Interview with Barbara Princic

Winner of Lighting and Furniture Design Awards

Award Winning Designer Barbara Princic shares insights


Interview with Barbara Princic at Tuesday 25th of October 2016:

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
BP : I graduated from industrial design (BA) at the University of Ljubljana, Academy of Fine Arts and Design. A half year later I got the opportunity to work in Taiwan, in Taipei, at the Design Promotion Center CETRA. It was a unique experience for such a young person as I was in nineties. There I met several distinguished designers like Alexander Manu, Jean-Marie Massaud, Gad Shannon, prof. Stefan Lengyel, naming just few of them. After spending one year in Taiwan I had returned to Europe and the same year obtained a scholarship from the Dutch government for a post-graduate study at the European Design Centre in Eindhoven. There I got acquainted with environmental issues in design. I decided that this would be my future orientation. I followed environmental and ecological themes for the next decade and in 2007 graduated on MA level with a theme on Sustainable use of water when washing small children’s hands.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
BP : In a past I did a lot of chair designs. One of them, the 5x5 chair, was also awarded with a silver A’Design Award. I did other projects too, for furniture industry. But know I focused on children’s playground equipment. So in a future I want to do more designs made from wood for children.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
BP : Beside hard work it is necessary to follow your own dreams, to believe in what you do, to walk along your own way regardless what others say or think.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
BP : In the Guardian I red an interview with the performance artist Marina Abramović recently and she said: ‘’ Good artists have one good idea in their life; great artists might have two. I have produced just one good idea. My good idea is working with the body.” How could this be applied to design field is left to our personal interpretation.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
BP : I evaluate good design by certain criteria which are so called objectively measured parameters. Within those function and aesthetics are taken for granted as nobody expects that someone will design and produce a product that is not functional or not aesthetically satisfying. In addition those criteria are product’s ergonomics which is not only physical but psychic too, simple construction and form without overdesigned elements, useful value, optimal use of technology, environmental soundness, the relationship between the entire product and its details, durability of construction, product semantics and semiotics, the stage of invention, user friendliness, safe use and viability for market.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
BP : For me it is a project which means a shift from design into art. I dream about 3D ‘’pictures’’ made of discarded fabrics. Up till now I have not found time for this project yet.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
BP : With success in design is the same as with success in any other profession. At first knowledge and skills are needed. Than hard work, a lot of patience, endurance, fair attitudes toward clients. And all mentioned sometimes don’t help if you do not have a bit of luck. Sometimes you have to be at the right time in the right place.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
BP : I find my 5x5 chair as my greatest design. It was about the idea to design a chair from little squares made of material called xilith which is co-mined with a coal from the 300 meters beneath the earth’s surface. It was about the courage that I dared to try to realize this idea.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
BP : I will focus on a development of the set of children’s playground’s equipment for private use, i.e. the use on home gardens mostly made of wood in order to replace those low-quality plastic houses which unfortunately break in three or four years and represent huge plastic waist. Plastic products should have a long life span as plastics is quite durable material. My first product, the house in the shape of mushroom has already been designed.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
BP : My ultimate goal is not only to design a certain product but with my idea and through design that I do to spread the environmental awareness among the wider population. I want people to think about the products that they buy and use, to consider how they manipulate with them, to maintain them, to be aware that products have certain value not because of the price but because of the material, its development and production processes incorporated within them so they should not be discarded easily.

DL: How does design help create a better society?
BP : Design profession as one of the creative industries is definitely put in a social context. When designers search for inspiration they can find it everywhere; in the nature, culture, in surrounding society, in art, food, wherever. But design also contribute a lot to that society by solving men’s, societal and environmental problems. With proper design and services design should make people’s daily life and work easier. Good design of any product is to be essential for each end-user without any social, age, gender or cultural discrimination.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
BP : I would like to see design industry to be aware of the consequences that the results of our work pose to the environment and peoples’ health. From this point of view we caused a lot of harm in a past. So a kind of paradigm shift is needed within design industry to be able to give overall right solutions that fit within so called circular economy. Maybe a word good design should be replaced with responsible design which would incorporate all complexity of attributes those of good design plus those of environmental design strategies.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?
BP : Definitely it is a service design which is coming in the front of the design profession. In terms of dematerialization products are more and more hidden behind the services. Today many of the product and service design solutions are somehow connected through smart phone applications.

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
BP : Things run in both ways. Designers who are capable of observing the world and analyzing societal behavior and changes, those designers are able to set trends through their innovative design solutions. On the other hand there are designers who observe more material world than society itself. Such designers follow trends and influenced by them develop interesting design pieces.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?
BP : Technology enables materialization of my idea. But it is also true that I might be challenged by specific technology when developing my idea. This depends on the fact if I am the one who defines and choose a certain technology or it is a given predisposition for example if I work for furniture industry.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?
BP : By working and studying a lot.