Interview with designer Johanna Jonsson Abchee (JJ), regarding views on design, and for the award-winning design The Rebel Mirror.

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Interview with Johanna Jonsson Abchee at Friday 22nd of April 2016: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
JJ : The Rebel is about finding yourself and the strength within you. It's knowing which battles to fight and when it's time to go home. It's about trusting that you already know the answers and trust yourself enough to acknowledge it.

DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
JJ : I wanted to combine my two roots and making it attractive for both cultures. In design, you seldom see combinations of minimalist with bohemian or other combinations, and for me I think the intermix attracts me the most in my own home or choice of living. This probably comes from being half European half Middle Eastern.

DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
JJ : To live through and create more characters for the upcoming collections. I would also very much like to work closely with interior designer and architects. To live a project intensely through the eyes of an architect or interior designer (and develop a new character that fits them) is fascinating for a certain period of time. And very liberating to move onto your next destination. I’d like to do more of that.

DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
JJ : The new version of the Rebel was an adaptation but the carvings from the back took some time to realise. It took two months from concept to last trial.

DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
JJ : The Rebel was the master-piece presented at the Solo Exhibition at La Serre in Dubai.

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?
JJ : I intend to produce the work myself.

DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
JJ : I was filling a wall that was facing the sea in a beach resort restaurant. I wanted to reflect the sea but have a subtle design that would give different color reflections of the water, hence the pink. The restaurant is lebanese so I decided to use arabesque patterns within.

DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
JJ : At Dubai Art Fair I saw a mirror with a printed picture within by a Japanese designer. I started researching how to use this technique in my work.

DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
JJ : There are three targets customers for the Rebel. Head buyers of department stores and concept stores looking for aesthetic and fresh designs to collaborate with. Interior designers and architects for an aesthetic mirror piece, and consumers looking for a fresh design to decorate their homes.

DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
JJ : Apart from being functional and aesthetic, I think the main difference is that it conveys a character aesthetics with a story that most of us can relate to. The beauty in being a mirror designer is that there are not many that focus on only mirrors. there is so much still to create.

DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
JJ : The Rebel is someone not afraid to express what he believes in. To stick out in copper pink with a pattern is breaking away on so many levels. Just except me as I am.

DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
JJ : Metal spinning, mirror carving, laquer paint, brown paint.

DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
JJ : Apart from the interaction with The self through The Mirror and character, The design combines two cultures That appear in The design with a minimalist, raw base with an arabesque flair. Using pink as a Mirror sounds flashy but has quite opposite a subtle effect with The copper frame.

DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
JJ : I work closely with a mirror supplier that often thinks out of the box. Also the steel craftsman helped me with conceptualising the reuse of materials.

DI: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
JJ : There are two rather new and interesting technologies used here. The tinted mirror has existed for quite a while, but not used much in design. The designed carved from the back of the mirror revolutionises the surface of the mirror in the sense that you can personalise your design and having a no feel on the finished surface.

DI: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
JJ : The challenge of a mirror design is often the weight. Many designers look for ways to reuse materials in order to cut down costs, weight and creating new designs. By cutting out the steel circle in the back, the weight minimised drastically and I was left with many more pieces to use for next designs.

DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
JJ : Again my biggest challenge is usually the weight. And as I prefer to use various steels for an elegant result, weight is always the biggest challenge.

DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
JJ : I have followed Design Milk closely and I was happy to submit my work to a professional panel. Many times when you work alone, it's sometimes hard to bounce back your ideas with the right people and I'm very excited to hear the aspects of their critical and fruitful feedback.

DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
JJ : The two techniques of using tinted mirrors and designing within the mirror opened the door for other designs within other collections. I've personalised some messages and engraved them in the mirror for some and used various colour tints to improve the design on other pieces.