|Born||1967 (age 49â€“50)
|Education||B.S. Art Center College of Design|
Sometimes you can find peace of mind by transferring yourself to different situations. They’re just reminders to stay… calm.
Design certainly has a cosmetic, aesthetic aim. It always aims at making things beautiful. But relevance is just as important. I often say, ‘If it isn’t ethical, it can’t be beautiful. But if it isn’t beautiful, it probably shouldn’t be at all.’
When I first came to the Bay area, I worked in Silicon Valley in the early to mid-’90s, and I think what mattered then was our ability as designers to create a vision around people’s ideas.
It’s not about putting a speaker in a chair or putting a TV in a bed. That’s not how technology and the home intersect. For me, it’s about sensors, about the home knowing where you are.
What got me really excited about Tylko is the fact that it bridges the gap between tradition and technology. It expands the designer’s ability to create a language, to create ideas, to create a set of proportions, a set of details, and to apply those across a really wide range of applications.
Design is a tool that either allows us to create new markets or disrupt existing ones.
Design accelerates the adoption of new ideas. And many of these ideas are important for designers to show that there is a way. When you see things through that lens, you realize it applies to any industry and any form of design.
For each project I do, I try to surprise myself, do the unexpected, and change my own status quo. From the One Laptop Per Child, the Herman Miller Sayl, or the latest Movado watch collection, there is always an insecurity about being able to do something important. I think each of those projects makes me feel like we have progressed.
I’m interested in technology for the masses. Good tech design should not just be for enthusiasts but for the general public. It should be something that touches everyone.
I am passionate about what design can do – how far it can support the new ideas and the new ways of living of this 21st Century. Good design accelerates this exciting future where manufacturing is local, materials and processes are cradle to cradle, business models are both socially and financially driven.
What I learned from my years in Silicon Valley is that design can have a primary role in how a business is shaped, how a company can be design-driven. In my experience of large industry in Europe, that knowledge has been lost.
Part of my life is spent designing in urban centers, and part of my life has been spent in factories. But the other part of my life is spent in nature.
An ideal day for me is a combination of a fun-exciting creative moment with work partners, some laughs and games with my kids, a good surf session, and great conversation with friends around a meal.
I’ve been influenced by some of the greatest designers. Charles Eames. And Bruno Munari in the ’50s in Italy – when they had to retool the industry of war into an industry to help society. In a way, I’m influenced by designers that were there at a radical time of change.
Having one foot in design and the other in sustainable and social projects, I hear this question quite often: ‘Why does the world need another chair?’ My answer is that the world needs another chair/bicycle/car or any new product for that matter, like the world needs another book.
Juicero is the first company to make cold-pressed juice something that people can make themselves at home. The challenges to design and engineer a press that can deliver 8,000 pounds of force are tremendous.
Kodak has always represented innovation that is approachable while delivering the craft of filmmaking.
Integrating breakthrough technology into everyday products is always a challenge; at the same time, this is exactly how design makes tech products easily adoptable in life.
I have been working with Hive, part of British Gas, on reinventing the thermostat. Now you can control your heating at the press of a button on your phone. As I say, design should permeate every part of society.
I truly believe that everything Sci-fi taught me as a child about an efficient and wondrous world will be happening in my lifetime.
The biggest challenge is that when people look at low price point products, they essentially invest less money in development, innovation, and new technology. And in order to innovate at a lower price point, and make sustainability attainable to the masses, you have to invest more. But that’s counterintuitive for a lot of businesses.
I truly believe that we’re about to enter a second golden age of design. The first one was in the ’50s and ’60s, when designers like Raymond Loewy, Charles Eames, George Nelson and Dieter Rams were shepherds of the brands they were working with. They had influence over the products and how companies communicated and promoted themselves.
I think every business, really, has a unique reason for being, unique assets, unique attributes, a unique history. And that can be turned into a very attractive design story, essentially, that consumers can relate to.
I am extraordinarily fascinated by the future of technology. We are in the early infancy of technology, and we have an opportunity to guide how technology develops and integrates into our lives. I talk a lot about the ‘invisible interface,’ or the idea that we can utilize technology without being absorbed into a screen.
Fuseproject was founded in 1999, and the notion behind it, which is alive and kicking today, is fusing different disciplines. Our teams are absolutely incredible at their own discipline, but most importantly, they’re incredible at partnering with each other.
Keyless entry in a car is something that we’re used to. Somehow, the home has been very resistant to this. Some of it has to do with security, but today we know that technology, when things are invisible, is actually safer than physical artifacts.
The role of designers and product makers is to really become much better editors. What kind of functionality is actually needed – and truly delightful – to consumers? Remove all the extraneous stuff.
Our principal role as designers is to accelerate new ideas and the adoption of new ideas.
Everything has yet to be invented. I never say ‘green’ – I say ‘greener.’ It’s greener simply because this is a continuum of change, improvement and discovery.
I know it’s a cliche, but I see myself as a citizen of the world. I was brought up in Switzerland by German and Turkish parents but I’ve very much grown up in San Francisco. I have a European sense of aesthetic, but I’m also deeply steeped in the notion of change and entrepreneurship that is associated with Silicon Valley.
I wanted to be a writer as a teen… so storytelling was my first love. In my late teens, design became an obsession as I realized that I could express myself through the medium. Much later, when I founded Fuseproject in 1999, our slogan became ‘design brings stories to life.’
I am always looking for ways to move technology away from being over-featured. Moving to Silicon Valley in the mid-1990s meant I grew up as a designer in an environment where technology is a tool and not a means to an end. I believe that design should be driven by ideas, not style.
I want to work on things that aren’t self-evident, to propose things that are radically different and game-changing.
I imagine a future with no waste; material innovations have already become exponentially more vast, and I do think the future needs to be cradle to cradle. If designed properly, one product could be used for many years before needing to be recycled, or its components reused.
The idea of designing something that is like something else is incredibly uninteresting and boring.
Every tech product on the body like Jawbone or in the home like August is different. But there are definitely principles that apply across the board for me, such as integration in everyday life and discretion.
The next step for me with the Up is how it talks with the rest of the home. It’s an object that can tell the home where I am and what I’m doing.
When clients come to my design agency and say ‘I want to be the Apple of this or that,’ we say ‘Okay, are you ready to be the Steve Jobs?’ Few are up to the task.
Our principal role as designers is to accelerate new ideas and the adoption of new ideas.
Design needs a new relationship with the world, one that is more focused on our planet’s needs.
The notion of ‘reduce and refine’ is one I’ve pursued. I truly believe that by making things less complex, by finding innovative ways to make sustainability affordable, we can advance the notion that it is possible.
For me, it’s not about being the best designer. I’m interested in being the best partner. The best collaborator.
The best design work is really done when you spend more time with people, when you have the opportunity to be of the same mindset and the same incentives as the founder of the business.