LEGENDARY INTERVIEW

Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Djivan Schapira ("DS") 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?

DS : I practiced a 10 year+ apprenticeship with my father. I then studied 5 years of Architecture and Design as Parsons School of Design in New York City

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

DS : It really just a way to release. Theres no specific reason I became a designer...its just what I felt I was put on this earth to do.

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

DS : Everyone should have the right to choose!

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

DS : Right now I mainly designer end tables and cocktails in addition to larger wall installations. I hope to in the future expand my portfolio and create larger pieces and seating.

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

DS : Considering the fact that I am only 25 I do not think I qualify to answer this question just yet haha. I guess for now they can tune in and see how it goes.

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

DS : I believe the difference between a good and great designer is distinguished by how far one is willing to push boundaries.

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

DS : I simply evaluate my designs by whether or not they satisfy my aesthetic desire and if they are structurally sound.

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

DS : Good design is imperative for the future of our society. We should not accept boring or conventional design in order to simply make more of a profit. On larger note, good design in the long run will be our answer to surviving as a species. If we don't pay attention to our foot print and use good design and be mindful of the environment, we'll have no where to practice "design" on!

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?

DS : I currently have the luxury of designing what I feel comfortable with. In the future I simply want to design for more people!

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?

DS : A dream project is undoubtedly to complete a boutique hotel inside and out. A true, full ABDB experience.

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

DS : If I told you it wouldn't be a secret now would it... Honestly I don't believe there is a secret ingredient. Every chef is different and has their own spices they like to use. That is was separates them from everyone else.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?

DS : Andy Warhol, Charles Eames, Eero Saarinen, M.C. Esher, Gaudi, Salvator Dali

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

DS : I don't know if there is time to open up that can of worms... but what I will say is that what these legends have been able to accomplish is develop a signature that they have been able to carry across the design spectrums. I one day hope to achieve this ability and spread my design capabilities into other areas of design.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?

DS : Given that I have only released a debut collection I think you will have to ask me this question again in a couple years!

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

DS : As I am only 25 and still consider myself to be a young designer all I can say is that it is necessary to step out of ones comfort zone and not be shy to try new things. I took me over a year to come close to understand what I was even doing and I still to this day am still learning. The main thing is to be confident and never give up!

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?

DS : I would have loved to become a musician. Who knows it may still happen...

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

DS : This is not the easiest question to answer but if I had to put it simply I would say design is the culmination of imagination, conceptualizing and bringing something to fruition.

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

DS : My father is undoubtedly the person I owe the most for teaching me all that he taught me. From learning how to look at things with a critical but understanding eye, to teaching me the craft of woodworking he is the man who in part has allowed me to become the man I am today. In addition there is no question that I would be where I am now without my business partner Andrew James. His belief in me alone has allowed ABDB to reach heights I did not think we obtain so quickly. I look forward to see where this journey takes us. And lastly my family and friends have always been incredibly supportive of me in this venture.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

DS : Like I've mentioned, I believe I'm just getting started so ask me this in a few years.

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

DS : I would not called myself a design master whatsoever. Im am just getting started.

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

DS : Any designer should present their work with the utmost respect. Someone who doesn't respect their art, doesn't respect themselves.

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

DS : I am currently working on pieces for my second collection. This will include but not be limited to new end and cocktail tables as well as some larger cabinets and various wall installations. Stay tuned!

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

DS : My ultimate goal is produce work that people feel a connection with. Allow their own personality to speak through the pieces they decide to own. Lastly a childhood dream I've always had was one day have a piece in MoMa in New York City!

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

DS : Like I've mentioned, I believe I'm just getting started so ask me this in a few years.

DL: How does design help create a better society?

DS : Good design in the long run will be our answer to surviving as a species. If we don't pay attention to our foot print and use good design and be mindful of the environment, we'll have no where to practice "design" on!

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

DS : I mentioned I usually don't disclose anything about pieces that aren't finished but I will say that I am working on what will be a magnificent screen. That's all I say.

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

DS : The bigger the better! I look forward to being able to create a large scale installation. That day has yet to come...I hope being featured through your prestigious award will help!

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

DS : I would like to see more young designers take the stage. The industry is predominately old school and I think its time for young designers to take the reins!

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

DS : Naturally we are a species that is forever looking to evolve. This evolution is dictated by our environment. Design is a constant juxtaposing between the past and present and seeing how what we've learned can elevate us to the next level. I cannot say for sure what the future of design is but I can surely say will be there for the journey.

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

DS : It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months! True greatness shouldn't have a deadline.

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

DS : Conceptualizing is definitely a very early and fun stage of the design process.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

DS : My motto in life in general is the glass is half full. Thats the only motto I carry.

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

DS : I don't think there is a true right or wrong answer here. I'll ask you this...what came first? The chicken or the egg?

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

DS : Like in every evolving industry technology plays a huge role here. While woodworking is a centuries old profession, resin is a different type of animal. If it weren't for the huge advancements that have been made in the world of resin this project would have proven much more difficult.

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

DS : From a computer perspective, we use Rhino, InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator. From equipment perspective, we use a bandsaw, a jigsaw, a belt sander, and other smaller tools/machines.

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

DS : IT IS EVERYTHING!

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?

DS : To be honestly I rather ask them what they think about my designs.

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

DS : I usually enjoy trying to deconstruct the piece and try to figure out how they were able to realize their creation. I find this to be a great way to inspire myself and come up with new techniques I can apply to my own designs.

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

DS : I 1000% believe in collaboration. Honestly as long as the vibe is there, things will flow. No need to set strict guidelines when looking for collaboration.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?

DS : My father in the early stages.

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

DS : Yes is More by B.I.G but I wouldn't say its effected my design...more so my way of thinking and working.

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

DS : Like I've mentioned, I believe I'm just getting started so ask me this in a few years.

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

DS : Oh man thats a great question...Unfortunately I really would have to ponder this one for a while. Ill have to get back to you...

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

DS : I don't think Im ready to answer this one...were just getting started.

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?

DS : Oh man....sorry to disappoint but theres not enough time in the world for me to answer all go these!

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

DS : I don't think Im ready to answer this one...were just getting started.

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

DS : I generally think of myself as a rather generally motivated person. Walking into the shop fuels my desire to get things done!!

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

DS : When I was little I wanted to be an astronaut. Then I watched Apollo 13 and I naturally shifted my focus.

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

DS : Whos to say....maybe an alien species will dig up one of my pieces and be like "damn these humans made some pretty cool shit"

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?

DS : If you're ever in the New York City area hit us up, well grab a drink, eat some cheese and talk design!

LEGENDARY DESIGNER

DJIVAN SCHAPIRA IS A FRENCH-BORN 25-YEAR OLD ARTIST, DESIGNER, CRAFTSMAN, AND FOUNDER OF ABDB DESIGNS. AFTER COMPLETING A 10-YEAR APPRENTICESHIP IN WOODWORKING WITH HIS FATHER, A MASTER WOODWORKER, SCHAPIRA LAUNCHED ABDB (AU BOUT DU BOIS) DESIGNS AS A PLATFORM TO CHANNEL HIS CREATIVITY, AND PROVIDE BREATHTAKING FUNCTIONAL FURNITURE, ART, AND ACCENT PANELING TO THE WORLD. BLURRING THE LINES BETWEEN ART AND FURNITURE, SCHAPIRA'S PIECES INCORPORATE HIS ONE OF A KIND, PATENT PENDING PROCESS OF STYLISTICALLY EMBEDDING CROSS-CUTS OF RECYCLED WOODEN END GRAIN IN COLORED RESIN. SCHAPIRA'S OBSESSION WITH END GRAIN CAME FROM WORKING WITH HIS FATHER AT AN EARLY AGE, AND WHILE AT PARSONS, SCHAPIRA DISCOVERED HIS APPRECIATION FOR PATTERNS AND SYMMETRY. ADDITIONALLY, WHILE STUDYING ARCHITECTURE AT PARSONS, SCHAPIRA CAME TO THE REALIZATION THAT UNDERSTANDING ARCHITECTURE WAS NECESSARY FOR SETTING A NEW BAR IN FURNITURE DESIGN. THIS EPIPHANY LED TO THE PURSUIT OF HIS VISION BY LEVERAGING HIS SYMMETRICALLY POSITIONED THE END GRAIN DISCS WHILE ALSO ALLOWING THE END GRAIN'S NATURAL BEAUTY AND UNIQUE PROPERTIES SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES. SCHAPIRA BELIEVES THAT BY CREATING A PROCESS AND A PRODUCT NEVER BEFORE SEEN IN THE ART OR FURNITURE WORLD, HE CAN INSPIRE OTHERS TO FOLLOW THEIR DREAMS OF CREATING NO MATTER HOW RADICAL THEY MAY SEEM. AS AN IMMIGRANT IN THE UNITED STATES, SCHAPIRA WAS NEARLY FORCED OUT OF THE COUNTRY DUE TO HIS EXPIRING STUDENT VISA STATUS. BY FOUNDING ABDB DESIGNS, AS WELL AS ACHIEVING PATENT PENDING STATUS, RECEIVING SMALL INVESTMENTS, AND RECRUITING A CO-FOUNDER TO HELP BUILD THE COMPANY, SCHAPIRA WAS ABLE TO SECURE THE PRESTIGIOUS E-2 BUSINESS VISA TO STAY IN THE COUNTRY DURING A TIME OF UNCERTAINTY, AS THE UNITED STATES BELIEVES IN ABDB STRONGLY ENOUGH TO ALLOW HIM TO PURSUE HIS DREAMS. SCHAPIRA WOULD NOTE ADDITIONAL ACHIEVEMENTS AS COMPLETING THE ARCHITECTURE PROGRAM AT PARSONS IN NEW YORK CITY, AS WELL AS CURATING SUCCESSFUL ABDB POP-UP EVENTS IN MULTIPLE CITIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY.


Andromeda Cocktail Table

Andromeda Cocktail Table by Djivan Schapira

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