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Interview with:

Mathieu Turpault [mathieuturpault] 

What is your specialty?
My specialty and interests revolve around Design Research, Product Design and Product Development in general with a focus on socially responsible design.
Where can we view your portfolio online?
Most of my work can be found at http://www.bresslergroup.com.
What made you interested in design?
Arts and culture have always been at the forefront of my education. On the one hand my parents are very litterate when it comes to the arts and on the other hand, my grand father has always been a relentless inventor, a creative mind with the need to communicate his passion for solving problems. Both influenced the choices I made, I knew by age 15 that I wanted to become an industrial designer.
What has been your professional career path?
I was first hired, fresh out of school to design exclusive, high end cooking appliances. My role was to design appliances for the purpose of communicating the design capabilities of the company I worked for (Groupe Brandt), the products were launched at very high price points with the primary objective to generate PR. I then moved on to design fashion apparel and sunglasses for a company called Cebe. There I was influenced by its visionary design director, trained to analyze and leverage fashion trends through design. I made the decision to expatriate to the US, which I have always perceived to the place where Industrial Design was invented. I quickly was hired as a designer at Bresslergroup, one of the leading Industrial Design consultancies int he US and have evolved to become Design director, working with a bunch of highly talented designers and engineers.
Have you received any awards for your work in the field of design?
The fast pace of a design consultancy make it hard to track. I have received many awards as part of the design teams I worked with or directed, including gold and silver IDEA awards, Gold AM Awards and authored many patents for our clients.
What is your motivation? What makes you get up in the mornings?
The belief that my/our contribution as designers does make a difference, that we design what is right to address the needs of the end-users and contribute to the greater good.
How would you define your design style?
I would argue that any good indutrial designer does not have a particular style, instead, they learn on a project by project basis of what style is appropriate and then apply their design talent to design products and experiences that are appropriate to the company and users they design for. I would argue that an adaptive design style is the best design style there is, always changing, never the same, becomign richer with experience.
Shapes, color, concept: where do you usually begin when conceiving a design?
It always starts with user research in some form. The research informs the designers as to what the user profiles are, what they are sensitive to and what they would respond to. You can't start designing without understanding the people you design for, you can't design without meaningful user and design research.
What are your sources for documentation and to generate ideas?
It varies depending on the project. Trend reports, Store visits, customer interviews, trade shows and of course web research are great resources for design. More generally style boards are pretty common tools for design inspiration, never static, always changing and always project specific, style boards are a good synthesis of all collected knowledge influencing visual directions.
Do you believe the newer generations are better at designing?
I believe that the profession always needs new blood, to challenge assumptions, processes and ways of doing things. New generations are better trained than before and more multi-cultural than before, new graduates level of proficiency and professionalism keeps increasing incrementally. They are better prepared to learn and adapt to the demanding nature of design, with proper guidance and direction, raising the level of the overall profession.
How do you calculate budgets for a design project?
We look at the objectives of the project, map out a detailed project plan with finite tasks and subtasks and estimate the amount of time necessary to spend on each task to deliver excellence in design. This is a very rationale and methodical way of looking at calculating a budget. This is something we are very proud of and very transparent about.
Up to what point do your designs reflect your personality?
I hope they don't. I don't design for myself but for others, the designs should be a reflection of their personalities, not mine.
How do you distinguish passing fads from mainstays in new trends?
You need to stay on top of the trends to be able to draw conclusions based on past trends and experiences, this provides the necessary foresight to analyze and draw conclusion on the lasting potential of a trend and it’s potential for sustainability. This is tough, especially when you working many different fields as I do, designing Consumer, medical, commercial or industrial products, you need to keep up with all the trends in all of these industries.
Can you see yourself in this field twenty years from now?
Absolutely, I don't think I will ever stop designing or solving problems, this is an addiction.
Which design resources online do you frequently visit?
http://ww.core77.com http://www.idsa.org

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Mathieu Turpault
Philadelphia PA, United States Of America

[mathieuturpault] Mathieu Turpault
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