Cologne: 04.–07.05.2021 #interzum

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interzum award: Interview with Martin Darbyshire (tangerine)


Martin Darbyshire

Martin Darbyshire © INDEED Photography

“Finding beautiful solutions for simplicity”, that is the aim of Martin Darbyshire. The founder and CEO of London-based design studio tangerine is member of the jury for interzum award 2017. We talked with the renowned designer about the importance of innovations, inspirations for his own work and his expectations for the upcoming interzum.

Martin Darbyshire, how did you judge and evaluate the entries of interzum award 2017 regarding the quality and the potential for innovation?

I think you have to approach it from an innovation perspective. Then it depends on what you think innovation is. Many of the examples we saw were innovations in thinking around how you might create improvements. These improvements often will be almost invisible to customers but actually they could contribute to making a big difference. Some of the best things we saw where really thought through and well executed. That's what I really liked about it – this incredible thought and attention given to really establish a creative breakthrough in an area or to be imaginative and find a new form of expression, a new solution. Instead of trying to judge a whole design you’re looking at an element saying: “What contribution has that made to everything and how transferable is that thinking to other things?

Virgin Australia

Virgin Australia’s new Business Class © tangerine

Were there any surprises for you?

Yes, many. There were some very powerful examples of using natural, organic materials in new interesting ways. Many of those materials aim at doing so in an environment-friendly and sustainable way, which is increasingly important. We as designers have to champion bringing change in a sustainable process because we cannot just keep on consuming and consuming. So I think there was a lot of careful thought and many powerful examples that show real attention being paid to creating things that have a useful finish and at the same time use resources very carefully.

Cepsa Flagship Service Station

Cepsa flagship service station © tangerine

Do you see any specific trends in the field of material and surfaces?

To me, an increasingly important aspect is the overlap between design and technology. It’s the way you synthesize both to create the optimized solution. I think, today something has to rely on being made in the right way and on being assembled in a clever and intelligent way, being repairable or replaceable, bringing a big improvement holistically.

In general, how important are materials and surfaces for your own work?

Very important. They express the quality of things. You can’t hide that. The material quality of nice things is something everybody enjoys. It’s the difference between something which feels fake and something which feels real.

Innisfree Flagship Store

Innisfree flagship store © tangerine


Innisfree flagship store © tangerine

What do you expect from the upcoming interzum?

As designers, we’re looking at the fair from an inspiration point of view. It gives us an opportunity to discover new materials and new approaches that we can use in our projects. We have a dedicated colour and material-finish team and they are always looking for inspiration. We come from a product-design background and have designed a lot in the field of transportation. We’re working on interiors for aircrafts, trains etc., like mechanisms or seats which move to make people feel more comfortable. We have to think very carefully about how we deliver a better experience – make design lighter, take away complexity and find beautiful solutions for simplicity.

Martin Darbyshire is the founder and CEO of the internationally renowned design consultancy tangerine , working for clients such as Asiana, Azul, B/E Aerospace, Huawei, Nikon, The Royal Mint, and Virgin Australia.