Not long ago I posted an interesting piece by Brazilian industrial designer Rafael Morgan (Light Drop). I though this was more than just a simple work of art/furniture… this was a really great design. Not only does it look great and function as you would expect but it makes a statement and really grabs your attention.
This compelled me to get in touch with Rafael and request a simple interview, just to see what he was about and where he got some of his inspiration from. As you might have guessed, he agreed. So go ahead and read what he has to say and take a look at some of his other work, it’s really quite good.
A quick background on Rafael
Rafael was raised in Belo Horizonte (Beautiful Horizon), a place that provides him with much of his inspiration. Even as a child Rafael was spending considerable time drawing and illustrating (sometimes several hours each day) for fun, as well as for school projects.
Industrial design appealed to him because, in his own words, “When I first heard about Industrial Design, I was just so excited because I could use my artistic skills to improve people’s life quality.”
Since starting his career as an Industrial Designer, Rafael has been trying to create an identity for himself and set himself apart from the rest. His unique style and immense talent have helped him get noticed and headed towards success. He’s an optimistic guy and I’m sure he will become a household name in the world of Industrial Design.
ModernFlat: How did you decide to get into Industrial Design?
Rafael: I always loved drawing and since I was a little kid I really liked making my own toys and crazy inventions. As an Industrial Designer, I am free to mix art and my crazy experiments and ideas. You know, we live in a world ruled buy money, people love to buy stuff. All I want is to give them good products to buy and maybe make them think about things that really matters.
ModernFlat: What were your major sources of inspiration and motivation when you were starting out?
Rafael: I am the kind of guy who never gives up. I am always doing my best to make things the best way as possible and I think that´s what motivates me. Inspiration for me is everywhere, mostly in ordinary objects. If you stop for a minute and try to watch your surroundings by a different angle or point of view, you would be surprised on how beautiful and poetic our world is. (This is a good practice but don´t practice this too much or you can get I little confused.)
ModernFlat: What would you say is your favorite part about being a designer?
Rafael: My favorite part is that an ID can create great concepts without having to worry too much about if it is possible or not to produce. You know, with today’s technology you just need someone who really believes you and most things can get to production. Don’t get me wrong, some things are really impossible to make but a great idea is always a great idea. There are many ways that you can really improve people´s life quality and Design is one of the best. Like art, Design is a great way of making people think about things that really matter and I always try to spread a message trough my designs.
ModernFlat: Do you have a favorite piece of work? What is it?
ModernFlat: Why are these pieces your favorites?
Rafael: I think that this Designs are really authentic, they say too much about myself, about who I am. A good design must tell a story, must be reflective and must be inspiring. These three products represent a line of products with a deep reflective quality and I pretend to follow these characteristics in my future projects.
ModernFlat: Your designs are stunning, where do you find inspiration when starting a new project?
Rafael: That is a good question! As I said before in this interview, I find inspiration everywhere. Some subjects for me are very inspiring like paradoxes, optical illusions and opposite words. Poetry, Music and all kind of arts are always a fantastic source of inspiration too. A little meditation helps a lot.
ModernFlat: What are the steps that a professional designer, like yourself, would go through in the course of designing a new project?
Rafael: I follow basically three or four steps that might work well for other designers as well. Just like an example, let´s talk about designing a table. The first step is to research. Make a deep research about all kinds of tables ever made. Buying some books is always a great idea. A really deep research should take a week, so when it is done, take one or two days of just to refresh your brain.
It’s is a good idea to print a little book with thumbnails images of the tables you have researched. Try to look at this book upside-down and from different angles, you will always find some surprises. The next step is to draw.
Try to make crazy tables, something NEVER DONE BEFORE. Don’t worry about the quality of the drawing, the important thing here is to put your thoughts on the paper as fast as possible. Remember not to force your brain too much. If you are stuck, take a time of. When you have something really cool, it is time to develop it to a more detailed level.
The last step is Computer Graphics. Today’s designers must be fluent in at least one 3D package. It helps a lot to see your product in three dimensions. In this step you should refine your product to the higher level of details as possible until it meets your standards.
Just remember to don’t get limited by your software skills. A 3D printer is a very good resource and they are getting cheaper every day. This steps work for me very well.
ModernFlat: Do you have a favorite designer? Who is it?
Rafael: Hard question!
My favorite designer is Ronif Starckgroverinen…. ( A mix of Ron Arad, Starck, Lovegrove and Saarinen). I really love Alvar Aalto, Charles and Ray Eames, Arn Jackobsen….I can´t name them all.
ModernFlat: Do you draw inspiration from their work?
Rafael: Absolutely yes!
ModernFlat: A particular piece of yours, the Light Drop, caught my eye the other day. Could you tell me what inspired that piece?
Rafael: I was surfing on the internet, just googling for random images a I found an image of a burning candle but it´s fire was made of ice. I just thought: Wow!! Something that should cast fire was casting its opposite element! I could really use this idea to design something…
After a few days of research and hundreds of sketches, I designed the Light Drop. I just had a lot of fun designing it!
ModernFlat: I noticed while reading through your website that you are interested in working outside of Brazil. Is there a specific branch of design that you would like to focus on? Is there any particular country or design firm that you would prefer to work for?
Rafael: I just love furniture, lights and home accessories and I pretend to focus on it for a while but I am planning to give all design branches a try in the near future. I don´t have any particular firm that I would like to design for. I just want to work in a nice and friendly environment where I can design and develop solid concepts without too many restrictions.
I am so interested in knowing a different culture that I really don´t have any preferences about a specific country but If I was going to choose a country for its design, I would certainly choose some Scandinavian country. The Netherlands are great too. Italy is great also, because it looks like a boot (kidding)!
ModernFlat: Thank you so much for the interview, is there anything more that you would like to share with the readers that we didn’t cover?
Rafael: I just want to say to young designers like me to never give up creating great stuff. Just keep doing your best and someone will certainly believe in your ideas in the right time. Thanks for everyone who is reading this interview right know! If you want to comment one of my designs just leave a note on my online portfolio.
Rafael Morgan, Brazil.
Thanks again to Rafael for taking the time to participate in this interview and thanks to you for reading it.
Please feel free to link to this page (or Rafael’s Portfolio) and help Rafael increase his visibility (as a young designer I’m sure he’ll appreciate it).