Interview with designer Arturo Fis (AF), regarding views on design, and for the award-winning design Sierra Kindle Heater Outdoor Patio Heater.

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Interview with Arturo Fis at Thursday 16th of January 2014: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
AF : To reinvent an industry that has been widely overlooked since the 1960s, with little inovation in design strategies despite the enormous, and growing, global demand.

DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
AF : Sierra represent the panicle of design fashion. It takes everything we know, and makes it even more beautiful. It marries functionality into a finely tailored suit made in the tradition of old world craftsmanship. It is at once classical and contemproary. Sierra transforms the ubiquitous and mundane outdoor patio heater into a coveted item of desire, beauty, and romance.

DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
AF : We have created a limited edition of 101 pieces that we hope will make their way into the finest architectural spaces around the world.

DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
AF : Beginning in 2007, I spent 18 months in ideation and research, another 30 in fabrication and testing, and introduced the our first Kindle Living Heater, now called Allison, in late 2010. Sierra is my newest, most beautiful creation, just recently introduced.

DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
AF : Design is inspiration, and Sierra has been the muse to this concept I now call Kindle Living.

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?
AF : We are currently in production with a limited edition, each hand made by master carpenters, of 101 pieces.

DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
AF : Opportunity. I have been a designer for 32 years. During my tenure, this is my first opportunity of reinventing a product, and forever changing what people come to think and expect of an outdoor patio heater.

DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
AF : Design is the destilelation of experiences. As such I try to surround myself with what I find beautiful and inspiring, both in the material, natural, and spiritual sense of the word. I am moved most by what is now termed "Modern Classics" architecture and design from the likes of Eames, Bertoia, Saarinen, Mies, Hans Wegner, Prouve, Poul Kjaer, etc. I also have a deep appreciation for material integrity and craftsmanship without which good design is not possible.

DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
AF : Anyone who appreciates beauty and innovation, in lieu of the mundane and disposable. Though many subscribe to this ideal, few in real life practice it. Instead we are always tempted by fad and consumerism.

DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
AF : EVERYTHING! Our biggest achievement is the element of discovery. Our biggest obstacle is that it is not apparent that this is a patio heater. I love the sense of surprise, the AHA! moment people have when they first come into contact with our products. We've taken the patio heater and reinvented it.

DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
AF : Sierra is inspired by a coastal stretch of road, along highway 101 in California, in a magical forested area called Big Sur. I drew my inspiration and name from spending time there.

DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
AF : Aside from traditional design tools and modeling techniques, a clean piece of paper was both the greatest gift and tallest challenge. I took everything that was known and set it aside to see how it would be different if it was created today by me. It took a real leap of faith to do this, and I will always be thankful to those that encouraged me to take this step I now call Kindle Living.

DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
AF : Inovation in the approach of what these objects can and should look like. We have taken everything that once was and made it beautiful while improving every aspect of its performance. We have taken a mundane object and made it into one of beauty, elegance, and romance. It is an object that is now memorable and loved. It is a Cinderella transformation.

DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
AF : I had the good fortune to involve some dedicated, talented, and passionate engineers, tool fabricators, manufacturers, and even the son of the original inventor of the "mushroom" type patio heater.

DI: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
AF : Without the invention of new materials or reimagination of manufacturing methods, nothing would have been possible. In our exploration we managed to secure multiple patents.

DI: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
AF : There are multiple constraints to meeting certification for "gas powered appliances". Further, there are functional restrictions in how to maximize operation of "mushroom" type patio heaters. Understanding these was critical in the development of a design that was at once beautiful and functional, leading then to the development of materials and manufacturing processes that would allow for a happy marriage between all.

DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
AF : Material and manufacturing processes had to be created to make this reinterpretation of the outdoor patio heater possible. To the uninitiated, it looks simple. Trust me when I say that after nearly 7 years breathing these problems, they are not.

DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
AF : Designers are my pears, and I am always glad and thankful to share the wonders that we dream up in those moment of inspiration and desperation. Only people who spend their lives making things better, more meaningful, beautiful, and even inspirational truly understand the hardship and joy that is part of the design process.

DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
AF : I learned not to take things at face value, to challenge myself, to not be afraid to make mistakes or delve into an area of expertise that had been dormant to me. I also learned about friendship and love from those that encouraged my every step when I wavered. For all this and more, I am truly grateful.

DI: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
AF : Thing this covers the basics. Thank you.