Vancouver based Alvin Kwan and Vince Lo from Studio Faculty tell us that you can still stand firm, be kind and authentic during those frustrating times with clients, in fact, its crucial. Also 5 important steps they learnt along the way to get to where they are today.
What are your three must-read design books/blogs/podcasts and why?
1.Designing Design by Kenya Hara
This book was part of the foundation of our studio that shapes our perspective of design. It’s a book that gives us insights of the root of simplicity, what design should be, and a glimpse of what future design could look like.
2.Nest by Truck Furniture
Majority of Japanese books are not translated to English, so I feel incredibly fortunate that we have Nest in Japanese and English. The book follows the 9-year journey of Tokuhiko Kise and Hiromi Karatsu in building Truck Furniture and their cafe, Bird. Through their journey, I learned about patience, dedication, courage and appreciation.
We’ve just found the Vitra blog to be a great resource, full of great articles, interviews and insights into other areas of culture and design—particularly furniture design and architecture.
What have been some of your biggest disasters and how have you learnt from it?
We’ve been quite fortunate with the people we work with. Throughout the last few years of running the studio, we’ve found that most people have good intentions, yet its the miscommunication and differences that create conflict or difficulties in a project. One of our worst experiences came when a client could no longer provide his time on the project and passed on all decision making to a friend. It was tough because it changed the whole project’s expectations. What we learned is that you can still stand firm and be kind and authentic during those frustrating times, in fact, its crucial to do so. The project didn’t turn out as we had hoped obviously, but we felt at peace and could conclude the project begin true to ourselves and kind to others.
What is the design landscape like on your city and where do you fit in?
Both of us grew up in Vancouver and finished our design degree here. So, we always want to take part in this growing community and this is one of the reasons we wanted to start Studio Faculty in Vancouver. Despite the fact that Vancouver is still a young and relatively small city, we are noticing many emerging talents. If a designer puts out great work, the city will always have a place for him or her.
What career advice would you give your 16yr old self?
I would tell my 16yr old self to research and dive deeper into my interests earlier, watch less TV or procrastinate less. I think our experiences and understanding of culture and different cultures is really important as designers, so I would definitely try to learn more in that regard—earlier the better.
What has been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt along the way?
1.Always ask questions if there’s uncertainty.
2.Trust and never ignore your gut feeling.
3.Whenever you’re met with criticism, take a step back, take a day or two to think about it before you respond.
4.Many people may think it’s hard to be honest doing business but that’s not true at all. Being honest and transparent actually makes your job much easier.
5.Stay curious and on the lookout for new inspiration, sometimes in the most unexpected of places.
Where do you think design is heading in the next five years and how will you adapt?
I think design is in a pretty interesting place currently. We’ve come to see design for screens become more and more adaptive and non-permanent. Yet at the same time, its brought greater value and reverence for design that is permanent, like book design and other forms of print or furniture—things that have a longer lifespan. Our goal is to celebrate both in order to best convey or display a message/concept.
Salt Lake City
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