Interview with designer Stephan Seifert (SS), regarding views on design, and for the award-winning design Echape Stool.

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Interview with Stephan Seifert at Sunday 20th of April 2014: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
SS : During the intitial investigation we saw in one of the gestures the leg of dancer. We decided to work with this as it gave a large volume of gestural aesthetic lines for what usually is quite a static object.

DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
SS : The main focus was to find a visual language that would allow the Thelos design language to shine through. Thelos prides itself in sculptural pieces that show of the furniture making craft, whilst remaining highly functional and beautiful pieces.

DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
SS : The future plans would be to develop some companion pieces, such as high table for the high stool, that will enhance the sculptural qualities of the stools.

DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
SS : Between the design concept and final manufacturing files, there would hve been 3-4 month time frame.

DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
SS : Thelos gave us a very open brief. We were asked to design a stool using the Thelos design language. During the initial exploration we decided to develop the idea of dance that we had discovered during sketching. This gave us a strong sculptural, aestetic and rich cultural language to draw upon during the development of the concept. It also allowed us to introduce sinous scultural lines into what is generally cold and impersonal designs.

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?
SS : The design is currently produced by the company Thelos based in Barcelona

DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
SS : Thelos's design philosophy allowed me to explore personality, sculptural and expressive lines, that allows a design object to get some personality. In designing echape we were not focused on follwoing any trends. We wanted to infuse some personality into the design.

DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
SS : Of course. My design influences come from many varied fields, from the architecture of Gaudi of my adopted home here in Barcelona, but also from the Nordic Design traditions as well as meaning imbued design of Maori carving.

DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
SS : Designed for bar and lounge areas of hotels, resorts and private residences, the Echape family of stools invites interaction, conversation. It's design conveys the freedom, energy and spark that should be present in these spaces.

DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
SS : I think this design has a well defined personality. I think in recent years design has become very politically correct, ending up with designs that in some ways lack personality. We have stoped making manifiestos and statements with our designs.

DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
SS : Echape is both a position in ballet, and also means escape in French. Since stools are usually in bars and lounges, places where we "escape" the stresses of daily life it seemed like a good conotation.

DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
SS : The usual design process of investigation, sketching, 3D modelling and physical modelling were used to design and refine the stools.

DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
SS : I think the most unique aspect of design is the story of the design in junction with traditional craft, sculptural shape and high technology.

DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
SS : I collaborated closely with the Thelos technical team to ensure the technical feasability of the design.

DI: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
SS : Both 3D design software and CNC 5 axis milling is being used to help manufcture the design. As usual with furniture it will still be finished with traditional craft skills, in this case with the added vlue of it being completely ecological glues and sustainable wood used in the production.

DI: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
SS : The design was more influenced by the need to create a unique vision of a new design than by data driven research.

DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
SS : I enjoyed learning more about working with wood, especially solid ecologically grown woods as are being used by Thelos.

DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
SS : Thelos decided to submit my design to the competition, for which I am very grateful! :)

DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
SS : It was great to be allowed to fully explore a creative vision in such a scultural way. Also I enjoyed resolving the technical and constructive issues that resulted from pushing wood to it's limits.

DI: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
SS : I'd also like to thank my partner JĂșlia, whose continuing passion for ballet had a strong influence on both the research and who chose the final name.