About Andres Luer Solorza

For me as for many creative minds, design is a way of thinking and making is our practice. The constant search for new forms and solutions contribute to the ever evolving society, tackling issues, solving problems and improving our condition as a whole.

Interview with Andres Luer Solorza

Andres Luer Solorza ("ALS") interviewed on Monday, 16 May.

Could you please tell us about your experience as a designer, artist, architect or creator?

ALS : During my degree in Florence I had my first collaborations which then became actual contracts and defined the moment I entered the business of being a Designer. Some parts of being a Designer are learned in university but some others are learned on the way and take years to fully engage. I remember working for a Yacht company in Italy that had the toughest delivery schedules and budgets, that was the moment I understood that there was more than just coming out with brilliant ideas, they needed to be grounded and work in a business environment.

How did you become a designer?

ALS : I started my journey as a creator, as the term itself describes, Manu-facture was my main interest. At an early age I got involved in woodworking which later on expanded to all the disciplines required to become a Designer. I learned the process and steps required to translate an idea into a market product, work with deadlines and search for solutions that were cost effective and impactful and more importantly deal with teams. One thing was to build by myself, another very different is to have more people involved.

What are your priorities, technique and style when designing?

ALS : Every time I start a new project I spend a great deal of time researching, I want to know if there is something like this on the market, what are the current solutions and which are the latest technologies to achieve that. From that onwards the process is fairly straightforward. In-house development has a different pace in comparison with client's requests so it's at that point where I integrate the business model I've learned from working with larger companies. Having the possibility of making, modeling, real life prototypes in-house is a great advantage, I can get immediate feedback about ergonomics, sizes and materials performances, often accompanied by a 3D modeling on Rhinoceros. When it comes to rendering, I want full control on textures and graphics, so I always create renders myself using Photoshop.

Which emotions do you feel when designing?

ALS : I compare the emotion of the design process as the curve of parenthood. It starts with the excitement of getting to know someone new, then it moves to a full time dedication to reach its peak as you see the object. Next is the time of growth and maturity and finally letting the grown and finished product enter the market and have a life on its own, while I'm proud of it. Positive response from final users or clients is what fuels me to continue and gain confidence for the next upcoming task.

What particular aspects of your background shaped you as a designer?

ALS : The ability to look with an open mind to what exceptional minds have done and grasp from there the right hints to come up with new ideas, is what has made my creative process successful. Maybe it is true that everything has been designed but it's about how to bring it to the context where new solutions are found, therefore the constant cycle of innovation keeps running.

What is your growth path? What are your future plans? What is your dream design project?

ALS : Opening a second business in a new country has meant learning all about this new market, a lot of information has to be digested which translate in personal and business growth. The US market is one of the best and most competitive, building my presence here represents my biggest goal. The future looks fantastic, I'm gonna add to my current catalog a few more pieces, expand my collection and establish my name engaging into new collaborations.

What are your advices to designers who are at the beginning of their career?

ALS : Be curious and hungry of learning, the world today goes so fast that in order to leave your mark you must carry with you an important luggage of knowledge. A great painter we all know once said "good artist copy, great artists steal". If you are humble enough to look at someone's work and be taken by it, you could then come out with the right clue to create something exceptional.

You are truly successful as a designer, what do you suggest to fellow designers, artists and architects?

ALS : Self esteem is crucial. Learning how to present your ideas will put you in front of the right people and places. This is probably one of the most difficult talents you need to master. Be careful not to confuse it with arrogance. Design is also about collaboration, knowing how to deal with people will help you to delegate and create an environment where ideas flow.

What is your day to day look like?

ALS : I have understood that time is finite, yes let me repeat this, time IS finite. We go through life thinking that there will always be a tomorrow from which we borrow. I have a routine that works wonders. It's been a few years now that my alarm goes off at 6:45. Waking up early is by far the best way to trick time. Morning chores like emails and calls take around 30 to 45 minutes max. I delegate most of these tasks. The rest of the morning is for exercise and conceptualization, meaning all the mental and physical activity that goes into the landing of an idea, such as sketch, drawings, research, 3D modeling. Lunch is at 12 sharp, btw it's my first meal, since I practice intermittent fasting seriously. Then the rest of the day goes all at the studio where i Manu-Facture prototypes, models and final products.

How do you keep up with latest design trends? To what extent do design trends matter?

ALS : I have no problem immersing myself into extended research, for me it's crucial to gauge what's out there, what's new and where there is room for improvement. Today's trends are transitory, they play no role in the big scheme of things. The big trends that have defined the world as we know it, have already been created and are those I take clues from.

How do you know if a product or project is well designed? How do you define good design?

ALS : There is a saying " if my grandma can't understand the function, you have to get back to the chalkboard" A great product is about that, it brings a positive experience to the user. This could come in hundreds of different shapes and complexities. One great example is Dyson products. It tackles a simple task, such as cleaning the floor. This is the tricky part, and the equation goes like this: thanks to the advanced system behind their products, cleaning the floor becomes a simple task for the user. In other cases the user's experience is enhanced not by technology or cutting edge systems, rather something intangible like art. The best example I can think of is Stark's juicer, what makes the user experience unforgettable is the poetry not the fact that you can get more juice from the orange.

How do you decide if your design is ready?

ALS : A product is ready for the time and place it has been conceived only, but the ever evolving cycle never ends. The train is hundred years old and has never stopped evolving, it was once ready when the engineers successfully harnessed the steam power, at that specific period of time, then again was ready when the electricity was introduced and ready again when it was introduced with magnets

What is your biggest design work?

ALS : By far the biggest work is the one you have to fund yourself. It implicates risks and dynamics that if overcome, pay off in multiple levels of your life. Suspending an income or stream of money to dedicate your time to your own project development is risky but rewarding. The good thing is that even failure during this exercise can teach you a lot. Orbita, which is my first lighting product, took me two and a half years of work, I derived everything into it and its success took me to a place I was just dreaming years ago.

Who is your favourite designer?

ALS : It may sound like a cliché but to me Stark became the epitome of design. He was able to add art, poetry and challenge function like no one else. It had his period of influence on the whole spectrum of design and at a certain point he understood that his work wasn't tackling the issues our time was facing and with a remarkable speech acknowledged that design today needed something else. This is profound.

Would you tell us a bit about your lifestyle and culture?

ALS : There is a valid concept that says you are what you eat, but there is an even more profound one which is, you express what you have lived. Richard Florida in his book Who's your city explains the deep connection between who you are and where you live, people surroundings and experiences are all subject to the environment in which you move. I have the opportunity to live in Italy for many years which accounts for the most part the success I have as a designer. I wouldn't be able to imagine and conceive ideas without it. At first, travels can leave only a few pictures worth remembering but if you let yourself be permeated by different cultures they will start building up on you a foundation that works as an endless source of inspiration.

Would you tell us more about your work culture and business philosophy?

ALS : I have two teams spread across two different continents, that makes me a 24h worker, when I'm sleeping they are working and vice versa. I can't imagine working locally based nowadays, globalization is not only having buyers from all over the world, rather finding the work force that keeps the ball rolling while we are asleep.

What are your philanthropic contributions to society as a designer, artist and architect?

ALS : Recognizing the value of cultures is crucial. During these recent years I have started three join ventures with craftsmen/ artisan to develop products from which both parties benefit. The input of ancestral knowledge combined with today's advances in technology merge bringing to the market the ultimate craft.

What positive experiences you had when you attend the A’ Design Award?

ALS : we can all claim we are something, but it is the recognition of the masses that ultimately determine the success of your career. Art is by far the most volatile status of all. Who is an artist? ADesign is the best platform to expose your talent, in my case having won twice I can confidently gauge the benefits and the influence that had on me. The best part is the network that ADesign has set in place, a web like no other where all sorts of ideas and people can connect.

Andres Luer Solorza Profile

Black Haze electric guitar

Black Haze electric guitar design by Andres Luer Solorza

Orbita Lamp

Orbita Lamp design by Andres Luer Solorza


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