Interview with designer Khadine Khan-Parkinson (KK), regarding views on design, and for the award-winning design Nouveau Tudor Dinnerware.

 
 
 
 
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Interview with Khadine Khan-Parkinson at Friday 22nd of April 2016: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
KK : The inspiration for this project began by looking at decorative exterior architectural elements and how they could be applied to interior functional objects. Various decorative motifs from Europe to the Caribbean were analysed and then I selected specific iconic buildings that embodied each architectural style. For the Nouveau Tudor design I selected the Liberty of London building and developed the pattern based on its facade.

DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
KK : The main technical focus of this design was exploring how modern desktop manufacturing technologies, such as 3D printing could be fused with traditional making techniques, such as slip casting to create a sustainable business model for a small batch manufacturing within a cottage industry.

DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
KK : My hope is that it can go into larger production and that new designs could be developed using the same processes.

DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
KK : The project started in September 2013 and finished in June 2014 so around 10 months.

DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
KK : I decided to pursue this idea as part of my final project for my degree in 3D Design Craft. I was part of a larger project that examined three architectural styles and developed three sets of tableware based on the Tudor architecture of England, Roman architecture found throughout continental Europe and the Colonial architecture of the West Indies. The Nouveau Tudor collection turned out to be the most striking of the three.

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?
KK : I manufactured a small batch of the dinner plates myself which I sell through my company’s website www.castaradesigns.com. However I am open to selling or leasing the production rights.

DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
KK : I wanted to design homeware and believed the table top was a good place to start because of the scale of the objects and the range of possible products that could be further developed to coordinate with the design such as serveware and linens.

DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
KK : Alessandro Zambelli’s Palace collection for Seletti was interesting in terms of the depiction of architecture on tableware and the concept of stacking to create a cohesive collection.

DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
KK : This design is for someone who is looking to create a bold statement with their tableware and wants to make an investment in timeless pieces that create a talking point.

DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
KK : The overall impact the set makes when grouped together is quite striking. Each piece is different from the other and their effects are amplified when layered and grouped. Although based on Tudor architecture it is quite protean and lends itself well to both period and modern interiors.

DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
KK : Nouveau Tudor was selected because the design was new, graphic interpretation of the patterns formed by wooden beams found on the facades of Tudor styled buildings.

DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
KK : Throughout the project I used Adobe Illustrator to design the patterns on the plates, RHINO to create the 3D models of the handles and Makerware to print the models used for slip casting.

DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
KK : The porcelain handled cutlery is probably the most unique aspect of the design. The relief of the Tudor patterns were designed to mimic the raised timber beams of the buildings themselves. And the choice of material for the cutlery is somewhat unexpected.

DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
KK : I had the great fortune of being able to seek advice and guidance from my lecturers at Havering College, Dr Jane Norris, Jesus Felipe and Ian Mcintyre.

DI: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
KK : Technology played a major role in this project. The basis of it was using new technology, like 3D printing and laser cutting to develop methods of production that would meld seamlessly with traditional techniques to create efficiencies in small batch manufacturing.

DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
KK : The major challenge was working out the shrinkage of the porcelain for the cutlery handles. Their design had to factor in the aesthetics of each piece, the ergonomics of the handle including its balance with the stainless steel stub. Together with the thickness of the slip to allow a hollow centre to accommodate the stub and the overall strength of the piece. The porcelain changed size after each firing and there were a total of three. During the bisque firing we had to figure out how to place the piece on the kiln shelf so they did not wrap or slump. For the glaze firing I had special stands made to suspend the handles.

DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
KK : I thought the design had some merit and wanted to have some meaningful feedback on it. At first I was unsure but decided that nothing ventured, nothing gained. After reading through everything and discovering the option to do a digital submission I decided that the potential reward was too great to pass by.

DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
KK : I learnt so much in both the technology side of things as well as about slip casting and ceramics. From learning how to prepare a digital RHINO model for 3D printing, to operating and troubleshooting a 3D printer, to plaster casting and slip casting ceramics. I had the opportunity to research the stainless steel manufacturers of Sheffield and learn about their history as well as visit the potteries of Stoke on Trent to learn how fine china patterns are screen printed and hand decorated. I improved my technical understanding of both the digital and the traditional aspects of making that went into this project.