Interview with designer Etienne Carignan (EC), regarding views on design, and for the award-winning design Cappuccino Set Porcelain Cup and Saucer.

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Interview with Etienne Carignan at Sunday 15th of May 2011: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
EC : The project meant to give a distinguished twist to coffee breaks with the design of a unique and eye-catching yet functional cappuccino set.

DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
EC : The idea behind this project was to create a desirable, high quality product that would reflect local craftsmanship excellence with design sensitivity.

DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
EC : I intend to create an extended product line with an espresso set and a milk /sugar set.

DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
EC : It took approximately 8 months from the first concept idea, to the design process, the prototypes and all the way to fabrication. The entire process was done in Montreal, Canada.

DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
EC : This concept was a personal project that has been circling around in my mind for quite some time.

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?
EC : I’m currently selling this product on my own online and trough specific design stores, but I’m always open to more distribution.

DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
EC : Kitchen products have always been a strong interest for me, so I wanted to translate my own vision into a distinguished hand held product.

DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
EC : The strong Italian ceramic culture was a big inspiration.

DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
EC : I wanted to catch the attention of design enthusiasts of all ages, but on a selling stand point, the target market is for a professional clientele of 25-55 years old.

DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
EC : The minimalist straight cup handle is a great alternative to regular cup handles and forces users to drink slower. The saucer dimensions and design allow the space to add a snack treat to the coffee; an appreciated touch to complete the experience. The saucer shaped like a water drop allows an ergonomic, easy and practical way to carry around the set.

DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
EC : No particular name was chosen for this product, I still call it the Cappuccino set by Etic Design.

DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
EC : Sketching, 3D modeling, CNC prototypes and ceramic prototypes were all part of this design process.

DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
EC : I would have to say the straight cup handle, that might be harder to hold at first but gives all the distinctive properties to this product.

DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
EC : I worked closely with ceramist Marko Savard and mold maker Jindrich Dudziak. They helped develop and fabricate the product how I envisioned it and brought not only technical help, but also precious opinions to improve the project.

DI: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
EC : 3D modelling and CNC were technological means to make what this product is today. Although the fabrication is more artistic and handmade, the shape was rigorously achieved with the help of technology to really capture my vision.

DI: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
EC : No extensive researches were conducted for this product. It was more users’ interaction research as well as an ergonomic study for the handle.

DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
EC : Fabrication was the more difficult challenge to face. We had to adjust the molding technique, the porcelain composition and the pieces’ drying time to find the perfect combination for good strength and minimal heat deformations.

DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
EC : With most of my work being done for independent clients or design consultancies, after the creation of a first personal product, it was the best opportunity to present myself and see the product’s interest.

DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
EC : A close business relation with a skilled ceramist really made the difference. I will now always start new projects with the collaboration of manufacturing professionals.

DI: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
EC : I would add that this cappuccino set is not intended for mass production, but more for a small local handmade quality fabrication.