Is it challenging for you to design interiors compared to motorbikes?
No, because vehicles are so complicated. For example, everything on a motorbike you see is a design element as well as a technical piece. My experience in cars and motorbikes helps me a lot in finding the right design and understanding problems and constraints when creating other objects like furniture or a room.
What are the differences and similarities between the two fields?
The biggest difference is that one is meant to be on the road and the other is not: the natural beauty of a motorcycle or a car lies in that. It's aerodynamically designed, intended to be on the move at high speeds; it's the design element that gives them such a presence even at a standstill. A car is sculpted by the wind.
On the other hand, a piece of furniture is static. It has only one function. It is a relatively simple object, but this is where I like to marry automotive design with furniture design: I draw furniture with the same mindset as I would for a car, and do my utmost to imbue an otherwise static product with a deep sense of movement and fluidity.
What vehicle do you prefer yourself?
I launched my custom motorcycle brand, Blacktrack, to create the bike that I dreamed of riding but didn't exist. I always make one of each bike for my personal use and one or two more for fans of the brand. I love motorcycles – I have several, and each one has its own personality and different beastly performance.
Where do you find your inspirations?
There is a quote by the architect Oscar Niemeyer which I often think back to: "What matters isn't knowing where the inspiration comes from, but where it is taking you." With that being said, though, I can find inspiration almost anywhere: in nature, in meetings with new people and cultures, or from music, or when I'm sleeping. When I'm in front of a white sheet of paper I become excited like a kid because the creation of a design begins at this very moment, and I never stop drawing until I find the right idea.
I can find inspiration almost anywhere: in nature, in meetings with new people and cultures, or from music, or when I'm sleeping.
How would you describe your style, and what differentiates it from others'?
I feel that a product in motion is a product that is alive. The idea of movement is always present in my work; it is my way to give a soul to an object, and has become the signature of my designs.
To explain this approach in my work, I like to make a comparison with sports photography. When an athlete in full power is photographed, you can clearly imagine the movement of the body, and so the image exudes an emotion that is captivating and strong. I try to communicate this same feeling through my designs.
Does function or form come first when you design a product?
Form is beautiful when it has a function – I like to create products that are fully developed aesthetically, but it is important that they integrate all key functions harmoniously: ergonomics, comfort, use and so on. I aim to design products that will stand the test of time.
What are the trends you see in design?
Home-built custom motorcycle projects are certainly experiencing a spike but it's more than just a trend. All custom builders have an innate curiosity for what goes into a particular build and the different elements that make up the bike's identity.
You were invited by HKT Premier to curate the iot in Style 2 showcase of technological innovations in Hong Kong. What's your ideal automated home?
I like it when technology is almost unnoticeable, intuitive and seamlessly integrated into everyday life. It needs to be non-intrusive and uncomplicated. My ideal automated home will be able to function in such a way that it provides me with the freedom and peace of mind to be as productive as possible, eliminating the tediousness of micromanaging every moment of life.
How is technology affecting design today?
Technology and design are so closely linked. I often take the Panton Chair that Verner Panton designed in the 1960s as an example. The s-shaped, cantilevered design was the first moulded plastic chair. This liberated designers' creativity and shifted perspectives away from the traditional four-legged design. I see 3D printing as the new industrial revolution, which will allow designers to become both creator and manufacturer. It is a revolution in the same way as when the first computers arrived, gradually making our office work easier and enabling us to unleash our creativity.