Interview with designer Sonia Ponka (SP), regarding views on design, and for the award-winning design Quadro Qusabi Shelving System.

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Interview with Sonia Ponka at Tuesday 24th of April 2012: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
SP : I am amazed by scaffolding versatility, so I wanted to make furniture as flexible!

DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
SP : I wanted QQ system to be very easy to erect and reassemble.

DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
SP : I would like to find better production methods to make it cheaper, and as a result more available for consumers.

DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
SP : About 2-3 months, however there were changes in dimensions when I began to produce it. Actually I found out that the system is even more flexible that I had expected after I made the first prototype.

DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
SP : I think that people get bored with the same piece of furniture or, for example, it does not physically fit in the new accommodation. So I really wanted to make a shelving system which can look different every reassembly.

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?
SP : I would like to sell it to some big company like IKEA or MUJI, but I would like to participate in future design updates, because my design is customizable, and a lot of sub-products can be produced for QQ system - just like covers for I-phone (there is the main product, and there is a huge market of sub-production to personalize I-phones. Same thing can be done with QQ system)

DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
SP : My strange love to scaffolding, I guess :)

DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
SP : No, but I had a lot of support from my Professor and lab.

DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
SP : Mostly young people, who often move from place to place, or like to rearrange their living space.

DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
SP : There are no other shelving system with similar assembling principle that I know of. And I have been studying a lot of shelving systems for my PhD paper at Kyoto Institute of Technology.

DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
SP : Quadro means 4 or square - it is a basic element and motive. Qusabi means wedge in japanese, and also it is the title for scaffolding system I have been mostly inspired by. And well... It sounds good for my taste, especially shortened - QQ (kinda cute)

DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
SP : Mostly paper prototypes, because I needed to understand assembly methods more then anything else.

DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
SP : Posts and wedges - the system itself.

DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
SP : Manufacturers who made real size prototypes for me.

DI: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
SP : It is easy to produce, however I think there are more advanced technologies to make it better quality and cheaper.

DI: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
SP : Yes, I am a PhD research at Kyoto Institute of Technology.

DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
SP : The dimensions are very important. There were few mistakes done by manufacturers. A millimeter mistake makes any part useless. So they had to remake those parts exactly as I have been asked them to...

DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
SP : I don`t remember now. I think I just tried to upload my designs and forgot. But then there was a good preliminary results, so I decided to nominate my design.

DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
SP : I think the competition between designers is huge now, especially when economics is not so good. So I have to work very hard to understand what`s missing on the market and then make this new product look beautiful and effortless.