Interview with Oblikus Design Studio

Winner of Lighting and Baby Products Design Awards

Award Winning Designer Oblikus Design Studio shares insights


Interview with Oblikus Design Studio at Monday 13th of August 2018:

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
OD : We both went to a Vocational High School for Design, the Industrial and Interior Design Department. Afterwards we both studied Industrial Design at the Faculty of Applied Arts in Belgrade. We were classmates in both schools and we were the two out of four students in total admitted in the department that year.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
OD : We loved art and creative work from the early age. After painting and sculpting we discovered Design in school and were obsessed with it! The possibility of creating an object or an experience that would affect someone’s life (in a good way) is a really powerful and motivating notion.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
OD : We both chose to become designers. We loved it from the early school days.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
OD : We design various things, light objects, furniture for children, electronics, audio equipment.. We would love to design more objects with focus on interaction and generally meaningful design solutions.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
OD : We would like to stress the importance of getting involved in the industry as early as possible. The essence is learned at schools but the biggest knowledge comes from real projects. It is common for designers to be involved with very different projects in terms of technology, experience and context. We would encourage young designers to gain experience through internships or pro bono projects. And of course expand their knowledge outside design – world culture, psychology, technology, even economy and business.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
OD : Good designer will solve the problem and even make a beautiful product. A great designer will also elevate the user experience and recognize some needs to be met but weren’t obvious at start.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
OD : We think a really good design needs to examine all aspects of the product as a whole. The user, the need, the technology, the context, the economical side, impact to the environment and the product after life.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
OD : Good design will have strong emotional and practical impact on the user. He will then become a returning customer and a brand ambassador.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
OD : If we had the time we would love to participate with any project that resolves any of the many world problems and struggles.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
OD : The dream project would be some smart medical product that will hopefully help people in everyday health care.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
OD : We believe in honesty in design. Designing not to impress but to make what you think is valuable and important.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
OD : Luckily we have many designers to admire. Dieter Rams, Jasper Morisson, Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, Benjamin Hubert, Konstantin Grcic.

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
OD : We love the legendary Dieter Rams’ designs because they are well thought and honest. The Chair One for Magis by Grcic is beautiful with its structural aesthetic.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
OD : We like the simple appearance of our Moonlight luminaires, where the focus is on the user interaction and technology.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
OD : We think designers need to engage in many different and challenging projects. And also to try to expand their knowledge and experience beyond design.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
OD : Miroslav would most probably be an architect and Tamara would be a letter maker, calligraphy and type designer.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?
OD : For us, design is a cross-disciplinary process where aesthetics, technology and emotion are integrated to create meaningful solutions.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
OD : Our biggest supporters were family and friends who believed in what we do and were there many times when we needed help and understanding. Some of them are amazing professionals in fields of physics, engineering or electronics and shared their time and knowledge selfishly to help us make the best of our projects.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?
OD : We think that designers are usually muli-talented people. They can draw, paint, build things, play instruments, good with trades, very curious and eager to learn. People should find time to nourish their talents and guide them into a profession.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?
OD : Our biggest obstacle was the socio-economical environment, growing up in a Eastern European country with developing economics. The design projects were scarce so we had to make enormous effort to advance professionally.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?
OD : With today’s technology and software available it is easy to make a good quality computer generated visualization of your idea. It is also easy to build your own website. We encourage designers to invest in prototyping and creating production friendly real life representations when possible as the real object delivers an even more powerful impression.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
OD : We are hoping to finish some ongoing projects and to engage more directly with manufacturers.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
OD : Our ultimate goal is to have many people happily using our product around the world.

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?
OD : To use our creative capacities to solve problems which will hopefully make world a better place.

DL: How does design help create a better society?
OD : Design has the power to not only help create more beautiful or more useful products but to enhance lives, everyday experiences and reduce problems. It also has an important role to be a humanist voice in the society of modern production.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
OD : We have been developing designs for a range of high end audio equipment for over a year now. It is reaching the pre production stage and we are very excited to be able to share it with the world very soon.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
OD : Two of our favorite projects are Moonlight and Creachair. The first one is a series of interactive luminaires that change intensity with touch. It received A’Design award and the Red Dot: Best of the Best Award, and is currently permanently featured in the Red Dot Design Museum in Singapore. We created these as an in house project and have made the luminaire series by ourselves. It it was very unique experience to create and produce such technology objects by means of self production. The other project is also an A’Desing awarded design, a chair with caracter that encourages tactile experience and learning through play for small children. It is of great satisfaction to create design objects for kids, and especially if they enhance creativity. Developing both projects was a wonderful experience.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
OD : We would like to see more attention towards design for sustainability. Products need to be designed to serve a better experience, creating less harm to environment and designed to be easily recycled. This should become a standard not an additional design feature.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?
OD : Awareness for the human centered and holistic design is more present in the design and we hope it will keep this course.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
OD : Here comes the dreaded “it depends” answer :) Because the designers are one link in the whole process we are often tied up by other people, decisions or events. More straight forward project that do not require in depth user research can be done in one month. Yet we have projects that have been lasting for over two years.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?
OD : At the beginning of the design process we try to identify the need for the product and to locate the problems and examine the overall context. We research to understand the users perspective, the technology and the market. And then we start with ideation and brainstorm solutions.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?
OD : For us, design is about finding a balance between the need, the form, the technology and the context of the experience.

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
OD : In our opinion design should be aware of trends but not slave them. Good design has to outlive trends.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?
OD : Technology is a very important aspect when you design physical objects. We try to understand it the best as we can, and to learn as much as we can to be able to give the best solution in the current time frame.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
OD : We use both surface and parametric software, depending on the project. There are so many affordable prototyping options available for rent, that we use only when needed - like 3D printing, CNC milling or laser cutting. We are also big fans of traditional prototyping with clay, foam or wood.

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
OD : Those are integral and essential elements of design. They equally affect the emotion and user experience. Sometimes it is sufficient to tackle color, material and ambient without much designing the form, to successfully meet the need with the product.

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?
OD : Actually, the feedback that people are giving as about our products are useful and inspiring so it is always good to have a conversation in two directions.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
OD : When we see a new great product we want to learn more about the people who stand behind the design. It is inspirational to find great thinkers and good professionals in the industry.

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
OD : We work as a team. We use the best of our sometimes different perspectives and sensibilities to offer unique design solutions. Co-design is one of the best ways to find new solutions.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?
OD : We were privileged to meet a lot of young designers at design exhibitions worldwide and it's always influencing and inspiring.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
OD : To name a few - The design of everyday things by Donald A. Norman, The Elements of Design: Rowena Reed Kostellow and the Structure of Visual Relationships by Gail Greet Hannah, Dieter Rams: As Little Design as Possible, Change by design by Tim Brown, etc.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?
OD : We think that accepting challenges and stepping out of comfort zone had a significant role in diversifying skills and knowledge. We approached every project with passion and in-depth attention.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?
OD : We would want to discuss with Nikola Tesla, a fellow Serbian who left his small home town and changed the world.

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
OD : We have received only handful of awards and we feel grateful that all of our effort is being recognized. And we are surely not that famous (yet).

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
OD : Color: Neon Yellow-Green Pantone 396 (from our logo); Place: Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Louvre Museum; Food: Southeast Asian; Season: Winter and Spring; Brand: Normann Copenhagen.

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?
OD : Oh there are so many memories, it is really hard to pick a one.

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
OD : We think a day was great if we learned something exciting, managed to move the project forward or have a coffee with a fellow designer. We have a lot of ideas and finding ways to visualize or conceptualize them motivates us to continue with the development.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
OD : Miroslav: My teacher in kindergarten pointed out the creativity with drawings, which I still keep. And I was that kid who took most of the toys apart and made new ones combining the various parts. Tamara: I loved drawing and making things. I was a dreamer with an extraordinary imagination.

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
OD : We like imagining the happy version. Everyone is healthy and educated. There are no wars, famine or a mistreated child. Machines do all the work and we spend time traveling space.

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?
OD : They can find out interesting details on our instagram page @oblikusdesign