LEGENDARY INTERVIEW

Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Vassili Tselebidis ("VT") 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?

VT : In between my studies in space and visual arts in Brussels, I started to develop my artistic world. I fully committed to it when I was selected by Pascaline Smets to be featured at the Smets Young Talents 2015. During this event that promotes young designers, I presented my first graphic designs and I decided to materialize three of them through fine jewelry. My work then attracted the attention of the plastic arts department of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation and thanks to the prototyping aid that has been granted to me, I was able to produce the prototypes of my first collection in the course of 2018.

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

VT : I became a designer to fulfill my needs of creativity and I am motivated by the opportunity to bring emotions into people's lives.

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

VT : I am focusing on fine jewelry at the moment which is an art that I particularly admire. I wish to continue developing the concept of my first fine jewelry collection but also, to present new collections independent from it but always based on my emblem.

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

VT : I focus on the originality and details of the overall design. I do ask myself “Is this déjà-vu?” Then I pay attention to the quality of materials and production.

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

VT : The longevity of it. A well-thought and manufactured product will last over time. Of course, it costs a dime but it’s an investment. I have always preferred to own less but better.

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

VT : Jewelry for my mother because I have always known her bejeweled. I know that she will feel so proud to own my designs. I would love also to jewel Céline Dion. I love everything about her character, path, and music of course. Tell her I have all the time she wants.

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

VT : A short fashion film inspired by my mother’s life which will highlight a bunch of my designs. I have already written the scenario but I need some coins to put it all together and pay all the talents I'd like to work with.

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

VT : I love anything Victoire de Castellane. I think her designs are bold and different.

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

VT : My current designs. The main aspects of this collection that makes me think it’s great are the concept of interlocking and the evolvement of the pieces. Every design has been imagined in several parts that can be worn independently or combined in many possible ways. Thanks to this concept of interlocking, everyone is given the opportunity to conceive a piece of jewelry according to their taste and with the balance they desire. Over time, clients can decide to acquire new rings that are compatible with the pieces they already possess. And even if the consumer decides not to, he or she knows that this is always an option to add a new acquisition to the one they already have and make something new out of it.

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

VT : I would have probably continued to work as a graphic designer in an agency. But am I already a designer? I am wondering now.

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

VT : Design is a lifestyle for me. I style my life in its every aspect and I envision every single detail of it. Design is part of my daily routine on many levels.

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

VT : I have met a few supporters during my path. Some of them have supported me financially others emotionally. I hope to be able to pay them my gratitude when I will indeed reach a high level.

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

VT : I have the ambition to diversify my brand's product portfolio in the future, from clothes to leather goods to footwear. I believe greek philosopher, Heraclitus, quoted that big results require big ambitions.

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

VT : Longevity. The real success for me is to last in time and to achieve this goal, risks have to be taken and consequently, success comes and goes.

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

VT : A versatile leather bag for a friend of mine. I can tell no more because she might be reading it and it is a surprise. Hush.

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

VT : To be more concerned in general. Now that the world is facing an unprecedented crisis, we all start to understand that it is time to slow down and make things the right way. We have to educate each other to understand that good design takes time and be more considerate to those around us and what surrounds us.

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

VT : I think the design field is becoming more aware of the needs of its creativity. It takes time to design and conceptualize. We think that we have to perpetually put things on the market to be relevant. But it doesn’t make sense anymore because there are too many things happening in a short amount of time. The future is now and we are already experiencing changes. I think of Jean-Paul Gaultier who has decided to follow an upcycling approach of Haute Couture or Saint Laurent who has announced that they will evolve at their own pace from now on. The frenetic speed that these powerhouses were somehow obliged to respect was not durable and now Mother Nature reminds us of that in some way. There was too much pressure for too many years and it affected us all.

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

VT : I start by making some research on what is already on the market and I try to go in the opposite direction.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

VT : “Every artist was first an amateur” by American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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

VT : The good old “chicken or egg” paradox. People got crazy by trying to resolve this question. Leave me alone, I have already enough obsessions as it is. Laughing out loud. I think it’s a perpetual renewal and it goes both ways. Whatever way you choose, play the game by your rules.

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

VT : Thanks to my graphic skills, I do sometimes translate my sketches into a digital file on my computer because I want to make sure that my ideas are properly assimilated during production and that there is no room for interpretation. Especially, when it comes to jewelry, technology has nowadays a big role as every design is converted into a digital file using 3D software. The digital file is then used to print a burn-out resin model. This particular point is very important because of the geometric shape of my designs and the fact that they are intended to be connected. This step defines the rest of the production process and is made all over again for every piece that will be hand-finished by a goldsmith.

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

VT : Adobe Creative Suite.

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

VT : Storytelling. In my opinion, details have a very important place and nothing should be left to chance. I feel like writing a scenario while designing but there’s no end to it because every design comes with multiple stories as it is intended to be handled by a variety of profiles.

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

VT : Damn, I should have thought of it.

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

VT : Anything Fashionary or Taschen.

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

VT : Jean-Paul Gaultier. There’s always a twist to anything he does, from elegant to camp. Plus he seems funny so I guess we would have a great time together.

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

VT : I find blue prestigious, elegant, and bright at the same time. Anything bluish makes me happy. My favorite place to be is Greece because it is in my heart. Even if I wasn't born there, it's the country of my origins. An iced coffee or a glass of wine with a cigarette alongside my family, friends, and facing the sea. I will always cherish the Greek lifestyle and food as well. I also have a soft spot for sushi. Don’t judge me, it is so cliché I know. My favorite season would be winter because it allows you to wear so many different pieces and mix a wide range of accessories and materials. A piece of jewelry is my absolute favorite thing of course. I could stare at it for hours and as my favorite brand… At the moment, I would probably say Berluti because creative director, Kris Van Assche, has really zhuzhed it up.

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

VT : I wear what I design so I find it funny to see the expression of people’s faces every time they understand that I designed it.

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

VT : All kinds of music. Whether to celebrate a goal I've achieved, to find inspiration, or to comfort myself in a moment of sadness, music has an important place in my daily life.

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

VT : I know nothing about being a great designer, I just know that I’ve always wanted to do something in the creative field. As long as I remember, I’ve always been a creative soul. Unfortunately, like many children around the world, we are pressured by our creators to respect what they have envisioned for us. I began to consider my desires when I decided to live my true self and stop hiding behind cultural or religious beliefs.

LEGENDARY DESIGNER

IN BETWEEN HIS STUDIES IN SPACE AND VISUAL ARTS AT THE ART SCHOOL SAINT-LUC IN BRUSSELS, AMBROISE VASSILI STARTED TO DEVELOP HIS ARTISTIC WORLD. IN 2015, HE WAS SELECTED BY PASCALINE SMETS TO BE FEATURED AT THE SMETS YOUNG TALENTS. DURING THIS EVENT THAT PROMOTES YOUNG DESIGNERS, HE PRESENTED HIS FIRST GRAPHIC DESIGNS. AND HE DECIDED TO MATERIALIZE THREE OF THEM THROUGH FINE JEWELRY, AN ART THAT HE PARTICULARLY ADMIRES. HIS WORK ATTRACTED THE ATTENTION OF THE PLASTIC ARTS DEPARTMENT OF THE WALLONIA-BRUSSELS FEDERATION AND THANKS TO THE PROTOTYPING AID THAT HAS BEEN GRANTED TO HIM, HE WAS ABLE TO PRODUCE THE PROTOTYPES OF HIS FIRST COLLECTION IN THE COURSE OF 2018.


Interlock Rings

Interlock Rings by Vassili Tselebidis

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