Interview with designer Raluca Visinescu (RV), regarding views on design, and for the award-winning design Yarra Chair.

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Interview with Raluca Visinescu at Wednesday 18th of May 2011: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
RV : The idea is to make a stable, stiff, functional and as beautiful as possible form of a chair out of a single piece of plan material, by making cuts and bending it.

DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
RV : Achieving a form as "fluid" as possible, with no sharp angles.

DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
RV : Producing it... or letting someone produce it, better said; somehow looking forward to this process as a challenge in itself, in the same way as constructing architecture projects: they might suffer changes during the site works, but as long as ideas survive I embrace changes.

DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
RV : From the moment of decision of trying to make a chair design out of one piece of folding material until the completion of "Yarra"'s shape, the process took around 3 months and tens of scale models built. However, the type of research continued further, resulting in several other designs, significantly different from "Yarra", yet within the same principle.

DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
RV : I am an architect and my commissions so far have been buildings, interior design (actually only few) or landscape design. This design came as an aim to challenge myself into designing a bit different: different scale, type of restrictions, etc.

DI: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?
RV : I plan to sell or lease the production rights.

DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
RV : The pleasure of investigating in producing form and volume.

DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
RV : Too many to count.... Definitely I find very inspiring the works and designs of Modernist Architects such as Charles and Ray Eames, Arne Jacobsen, Antonio Bonnet-Castellana and many others.

DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
RV : Hopefully it won't be too expensive to produce it. Usually my favorite clients (thinking of architectural commissions I have for private house/investments) are from the young or not so young urban professionals, which in the Romanian social spectrum doesn't mean rich people...

DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
RV : Most of the similar designs use metal legs to hold the seating. This was one challenge I put myself into when designing it: building it completely from the same continuous material.

DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
RV : "Yarra" is the name of a river; I used river-names for the the entire series of this design concept (folded material) because of the flow-like resulted and desired shapes.

DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
RV : The most classical method possible: making models.

DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
RV : I don't know... I really regard it as simple, as a play...

DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
RV : Only by myself and only with architect's advice around (especially Corina Croitoru's for this design).

DI: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
RV : Its production would require some technology.

DI: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
RV : Nothing special: establishing my challenge, reading and researching in the object design history (more than the usual architectural training offers), my own experiments with materials.

DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
RV : I suppose they didn't come yet, I haven't produced the design so far.

DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
RV : Because of thinking to "build" it, I thought of this would as an opportunity to promote it.

DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
RV : This is a very different kind of work than the architecture projects I usually do in the very direct working with material: both in achieving form directly from manipulating the material and in the focus on 1:1 scale where sizes less than 1 millimeter could dramatically change form.

DI: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
RV : No. Thank you for the good questions.