An Interview with Sebastian Conran

Judges Interviews

Product Designer

Judging all the entries for the inaugural Creative Conscience Awards is proving to be a long process. It is also a deeply inspiring one. Not just because of the awesome quality of the entries we’ve received but because we also get to spend quality time with some of the creatives we most admire.

Aside from the judging, we’ve been chatting about what inspires them and why they’ve chosen to become part of this ambitious initiative. Here’s what product designer, Sebastian Conran, had to say…

What is the single most interesting brief you’ve worked on during your career?

‘Here’s a concorde nose, turn it into a sculpture.’ It’s just been launched – take a look at it here – all good briefs come out of a conversation.

Who has been your biggest influence?

Well, apart from my parents, I would say Michael Wolff – he was my first boss and became a great friend – and Eduardo Paolozzi. Michael taught me how to think differently about things; Eduardo looks at things differently too. Fantastic things come from curiosity.

What is the greatest piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

‘Life’s too short to stuff a mushroom’ – which, of course, is attributed to my mother but it originally came from me. Another one would be ‘just keep it simple’. I’m constantly telling myself that. Over designing things is a terrible thing; it’s worse that no design.

What advice would you give a creative student today?

Learn to draw! It’s as important as thinking.

In this culture of fear and cautiousness, what is the future of design?

Good design is generic; it needs to be outstanding to win. We need to avoid generic, stock solutions; we need to think differently. We’re at the edge of a new enlightenment and we need to be able to use digital as intuitively as a violinist uses a bow. It costs no more to write a poem beautifully than it costs to design something beautifully. Design should be poetry, concerned with the enhancement of life.

What is it about this initiative that has inspired you to get involved?

Because what you’ve created embraces everything I am passionate about.

How does your creative conscience express itself in your work?

I am for universal function and appeal. I expect quality and designs that last.

Interview by: Kate Burton