LEGENDARY INTERVIEW

Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Henk-Jan Room ("HR") for their original perspective and innovative approach to design as well as their creative lifestyle, we are very pleased to share our interview with our distinguished readers.

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?

HR : My background is in Industrial Product Design. I learned how to solve problems in an integral and pragmatic way. Over the years of having my own business I learned more about the creative process and way of thinking on a deeper and psychological level in order to solve problems in a unique and creative way. I call myself an Idea and Concept Designer. I focus on how to implement the digital world into the physical world (instead of the other way around).

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?

HR : I always wanted to be an inventor. I want to create and making the world a better place to live.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?

HR : Choose

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?

HR : I do design social and spatial concepts that bring people together in the real world. That is what I like to do the most! Always looking for a positive impact.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?

HR : Haha, thanks for the compliment! I think its important not only to react by means of working on client commissions but also invest in your own vision and ideas!

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?

HR : A vision!

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?

HR : A good design is functional and simple, addressing the right need behind the problem.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?

HR : A good design is integral and is not only solving problems but also creating new opportunities and adding value. Next to that it contains a businessmodel. A way to serve human needs and creating profits.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?

HR : Collaborate with the right people around me.

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?

HR : One of my favourite is the ‘subway symphony’ of James Murphy, because with his project he makes the subway more attractive and social by only giving a new meaning of sound.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?

HR : Having a vision about the future. Looking for a deeper level behind problems

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?

HR : Functional and serving.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?

HR : Businesspartners who also become friends of mine.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

HR : Having a clear vision. Taking risks by focusing on my own ideas and bring them to the market.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?

HR : Being busy and having the wrong order of priorities.

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

HR : By making real contact and connecting with the people around them. You can’t sell your work without having a connection with your audience / clients.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?

HR : More interactive projects for public space, like the Interactive Bench.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?

HR : To working towards a future world we still can and wants to live in. Serving truly needs of humanity and using technology to serve these needs.

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

HR : Deep understanding of the thinks / subject a designer is working on.

DL: How does design help create a better society?

HR : Creating new ways and possibilities for keeping the right balance between people, planet and profit.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?

HR : The Interactive Bench: A social bench that brings people together in the real world and enlarging safety on street.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?

HR : Social challenges I solve by putting it in a different context in order to come up with new concept proposals.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?

HR : Away from an efficiency-mindset whereby the focus is on mass production and cost reduction. Instead of that a stronger focus on a right balance of people-planet-profit, inspired by the lessons of nature.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?

HR : Everything and every discipline will melt together. Everything is more and more connected in one. The design industry will become important to every company and is a leading business that solves important contemporary problems and shaping the future that affects every life.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?

HR : Depending of the context..

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?

HR : Thinking about the source of a need / problem.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

HR : Connecting people in the real world. Encouraging real life interactions that leads to meaningful connections.

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?

HR : It is all holistic. Everything is connected in one and everything is related to each other.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?

HR : Serve human needs. Always supportive instead of leading.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?

HR : Mostly Solidworks and Photoshop.

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?

HR : Impact behavior and inviting the user to make use of the design.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?

HR : I should have designed that!

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?

HR : Absolutely! Co-designing can also be done by working with non-designers who complement expertises I don’t have.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?

HR : Steven Covey – 7 habits of highly effective people. Design is a way of living. It describes how to live out of your core values and to build strong relationships and to create a balanced life. The book ‘Start with Why’ – Simon Sinek and ‘Simplicity’ – Edward de Bono are some of the many books that also affected me as a designer.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?

HR : By doing.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?

HR : Leonardo da vinci

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?

HR : I'm very honoured and blessed. It also involves more responsibility to contribute to a better world.

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?

HR : Too many little moments in interactions with businesspartners and other people around me.

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?

HR : Working with the end in mind. Therefore vision is key. Starting the day with a clear focus by setting up the top 3 goals the day before.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?

HR : It was obvious to invent new things.

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?

HR : A strange mix of technology and nature what is complementing to each other. A society that is way too efficient.

LEGENDARY DESIGNER

AS A CONCEPT DESIGNER I WANT TO INSPIRE AND ENABLE HUMAN BEINGS TO CONNECT! ENCOURAGING REAL LIFE INTERACTIONS THAT LEAD TO MEANINGFUL CONNECTIONS BY MAKING USE OF TECHNOLOGY, MIXING THE DIGITAL WORLD INTO THE PHYSICAL (INSTEAD OF THE OTHER WAY AROUND). AS A DESIGNER I'M CONSTANTLY QUESTIONING WHAT MAKES US HUMAN. THINKING ABOUT OUR ROLE AS HUMAN BEINGS RELATED TO OUR SURROUNDINGS. TO GET INSPIRED I PRACTICE PERCEIVING WHAT’S AROUND ME WITHOUT JUDGEMENT. I CALL IT AMAZEMENT!


Coativity Interactive Jacket

Coativity Interactive Jacket by Henk-Jan Room

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