A few weeks ago I was in San Francisco for the Discover Zephyr event, and had the opportunity to meet and listen to two terrific product designers. Despite the amazing dinner, and the fun wine country tour the next day, the chance to hear really good designers talk about the process of design was by far the highlight of the trip for me.
The first person we heard speak was Robert Brunner, who was the founder of Apples Industrial Design group, and has since gone one to achieve many awards and accolades for his product designs. He is now lead designer and partner in Ammunition, LLC, as well as author of the wonderful, “Do You Matter?: How Great Design Will Make People Love Your Company.” He has designed an entire line of unique range hoods for Zephyr, which you can see here.
Design really is a passion for him, and he is very direct about his belief that you need to create a good customer experience, not just a pretty, shiny product. The emotional bond the customer experiences with their purchase is absolutely key, a lesson he no doubt learned at Apple.
Although he was speaking to us about product design, everything he said could be translated to interior design too, and how we as designers need to create that emotional experience with our clients.
I was furiously scribbling down as much as I could of what he said, until I realized that each and every one of us was getting a signed copy of his book! If you get a chance to read a copy – do! It will change the way you look at the design process, and may inspire you as it has me.
Our next speaker was Fu-Tung Cheng. I didn’t recognize him at first, but as soon as he started showing slides of his projects, I recognized his work!
If you’ve ever admired a really beautifully shaped concrete countertop in a shelter magazine, then you may very well have been looking at his craftsmanship. You can see examples of his work in his book, “Concrete at Home”, and his beautiful range hood line for Zephyr here.
A self taught craftsman, Cheng was as relaxed and self-deprecating as Brunner was intense and passionate. Such a contrast of personality, but such a common ground of great design work. Cheng took us through is evolution from martial arts student and teacher, to his current work in architecture, interior design, and product design. Such a winding path, just like so many of us. He emphasized the idea of learning through trial and error, and how sometimes those errors become the greatest designs.
I’m hoping to nab him for a more extensive interview in the next week or so, so keep you eyes open for that. It’s sure to be a fun one!
So, sometimes my job is not about the doing, but rather about the listening and learning. And I like it that way.
Thanks for visiting!