Interview with Troy Backhouse


Winner of Furniture Design Awards

Award Winning Designer Troy Backhouse shares insights

 
 
 
 

Interview with Troy Backhouse at Monday 24th of October 2016:

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
TB : My skills have been brought together through the combination of a university degree (BA design) and a trade (traditional signwriting). The completion of a signwriting trade in Melbourne in 1992 was to form the basis of diverse manufacturing skills, material knowledge and fine artistic skills. In 1998 I ventured to London working on a variety of projects for clients such as Harrods, Belgos and The British Museum in the form of interior and exterior installations, traditional signwriting, and murals. A number of months were spent on restoration work at the British Museum (entrance foyer and reading room). On return to Australian I returned to University to complete a multi discipline design degree at Monash University. It is here I discovered a passion for furniture and products and focused my studies in industrial design.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
TB : Simply seeing a creation, an idea come to life is motivation to continually design. I became a designer by chance. I originally returned to study visual arts but something about creating 3d objects drew me to industrial design.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
TB : Having a natural ability to draw I was always going to follow a design or artistic path.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
TB : I predominately design furniture and lighting but would like to diversify into other areas, maybe to collaborate with a fashion designer..

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
TB : I don't see myself as a design legend, first time I have heard that, sounds funny! Young designers should follow their passion and see design as a lifestyle not just a job.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
TB : I believe it is the ability to connect with people through design.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
TB : A really good design is practical, it has to work. Aesthetics are subjective just like art is. It needs to appeal to its designated market but not everybody is going to like the same design but it needs to function.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
TB : Good design should evoke emotion. If the buyer has an emotional attachment to a design they are more likely to keep it for a long period of time. Investing in good design i

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
TB : I would like to have a go at designing a motorcycle. I'm not sure for who, maybe Triumph, they have awesome bikes.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
TB : I think the recipe to success in design is to be passionate about what you are doing if it becomes a chore it might be time to move onto something else.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
TB : They often change but at this moment I am inspired by Patricia Urquiola and Jaime Hayon.

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
TB : I love the playfulness of the Showtime Armchair by Jaime Hayon.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
TB : My favourite design is the ESCAPsulE chair. It was one of my first designs and I know the work that went into it.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
TB : Visit lots of manufacturers get involved with them and learn from their knowledge.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
TB : I love painting so I might have tried my hand at becoming an artist.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?
TB : I define design as trying to make improvements on what exists or trying to create something that does not exist if that is possible!

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?
TB : Designers should utilise their strengths when presenting work. If you are good at hand renderings present it that way, if you are good at 3d cad modelling or creating scaled 3d models use these methods. It is important to present your design to show it the best way you can.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
TB : My next design project is looking at the future of learning and how education is moving forward yet the furniture around this move is not really changing.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
TB : To leave objects that are useful, people appreciate and want to own.

DL: How does design help create a better society?
TB : Design educates people about not being wasteful. Good design should last so that we don't need to impact the environment as much as we do. Not all good design needs to be expensive.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
TB : From concept to finished prototype ready for manufacture usually takes around 4 - 6 months some can a be a little quicker and some can drag out for years. It all depends on the project.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?
TB : I can usually visualize quite clearly in my mind what I want to achieve so my designs begin by a long process of refining it in my head before moving to sketching the idea on paper.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?
TB : Enjoy what you are doing, you only live once!

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?
TB : I often like to see if there is a new technology to apply to concepts I have designed. Sometimes it begins with the technology other times I see whether a design can be manufactured better or more efficiently with technology.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
TB : The human hands, rhino 3d and illustrator are my predominant tools used when designing.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
TB : I always smile when I see good design it makes me think people are doing something right.

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
TB : Colour - We know it's not a colour but black. Place - Outside of Melbourne, Medellin. Food - Penne amatriciana. Season - I actually like the change in Seasons, I'll lean toward Summer. Thing and brand, my Doc Martens, they have taken me all over the world.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
TB : When I was a young child I thought I was going to grow up to be Tarzan!