interview with Michal Maciej Bartosik

Winner of Lighting Design Awards

Award Winning Designer Michal Maciej Bartosik shares insights


Interview with Michal Maciej Bartosik at Wednesday 26th of October 2016:

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
MB : I received my formal training in architecture. The rigor and scope of conceptualization through to production embodied in the discipline was seminal to my current design practice and ethos.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
MB : Over the course of my architectural career I became increasingly preoccupied with questions surrounding the 'Detail'. The Detail in my opinion is the cultural sinew between idea and material expression. It became evident to me that architecture, most often, does not afford itself the necessary time to sublimate the detail beyond a solely functional operation. The compressed scale at which industrial design contemplates the detail makes its ambitions central to these questions - What is the innate spirit of any given detail?

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
MB : I don't really see much of a distinction one from the other. When you are confronted with a conduit of Ideas and purposefully enter into its stream, the question of choice or control becomes an unnecessary distraction to the process of making.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
MB : Embrace failure! Develop a casual rapport with failure. Failure is an intrinsic part of the creative process. Most importantly, its companionship affords one to work well out of their bounds of comfort. Failure is a transformative agent disguised as trepidation. Its the necessary counterpoint to the soporific nature of doing what we already know.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
MB : The constant and uninterrupted process of iteration in thought and execution.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
MB : I more or less never tire of Mies van der Rohe's body of work.

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
MB : Junya Ishigami's Table which he designed in 2006. Imagine an unsupported table that is 9.5m long and 2.6m wide and only 3mm thick. The singular pieces of steel used in its construction was pre-stressed so that the table evens out under its own weight. What results is a material twining of form and function; A table whose legs struggle to keep it from lifting off and rolling up into mechanical memory; tracing the forces of gravity enacting upon it.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?
MB : I feel designers should only present their work in its built form. Computer renderings have become an unfortunate short hand that circumvents the very essence of design: the material construction of an object.

DL: How does design help create a better society?
MB : I am not certain that it does. Take the 'Hippo water roller' for example. Its an ingeniously simple design which lessens the physical burden necessary to access clean drinking water by pushing the rolling tank of water on the ground with a simple handle. Nevertheless, its design responds to preexisting global inequalities which you would think that by the 21st Century we, as a society, would have already resolved. Too often, design defers us from asking the more difficult questions.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?
MB : I feel very comfortable with burying the germ of an idea as far back into my mind as possible. It sits there for months often years. This way we familiarize ourselves with one another. Upon recall, it often returns with a better understanding of its own logic then I would have been able to instill upon it. This is often the fertile moment for the work to begin.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?
MB : Design as though to bring your epoch to an end. -Before it ends you.

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
MB : I think design sets trends. Trends merely produce replicas.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?
MB : Technology plays an important role in both the development and execution of any give design. When I feel ready, an idea or hunch I may have is often translated into a digital model. It undergoes a process of exploration and is then translated into a crude physical model so to subject it to real senses and forces. I often iterate this way, between the digital and physical, and finally set it into production through CAD/CAM channels.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
MB : When I come across something really well designed it often provokes an emotional reaction. It's at this moment I feel as though I have come across something very special. Its one thing to be impressed, and something entirely different to be moved.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?
MB : Visual Artists and Architects.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
MB : Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott is a recent favorite of mine. Quadrivium and The power of limits are two works I also find myself returning to frequently.

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
MB : Awards are an important part of my design process. They serve as a general cultural gauge for my work's relevance in a broader context. I am both encouraged and honored by the accolades I have received to date.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
MB : When I was a child, I was fleeing communism. My creative output at the time, most likely for that precise reason, was unrelenting.