Name: Hakan Gürsu
Position within company: CEO
. What direction do you feel design is moving towards in general terms?
Through the last decades, the profession of design and the role of the designer has changed a lot. At first, design was aimed at reducing the costs and preparing products for industrial production. Then, companies realised that their products should reflect an image, a brand language, and asked designers to help with that. With modernism, ‘star designer’ concept was born as an idealised figure that is best at both arts and engineering. Finally, in our era, design is the key component to have a good product and designers are part of the process as collaborators, mostly in the form of teams. Today, design has moved towards a human-oriented approach with a focus of users’ needs and desires. Humanising technology in a pleasurable way, designers strive to enhance the lives of human beings. Design is also a strategic part of creating successful brands where disruptive innovations redefine the existing ways of making business. With the fast paced global change, products and services should make a statement in the consumer’s life through a new perspective, a message or a story.
. Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2014 and beyond.
New technologies and material are important and I think designers need to keep up with these in order to push the boundaries. With the non-traditional manufacturing methods like 3d printing, designs that were not possible or feasible to produce before are becoming available. Likewise, maker movement and the ease of starting up a business is a game changing factor, as design is now more democratised, resources have become more accessible and it is possible to realise a project through crowd-funding sites. People are becoming inventors, entrepreneurs and designers and I believe the products and services as tools that empower people to create things will be more in demand.
Sustainability has been another key factor and will become even more crucial in the future as well. The energy consumption of the products, our footprint on the planet on a large scale, and the lifecycles of the product systems have enormous importance to reduce our impact on environment. We also should be aware of the changing consumer lifestyles and needs; the products that are part of our lives today didn’t exist few years ago. Mobile living, convergence of work and personal life etc. has changed our living and culture radically, this will rise and lead to new products and services in the future. Finally, system design will be an important element as products today are not stand alone objects, but support and communicate with each other. Our connected world will require more integrated products and services that offer a holistic experience, which are designed as systems.
. And key trends that we should be aware of?
Wearable technologies and health monitoring, lifestyle products are a rising trend. Also, the need to offer a unique, personalized experience for each user will be beneficial as more and more products enable customization through mass production.
. What projects are you currently working on?
Recently, we are working on clean energy using transportation designs, electronic and medical devices, and products that will satisfy the basic needs (sheltering, access to water, electricity etc) for people in developing countries. We just completed an inexpensive solar lighting unit called “Infinite Light”, which is housed in soda bottles and designed for the use of people who doesn’t have an access to electricity. I am intrigued by the idea of “design for others” or “socially responsible design”, as the designed products are only accessible for the %10 of the world population.
. If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be?
When it comes to designing, the ultimate knowledge source is the nature. It is a handbook of clever, sustainable ideas as solutions to our most challenging problems. It matches form to function, has a complete lifecycle, optimises instead of maximization. Thus, look to the nature for our future.
. A designer’s work is so diverse – how do you manage to hold down a career and a life?
I love creating; ideas, forms, models, mechanisms, anything! I used my hands to create things for as long as I can remember. It is a way of living for me, rather than merely a profession. As most successful persons usually point out, you must love what you do to be good at it. And in order to love your job, it shouldn’t occur as ‘work’ to be done. Design is a lifestyle, requires concentration on the problems, constant observation of people, their behaviours, surroundings etc. Life inspires design, and these are all intertwined. But to excel at design, you should insist on finding solutions, which usually requires hardwork.