Interview with designer Alexander White (AW), regarding views on design, and for the award-winning design The Monroe Chair An Armchair.

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Interview with Alexander White at Saturday 5th of May 2012: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
AW : The aim was to produce a comfortable chair made from a great number of the same component, intention being to simplify the process involved in making an armchair. At the early stages my inspiration where geometrical shape that could potentially perform the task I wanted them to, then when I had a rough shape I was happy with my inspiration shifted to bird wings and Marilyn Monroe's white pleated dress.

DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
AW : My main focus was to design a chair that is beautiful but yet comfortable within the restriction offered by the initial idea. The difficult part was to finalise the shape of the component, achieving an elegant and functional transition between the armrest to front leg and back leg to backrest.

DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
AW : I would like to get it seen by as many people as possible; getting it into as many exhibitions and publications as I can with the aim to eventially sell it/several of them. I also intend to produce a few more which are slightly different from this one, the next one being made out of lipped and Veneered plywood.

DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
AW : The main idea came fairly quickly, perfecting the shape of the component and the overall aesthetic and comfort took a bit longer. I'd say it took me working sporadically for a couple of months from beginning to end.

DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
AW : In pursuit of an inspiration. It was an idea I had and I knew write from the start that it was worth pursuing. It was created as a speculative piece intended to further my portfolio.

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?
AW : This design is neither being used or produced by other companies. I would consider selling or leasing the production rights but for the moment I intend to do the work myself or subcontract out if necessary.

DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
AW : Furniture is an affordable and manageable vehicle for me to express myself at this stage in my life and explore the things I'm interested in. I am at the beginning of my career and I simply need to produce work, if I can work that impresses and sells itself.

DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
AW : No

DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
AW : Well it's ended up being quite a flashy object that isn't cheap so I guess it's targeted to any homeowners and collectors alike.

DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
AW : It's simplicity... I like to think.

DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
AW : The name came from inspiration and resemblance to Marilyn Monroes white pleated dress in Billy Wilder's 'The seven year itch' 1955.

DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
AW : Adobe Illustrator to finalise the shape of the component, adobe photoshop to visualise what it would look like if I was to add colour.

DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
AW : It's rippling surface and the mesmerising shadow affect it creates.

DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
AW : Nobody

DI: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
AW : In this instance I used CNC technology to easily, accurately and quickly produces the same component over and over.

DI: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
AW : No research was acctually conducted to produce this particular piece.

DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
AW : The compromise between elegance and comfort. It is a very comfortable chair but quite a 'loungy' one. Having the backrest more upright meant that the back leg had to be too long and hit the ground at a too shallow angle. The shape of the component was entirely defined by it's relation with all the features of the chair (backrest, armrests, back legs, front legs). Deciding how it was all going to be fixed was also a challenge and spraying such a complicated object isn't easy either.

DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
AW : I had never come across this competition before but it looked good and adequate. I also thought the prize was worth spending my money on.

DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
AW : I learnt many things, especially when making it. It's not the most complicated object I've done so far but it had its challenges. I improved my understanding of its structural nature.