Frank Scott from the Designer Interviews (“DI”) had an interview with Mohamad Montazeri (“MM”). It is a pleasure to share this interview with you.
“Designer Interview of Mohamad Montazeri:
DI: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
MM : My childhood was spent in an artistic atmosphere. I have had various experiences in different branches of art. In painting, I experimented several styles (such as abstract, impressionism, post-impressionism, cubism, realism and surrealism) and held more than 20 solo painting exhibitions during this period. In addition to painting, I have experiences in music. I have a great interest in composing and as a child I entered the world of music playing the violin and then the cello, guitar and mandolin. I have tried almost all the living instruments in the world and I love them. As a teenager, I spent most of my time in music and recording music, and I managed to record two albums and a few singles. Before entering the university, I got acquainted with the field of design and decided to study Industrial Design at the university. So, I completed my academic studies in Industrial Design at the undergraduate and then postgraduate levels. I am satisfied with my art and academic background, and if I went back to the past, I would still choose the same path from the beginning until today.
DI: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
MM : I am the founder and director of Arena Design Studio and Arena Design Academy. At Arena Design Studio, we design products and to date we have succeeded in designing products that have won various prestigious international awards in design. What is important in Arena Design Studio is to pay attention to good design and environmentally friendly. Also, by holding training courses in various design departments, we try to teach design to students in this field and improve the quality of their knowledge and skills in design.
DI: What is “design” for you?
MM : I am very interested in design and this has made design to have higher meanings for me. Design is an integral part of my life.
DI: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
MM : I have had various experiences in design. From architecture and land art to fashion design, service design and product design. But I am most specialized and interested in design of digital products.
DI: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
MM : I cannot mention a specific case. But in general, I can say that any good design, is my favorite.
DI: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
MM : My first design for a company was to design a digital product.
DI: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
MM : I cannot choose with certainty. Because each of these has its own importance and depending on the type of project the priority of their importance may be shifted from one project to another.
DI: When do you feel the most creative?
MM : I have learned to increase the creative activity of my mind whenever I want. This has helped me to be able to produce content and ideas in the best way, even in the most difficult mental and intellectual conditions.
DI: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
MM : I think of design as a living thing. To examine a living thing, it is not possible to say which organ is more important. For example, the brain cannot work without limbs, or all of this cannot survive without the heart, and etc. The design is the same. Design is a living system, and it is a mistake to think that one part is important and effective apart from the other parts. Creativity and innovation are important to me, but they are not enough. Form and product function and many other factors are also important and influential.
DI: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
MM : Design always feels good to me. This may seem strange to you, but the harder the project, the more interesting and exciting it is for me.
DI: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
MM : It feels great. I can learn from the feedback and opinions of a large number of people about my work.
DI: What makes a design successful?
MM : Successful design is a design that can meet the needs of the user in the best way; it should be environmentally friendly and maintains balance.
DI: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
MM : In different products, due to their different functions, priorities can be shifted, but some things are general and should always be considered. If taken into account, they can be one step closer to good design. One of the most important of these is adherence to design ethics, maintaining balance and sustainability in design. Other factors include creativity, good form, good function and compliance with standards.
DI: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
MM : The designer, like all human beings, is responsible for his environment. S/he is responsible for the Earth on which s/he lives, for the society in which s/he lives, and in a word, for the environment around which s/he interacts. The designer’s mission towards this responsibility is ethical design. A sustainable design that is environmentally friendly and maintains balance. We must never forget that the environment is a trust in our hands for future generations.
DI: How do you think the “design field” is evolving? What is the future of design?
MM : In my opinion, the future of design depends on the future of mankind. In fact, the future of design is the future of mankind. Because it is the designers who with their designs make the path of human life easier and the next steps of human progress possible, and on the other hand, human beings cultivate their desires and aspirations in their minds and bring them to maturity to the stage of idea. What is desired for human beings today, will become a reality in the future, and this is the work of the designer. I said all this to emphasize that the role of the designer is very important in the future, even more than today.
DI: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
MM : Due to the Corona Pandemic, I have not held any group activities such as the exhibition for a long time, but my last exhibition was before the Corona Pandemic and about a year ago in Tehran / Iran. I have not yet made a decision for the next exhibition due to the Covid19 pandemic.
DI: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
MM : The range of my designs is wide, from service design to product design. Accordingly, the design methods in each project may be different from the others. So the source of inspiration in each project can be different. But in general, I believe that there is always the answer to everything around us, and we just need to look around and see them.
DI: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What’s your approach to design?
MM : I always love simplicity and purity. I am very interested in modernity and then in good design, and I see the utmost beauty in good design. I like the simplicity and minimalism of a design and that is why I always try to make my designs look like this; the utmost purity and simplicity.
DI: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
MM : I live in Iran. In answer to this question, there are two arguments, first, that I personally do not tend to categorize my designs in any way, and I always try to make the products I design understandable to all human beings on the planet, regardless of nationality and ethnicity. Secondly, there is an important point in this, and that is to know each culture and taste and all the factors of a society and to give importance to them. A successful designer is a successful sociologist. A successful designer is a successful psychologist. A successful designer is aware of the current realities of societies, nations and tribes. This is my view, and I always follow these two together in my designs. Therefore, the country where I live, Iran, as a border and nationality, has no effect on my designs, but with full knowledge of the characteristics of the people of this country and other countries, my designs have become more mature and complete.
DI: How do you work with companies?
MM : Project and design orders.
DI: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
MM : it cannot be denied that all companies are looking to sell more and be more successful in their markets, which sometimes makes them more conservative and naturally makes it harder for them to accept creative and risky ideas. This is an important point in deciding whether to continue their production and sales routine or to trust their designer’s basic idea. Personally, I believe that many factors need to be considered for this decision. But what is important is to pay attention to the background of the designer and the purpose of such designs. To what extent and how has he observed the balance between reality and idea? Paying attention to this important matter can make decisions easier and help the designer in his task and the resulting project can be done successfully for both parties. A good way to get to know a good designer is to review his or her resume. I think designers who have won awards at numerous prestigious international competitions, as well as the quality of their work and designs, have a higher quality level and are a good choice.
DI: Can you talk a little about your design process?
MM : The design methods I use in each project vary depending on the product and project. I love this flexibility and consider it as one of the keys to my success in my projects and designs. But in general, the common denominator of all my projects is paying close attention to idea and reviewing all possible solutions to meet the need or solve the problem.
DI: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
MM : Design in the fields of Lighting Design, Furniture Design, Digital Device Design, Interior Gardening Design and Interior Design is attractive to me.
DI: Can you describe a day in your life?
MM : Naturally, my days, like many others, are different. But in the meantime, some things are fixed in my daily schedule. Studying physical or digital copies of magazines, newspapers and websites to follow the latest world news, especially in the field of science, technology and design. studying book. Sometimes I write songs and play my instruments and record my songs. I like walking. I take care of my flowers and plants.
DI: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
MM : My suggestion is to read a lot. But the study and knowledge of theory alone is not enough, and the involvement of the designer in the manufacturing process makes the designer more mature and experienced.
DI: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
MM : Naturally, design, like everything else, has both positive and negative points. But more important than paying attention to the positive and negative points, is paying attention to the designer’s view and thoughts towards design philosophy. For example, the boundary between imagination and idea and the boundary between idea and reality (turning idea into reality) are very fine. Sometimes during the design process, ideas that seemed perfectly efficient may show new aspects in the implementation phase (such as the construction phase) and overshadow the project. That’s why ideas need to be tested. These steps are sometimes very time consuming and energy consuming. In this situation, the designer’s view of the design process is very decisive. If s/he does not have strong management, high patience and great interest in design, s/he will definitely run into problems. This can be seen in other parts of the design process.
DI: What is your “golden rule” in design?
MM : Adherence to ethical and human principles, up-to-date design information, science and technology, and keeping up with the latest world news, strong management and patience.
DI: What skills are most important for a designer?
MM : I know the importance of management skills (any type and form of management) more than others.
DI: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
MM : In general, depending on the type of project, I use a set of 3D modeling software, rendering, presentation, as well as data analysis software and simulators.
DI: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
MM : Throughout the design process, energy, manpower and time management are crucial. In my opinion, full knowledge of each of these topics and having experience can make project management successful. Personally, I have never had a failed time management experience because based on the experience I have gained, I look at projects more realistically, and this allows me to make the most of the time I have. Also it avoids possible time-consuming errors.
DI: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
MM : The times vary according to the type of project and I cannot specify a specific number.
DI: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
MM : The biggest question is about how my design process works. How do these ideas come to my mind?
DI: What was your most important job experience?
MM : I cannot mention one specific case. Each of them has its own unique experiences for me, according to its own challenges, and therefore each of them has its own importance to me. But, I have to say that they were all equally important to me.
DI: Who are some of your clients?
MM : Usually digital device companies.
DI: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
MM : I really like product design. Also, data analysis and processing and design based on data and calculations is one of my interests in design. In addition to these interests, the experience of working in a group and team also doubles the attractiveness of the project for me.
DI: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
MM : More progress in design and more introduction of my products and designs to the world.
DI: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
MM : I have had both team and group design experience as well as individual design experience. Each has its own pros and cons, but I personally prefer teamwork.
DI: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
MM : I am currently working on several design projects and I will probably participate in one or two of them in international competitions this year.
DI: How can people contact you?
MM : I am a member of all the popular social networks through which people can connect with me. My personal website is also available at www.mohamadmontazeri.com. It contains the addresses of the accounts of all social networks and other communication channels, as well as information about my projects and designs.
DI: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
MM : I think the interview was complete and you mentioned everything. Thank you for this interview.”