Ever wondered what the driving forces are behind a designer’s work? How do a designer’s interests and past experiences influence their products? What about how designers go about the tricky business of designing their own homes? These were just some of the questions touched upon in an inspiring dialogue between artist-designer, Michael Anastassiades, and brand consultant, Sarah Miller, at Chelsea Harbour design week. We wanted to share our highlights with you.
Cypriot born Michael Anastassiades, whose relaxed, unassuming manner charmed us from the get go, has put his hand to designing everything from lighting to pepper mills, water fountains to jewellery. Sarah Miller did a fantastic job at delving into the “hows” and “whys” of his personal design process.
What really stood out for us was Michael’s fascination with and interrogation of the haptic qualities of objects. Starting early in the design process, Michael places importance on mocking up tangible prototypes; ideally 1:1 scale. He analyses the sensation and experience we have when touching objects even if this interaction only lasts a second – e.g. turning a light switch on. We were captivated by Michael’s beautiful description of how he designed a light switch to emulate the sensation and act of snubbing out a candle. Michael rejects the current fashion for remote lighting control panels and prefers to interact directly with an object at its source. He also talked about the importance of physically passing objects down through the generations and embracing the positive legacy that well designed and manufactured products can have.
For Michael, design is about a unique personal communication between materials, architectural space, creatives and clients. In today’s world saturated with stuff, the overriding message from Michael and Sarah’s conversation was ‘only design if you have something to say’ – and make it personal!