In Profile: Michelle Evans of AyKa Design


Name: K.Michelle EvansAyka-Portrait-for-web
Company: AyKa Design
Position within company: Creative Director and Owner.

Tell us a little about your background in design 
I studied interior design in the UK and obtained a BA honors degree in 3D design which I absolutely loved. At the time 3D design was quite quirky and I think it helped to set me apart. After graduating, I was very fortunate and landed a brilliant job where my degree was put to good use in the field of Interior Design. I have been very fortunate over the years and have worked for some of the great interior design companies including Remedios Siembieda in Los Angeles and Hirsch Bedner Associate in Dubai. Each day I think how lucky I am to be working in an industry that is dynamic and ever changing. I love the challenges that every new project brings and I care deeply for the work that I do.

How would you describe your personal interior design style?
My design aesthetics is definitely Contemporary, I love researching about a place, its history, its culture to get a better understanding when I’m designing. I prefer to mix the past with the present so I can design more openly and creatively rather than following specific design trends. I’m always looking for the essence of design,this process excites me to really put my passion into whatever I’m designing.

Where does your design inspiration come from?
It comes from my own experiences inspired by the many different cultures I have experienced whilst travelling. So, sometimes it is a feeling or emotion of something I’ve seen or felt. Then it’s taking that memory or emotion from a place or object into my design inspiration.

In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
Design is definitely moving in the direction of innovation and new ideas. We are exploring new materials and new processes in manufacturing. As designers, we are becoming more responsible to understand the long-term effects to the environment and the role of design and its sustainability for the future. I feel that design is also becoming more personal again with design demanding more bespoke solutions than mass production.

Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2015 and beyond
Creativity, Art, Textures, Adventurous and Flexibility. Design is always evolving around us but as individuals it’s important to think out of the box and not just follow the herd. My motto is to design with open boundaries while embracing change.

If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to product design, what would it be?
My own personal advice is to design with creativity from your instinct and never over think the design. Simplicity and Sophistication are hard to balance but never impossible, it just takes a bit longer.

How important are The International Product Design Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?
They are extremely important and being recognized by your peers and designers internationally is a tremendously rewarding feeling. The awards allow designers to showcase their work and it opens new opportunities to connect with other designers and to learn about their projects too.

What projects are you currently working on?
I’m working on my new rug collection for 2015. I’m interested in exploring more three dimensional design in my next collection. I’m planning to collaborate with a few artists’ friends in the UK for one collection and a textile designer in Peru for another one.

What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
To introduce Ayka Design more openly into the design scenes so people begin to know more about our design philosophy and us. Our thinking is that we are not just designing rugs but pieces of art to be loved and cherished.

Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself
I’m definitely a free spirit in the way I feel and think. I love exploring new places, meeting new people and I love facing new challenges. I’m not afraid of moving forward and I encourage and embrace change rather than routine. I love working with new people and artisans and not knowing their language is never a barrier to me. It’s so rewarding to feel connected by people, design is really universal and can be felt without a language and this is what really inspires me.

You’re most treasured possession?
I don’t really have one truly treasured possession perhaps that because I’m a bit nomadic. I do however collect books and magazines from everywhere I travel

Your favorite holiday destination?
I love South America it inspires me with its beauty and culture. It feels exciting and new every time I visit.

Your favourite hotel / restaurant / bar?
I’m a big fan of the Arman Resorts as each hotel is uniquely designed taking in its locality and they are always beautifully detailed in local materials.
My favorite Restaurant is always being with my oldest friends eating and enjoying great company so, it’s sometimes the atmosphere not the place I love the most.
I’m not so much into Bars but I really like outdoor bars with a sunset if I had the choice…. ahh that’s a thought now… Champagne and Paradise.

Your favourite book / film / song? 
Room with a view set in Florence by E.M Foster
Out of Africa ……I love that era of beautiful clothes and gentleman and hats.
U2….With or without you.

Your favourite food and drink?
Thai food without a doubt and good wine with old or new friends.

Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?
I love exploring and being surrounded by nature and its beauty. A new place with fresh air and amazing landscapes in the distance would be prefect.

If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
Even at an early age I have always wanted to make things so if I didn’t design I would use my hands to create something. I’m visually drawn to textures so maybe a sculptor or ceramic artist.