Interview with Svilen Gamolov

Winner of Furniture Design Awards

Award Winning Designer Svilen Gamolov shares insights


Interview with Svilen Gamolov at Sunday 10th of June 2018:

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
SG : In 1989 I graduated the National High School of Plastic Arts and Design "Academician Dechko Uzunov", Kazanlak with a profile "Industrial Design". In 1995 I graduated the National Academy of Arts, Sofia - profile: "Industrial Design". I have also a specialization in Norway with a profile "Interior design" during the period 1991-1992.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
SG : It is complicated to explain what motivates me. For me to design is as natural as breathing, i.e. is something you do not think about but do because it is a part of you. It follows that design chose me.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
SG : It was, of course, my choice. Since childhood, I create objects from all sorts of things. I am grateful to my parents for their support and encouragement.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
SG : At the moment I am focused on designing furniture and some products for children. As an industrial designer, I can equally work on designing different products. I also do well with interior design. Most of my projects in recent years are in the field of furniture design.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
SG : To work hard. Hard work is that essential quality, which will boost the talent and give progressive results.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
SG : A good designer knows the established standards and applies them well. A great designer goes beyond that and creates new “solutions” that become new “standards".

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
SG : Good design performs well its purpose, really good design changes the way of thinking of the whole society.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
SG : Good design has the ability to change the way we live. To invest in good design is a natural process as we invest in a better life.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
SG : I find time for my projects, no matter how busy I am. My consciousness always works on several levels. One of them is busy with projects for my personal archive. The projects are different and are from architectural concepts to furniture projects.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
SG : Architectural and interior complex, entirely by my project.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
SG : Careful observation of the surrounding world, synthesis and application of the acquired knowledge and as final - adding a drop of "creative madness".

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
SG : Antoni Gaudi, James Dyson, Charles and Ray Eames, Frank Lloyd Wright, Dieter Rams, Marc Newson, Tom Dixon, Ron Arad, Luigi Colani, Naoto Fukasawa and many more.

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
SG : Marc Newson's Еmbryo chair for me is a "game changer" in the furniture form factor for its time. The same with almost every masterpiece of the Luigi Colani's automotive designs. The effects of such kind of "time shifts" are still tangible today.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
SG : I think it’s Zogo Sofa, created in 2016 and exhibited in Milan, 2017. It is an elegant and very comfortable sofa. It is sporty and luxurious. This sofa should not only be seen, but to be felt.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
SG : Even if we have a talent, we must work hard and with perseverance to justify this gift. Muse is not а lazy designer's friend. To develop a talent is necessary perseverance and endless self-improvement. In this context, I develop every day as a designer.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
SG : Fulfilling my childhood dream of becoming an astronaut.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?
SG : Design is a synthesis of science, technology and art. Everything starts with the application of the exact function of the objects, determination of the appropriate construction and technology. The outer form is only a complete expression of all this.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
SG : My friends and colleagues, a big part of the Bulgarian design community, my family.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?
SG : The sea is my inspiration, strength and my secret creative weapon.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?
SG : In the beginning of my career was the lack of experience. But I was able to use every obstacle and lack of experience or knowledge in my favor. Тhis is exactly what made me learn more and overcome each difficulty with greater willingness. Creativity is boundless freedom based on the pursuit of knowledge.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?
SG : In the best and honest way they can.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
SG : I never work only in one project. Soon I will present new series of innovative kitchens, chairs and upholstered furniture, some innovative baby strollers, products for kids and many more.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
SG : I believe that my role as a designer is to affect people so to see the beauty and elegance of the world, to be better and to live better. This is my main message and goal.

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?
SG : А new look at their way of life.

DL: How does design help create a better society?
SG : Design is not just creating beautiful things, but responsibilities, which are concerned not only with the education of good aesthetic taste. Design is part of the vision of tomorrow's world that is being created today. I think it's very important to realize that you are part of what the world will be in 50 or 100 years or even more. An idea may be so ahead of its time and to completely change the direction of development of the industry, the whole of society and its culture. Such ideas appear rare in history and are extremely important. An example is the invention of the wheel in ancient times. Very complicated is the answer to the question whether such an idea would change the world to better or to worse.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
SG : I'm currently working on some of my personal designs for chairs and upholstered furniture. It can be said that every day for me is crazy and beautiful with regard to ideas. So nothing different from usual is happening to me. Which makes me constantly smiling.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
SG : All my projects are created with passion. But I attach the greatest importance to projects, made me learn something new. Such project now is the creation of new products for children.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
SG : I would be glad to see a closer connection between the training in the schools and the real problems of production, technology and the needs of the society for which the products are ultimately intended. I would also love to see a more open industry confidence environment for young professionals. Because they need a job in which to put their knowledge and acquire new ones. It would be great if more governments around the world set in their priorities a program for development, support and promotion of design as an appropriate instrument for the development of its own economy and culture.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?
SG : The fast development of 3D printing and other advanced technologies connected with the artificial intelligence will lead to a radical change in the design and production fields.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
SG : From two hours to one week.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?
SG : I start sketching, then I select the best idea. And that's the beginning of the long way to the end product that follow.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?
SG : Observe, think, create.

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
SG : Design sets the trends. That's for sure.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?
SG : Technology has the most important role in developing of any idea.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
SG : I start everything from a number of sketches. For this purpose, I always have my tablet with me or enough sheets of paper. Then I turn the ideas into 3D models and drawings using a variety of design tools.

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
SG : They are, of course, of great importance. I would say that there is no design without material and material without color. Even fully transparent materials have a color refractive index. Materials and colors reflect the environment as well as the environment reflects them. In order for a harmonious environment to exist, design objects should fit into it or, if not, they can serve as a focus or focal point. Building a composition is a matter of choice. All these elements are inseparable from each other.

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?
SG : I don’t want people to ask about my design, but to use it. When there are no questions, I know my work is done well.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
SG : To create something even better.

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
SG : Talented, honest and self-efficient. Yes, the benefit of co – design is the generation of better ideas with a high degree of originality and user value.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?
SG : I can not name certain people. But if I still have to mention someone, then these are some friends and colleagues, as well as my clients in my everyday work.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
SG : Unfortunately, I do not have much time to read books lately. I read mainly technical literature, social and economic analysis. Up to 20 years old I have read almost every science-fiction book available in bookstores. Then the only thing I was interested in was news about design and technology, books on ergonomics, anatomy and psychology. I miss those long, sunny and idle days with a book in my hand. A book I do not let go until I read the last line. Marquez's " One Hundred Years of Solitude " charmed and confused me, but I could not get away from the pages. My imagination was obsessed by Umberto Eco's "The Name of the Rose". I can reread the "Little Prince" by Exupery every Sunday night all my life. Bulgakov's "The Master and Margarita" has a special place in my soul. The list is long. The works of Jules Verne, Ray Bradbury, Henrik Senkevich, The Strugatsky brothers, Nikolay Raynov, Pavel Vezhinov and others fueled my imagination as a child.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?
SG : There is no secret in this. I just do not stop working. The best rest for me is when I invent something new.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?
SG : Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Nikola Tesla, Isaac Newton, Pythagoras, Socrates, Aristotle, Jimmy Hendrix, Ernest Hemingway and so many more.

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
SG : I am honored to be recognized for my work.

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
SG : Orange, seashore, Bulgarian yogurt, my drawing tablet, TESLA.

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?
SG : I can't remember.

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
SG : It is difficult to describe the experience of inspiration. Burst of creativity comes out in different situations. The way ideas occur to me is similar to magic. It's an adventure, filled with healthy doses of adrenaline. It is a process of impressions accumulation, analysis and synthesis of unconscious and conscious images and shapes as well. It is a result of the constant mind effort to find solutions. As a matter of fact, the more an artist creates, the more ideas come to him.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
SG : Thank you for this definition, but I think still I have a lot to do. If we talk about my childhood, my parents suspected something like this. But I was not sure. So I turned every toy into a pile of parts, from which I assembled new machines, electrical devices and even functioning weapons (to my mother's horror).

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
SG : In 1,000 years we'll probably live on Mars, the Moon, or maybe even in another planets beyond the solar system. I don't believe in the Apocalyptic scenario for the human race. In time we grow older, we grow wiser, smarter and stronger.

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?
SG : The best is yet to come.