Interview with Rado Iliev

Winner of Architecture Design Awards

Award Winning Designer Rado Iliev shares insights


Interview with Rado Iliev at Saturday 22nd of October 2016:

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
RI : I graduated in Architecture in the Sofia (Bulgaria) University for Architecture and Engineering in 1990. Then moved to London and started to work for Design and Architectural companies. I consider my work experience the greater part of my education.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
RI : I wanted to become an Architect since my teen years. I am a creative person and like to create things. Motivation comes from interest in the design subject and solving the problems that come with it.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
RI : It was my wish

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
RI : I like all aspects of creative design and in my experience I have been involved in all disciplines from town planning thru large scale architecture, interiors, furniture. All can be interesting but recently my focus is on the smaller scale – houses, interiors, furniture.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
RI : I am not a design legend. Focus on work but keep an eye on the world around.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
RI : The point of view I guess. Good designers would probably debate that too. Maybe it is the extra mile one would go to deliver above expectations.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
RI : When it does the job right and as per the brief. And when it has lasted 100 years and we still learn from it.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
RI : Sustainability. Good stuff lasts and you don’t have to pay for one thing too many times.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
RI : Anything, anyone. And I usually find time. Of course it helps a great deal to have a client that would trust you unconditionally.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
RI : Always the one I am working on at the moment. And the next one.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
RI : I don’t hold any secrets. Luck plays a role here too. And that is mainly the right client.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
RI : Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Right, Schindler, Rogers and many others

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
RI : Too many to list but I should mention the Ronchamp Chapel, The Eiffel Tower, Lloyds in London. They are brave and they have done the test of time.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
RI : I don’t see my design as great. I only try to get things right and I am happy when I succeed. I can not single out anything in particular. The Madeira project was a success, but I have also done few good jobs while working for other people – the Tate Modern first shops, still proud with that. My summer house was also fun to do and people seem to like it.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
RI : No recipes here. Look, listen, learn. And keep trying till you get it right.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
RI : I would be a painter

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?
RI : Work and pleasure. And insomnia

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
RI : People around me – family and colleagues I have had the luck to work with.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?
RI : My interest in beautiful things, my work.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?
RI : My path was clear. It just took a lot of time.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?
RI : Honestly

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
RI : Couple of small houses in the near future. Curiously both are for female divorcee friends.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
RI : Honesty. And getting more work.

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?
RI : Miracles

DL: How does design help create a better society?
RI : We hope to educate but it doesn’t always work. Sadly not everyone thinks that design is important.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
RI : As mentioned above – couple of small houses. One is by the sea, the other in the woods. Modern stuff

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
RI : The ones completed following my drawings. Madeira is a good example. I had a dream client there.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
RI : Improved communication between designers and producers. Better understanding of responsibilities and more honesty.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?
RI : One never knows. Design is seen as luxury so I suppose we will follow the money again.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
RI : How long is a piece of string? I always try to have everything finalized before production but it is never the case. People are very impatient

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?
RI : I ask about the money. Is there enough to achieve the desired product?

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?
RI : Never thought of that. I should think though. Honesty and simplicity is probably a good one.

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
RI : Works both ways. The stronger wins the battles.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?
RI : Helpful, but limited. I use mainly my head and heart.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
RI : CAD, Photoshop, my right hand

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?
RI : That is design. We just try to get them to talk to each other.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
RI : I wish I designed that

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
RI : A good client. All design is co-designed. Collaboration between client, designer, manufacturers.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?
RI : Clients usually but I always try to steer them to where I like to go.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
RI : All of them I suppose. It is the same with films, you don’t follow the story, you look at buildings and furniture. I get a lot of inspiration that way.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?
RI : Thru work I guess and again - look, listen, learn.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?
RI : Le Corbusier. I would be probably too shy to talk about work to him, but it would be great to shake hands and maybe have a drink together. I would always brag with that

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
RI : I have won only one award. And I am not famous

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
RI : I have no favourite color. The thing with colors is that they are never alone – there are always other colors next to them. It is about getting the balance work. Places are many, but I will mention Barbican here. I worked in the area for years and spent many days there. It thought me a lot. For food – Thai stands high but I am always pretty open when it comes to something new. All seasons are beautiful.

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?
RI : My father was acting as a construction consultant on my first house project. When I changed a dimension on my drawings he refused to amend his documentation following the change saying that the building was ugly anyway.

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
RI : When I have enough time to concentrate on actual work. And when I see that things are going the right way. Then it is followed by a bad night sleep.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
RI : Little was obvious then but I liked to draw a lot

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
RI : No idea. Hope it will be exciting and I will be still around

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?
RI : I always show to the client three options for the design and usually a forth gets built. Just kidding – it’s usually the third.