Interview with Tim Kwok

Winner of Furniture Design Awards

Award Winning Designer Tim Kwok shares insights


Interview with Tim Kwok at Sunday 12th of August 2018:

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
TK : I graduated from Industrial Design at RMIT University, Australia. Now I am working as a professional product designer in Hong Kong.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
TK : I believe design not only can easily assimilate into our daily life, besides, it also innovative and decorative, to simplify my word, design can easily make changes because it is closely related to our lives. I am especially interested in how design can make changes and benefit all life. This is the reason why I become a designer.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
TK : I choose to become a designer myself because I like art and design.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
TK : I have the ability to design different products, but I would like to get involved in the furniture design field.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
TK : I think they have to be curious and be passionate about design all the time, willing to accept the challenge and have the ability to solve problems independently.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
TK : Good designer cares about the appearance of the product, they can design a good looking design. But great designer not only cares about the appearance of the product, they also consider the function, the entire user experience of the product and the environmental issues, moreover, they also care about recycling part after the end of the product.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
TK : My basic rule of good design is "form following function", this is my bottom line of design. And the innovation, improvement, ability to solve a problem and the perfect combination of function and art of a designed product are what make a design successful.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
TK : The value of good design should not only about money and appearances, it is about how to improve our life and make changes. Good design can make a long-term benefit, it does not only benefit the company but also benefit the user.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
TK : I would like to design a multi-function furniture for household use if I have spare time.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
TK : My secret recipe of success in design is curiosity and passionate with design. Curiosity lead me to learning and passionate help me to create better design.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
TK : I often inspired from Marcel Wanders, his design is iconic, unique, inspiring and innovative. He can bring ordinary materials and old technologies to the new use, therefore his design often inspire me a new way of thinking.

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
TK : One of my favourite design is Marcel Wanders' Knotted Chair. I like the way how the soft yarn material and old knotting technique come together to become a strong, practical and beautiful new chair by impregnated with epoxy resin. This design opens a new way of object making.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
TK : My greatest design is Cocoon chair. Cocoon chair not only is a perfect combination of art and design, it is also developed by a long process that aims to bring out maximum comfort and natural experience to the user by using the minimum material. The outcome is a minimal structure that represents a natural comfort form and it serves as a functional piece of furniture which called Cocoon.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
TK : I think they have to be curious and be passionate about design all the time, willing to accept the challenge and have the ability to solve problems independently.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
TK : I think I will be an artist if I hadn’t become a designer, because I like art since I was small.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?
TK : Design can mean a lot of different things to me. For example, design can be a way of problem solving, and it is also can be a development process. Different ways of design can lead to different interesting results, so I am opening to the answer.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
TK : Of course, my biggest supporter is my family, but my University lecturer also play a significant role in my life, they inspire me to develop my own design path.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?
TK : It is my curiosity and passionate help me to become a greater designer.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?
TK : I think the obstacles is losing passion with design, I think once you lost your passion, your design work cannot be good.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?
TK : I think designers should present their work in a simple and clear way, good design can tell its story by its shape.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
TK : Now I am working on a multi-function lighting design, the lighting will introduce a brand new system on the function. This new function gives more flexibility for the user to change the usage and create their personal arrangement. I hope this design can change the usual way of lighting.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
TK : My ultimate goal is my design can innovate and benefit all life on the earth.

DL: How does design help create a better society?
TK : I think design this word is not limited to mean an object, it can be a solution to a problem or it can be a system. Design usually appear when a designer considers a situation as a problem, so design can provide a solution to a problem and help improve our society and our life to a better way.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
TK : Cocoon chair gives me the most satisfaction because it successfully reflects my goal and expectation with the design. It is a perfect combination of art and design, and it also successfully bring minimum material to present natural comfort. The outcome is a minimal structure that represents a natural comfort form and it serves as a functional piece of furniture.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
TK : I want to see more innovative and interactive design in the design industry in the coming years. The design industry is moving on a direction that people do not only fulfil with stylish design, they also consider the user experience, therefore I like to see more connection between human and design, and innovation in the design field.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?
TK : I think the design field is heading next to a more flexible and interactive direction, people want to dominate their sense of stylish, instead of others telling them what is the trend.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?
TK : All of my projects start with research.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?
TK : - Less is more. - Curiosity is the power of knowlege, imagination is the power of creativity.

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
TK : I believe design sets the trend. A product becomes popular not based on the trend, it is the well-considered good design makes a product become successful, and after that, the others follow the outcome and it is then become a trend.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?
TK : The role of technology is like a great assistant for a designer, it helps us brings imagination to become reality.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
TK : I mostly use pencil and pen to sketch out my concept on paper, besides, computer graphic (Illustrator and Photoshop) and 3D software (Rhino and Solidworks) also a great help on my design.

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
TK : The colour, materials and ambient are playing important role in design. These three elements can stimulate human senses thus to make the judgment about a design. For example, people will first use their vision to look at the surface, colour and shape and decide to engage with the design. Then they start to use their hand to touch the material and finally experience the product. These three elements can directly link to how people feel and experience the design.

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?
TK : How you come up with the concept?

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
TK : When I see a new great design or product, the first question come to my mind is "how they build it?"

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
TK : I feel honoured to receive every award, each of the award is recognition of my hard work and my talent. Design field is a very large industrial, there are a lot of talented designers around the world, therefore I believe it is very challenging to be famous.

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
TK : I can not tell what is going to happen in a thousand years later, but I think design will keep on changing and improving. In the past, designers were talking about aesthetics, art with function... but now, design is not only about beauty but also about innovation, improvement, problem-solving and sustainability... Therefore I believe design will keep evolving and wait for the new generation to open a new chapter.