Exclusive interview with André Teoman

We are very proud to show you today the interview with André Teoman. A very skilled design that has already proved his talent and has hundreds of his pieces in homes all around the world.


DL. 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?

AT. I don’t think I’ve always known what it means to be a designer. But since my early days I’ve been involved in different creative fields. From puppetry, photography and illustration to music. My whole family is very connected to art. If I remember correctly the first profession I wanted to follow was actually architecture. The idea of creating buildings that were born in my imagination and then came to life was fascinating. But somewhere around my 14 years of age I meet a designer, my teacher actually, and I fell in love with what he did. It was so much more liberating, I could create everything around me. And from that day on I’ve been living my dream.


DL. Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?

AT. I’ve recently started to work on my own new project. I intend to show the world, bold and iconic design-art pieces. I aim to bring a new sight to the debate between art and design, with wicked points of view and refreshing concepts to bring a more functional art to the world. We strive to achieve a sense of humor, crucial to appeal and seduce all kind of art and design lovers.

DL.. What kinds of works do you like designing most?

AT. Art-Design pieces. Pieces that will be of limited number series. I get bored easily so I like to be always creating and following the production of the pieces next to the suppliers and craftsman. I like to be there to discuss all the details and make sure that everything is made perfectly as I imaged it. About the pieces itself I like pieces that are the opposite of a butler. Normally we count on a butler to only be felt when we need him, I like pieces that are always making a statement but can also be used for a purpose. Life is short and it shouldn’t be boring, our houses too.


DL. What was the first thing you designed for a company?

AT. The Newton Dining table for Boca do Lobo. It was a great first experience, since in 2012 it was considered a trend for 2013 by the Nelly Rodi tendencies stand during the Maison et Objet. It’s great when our work is credited by other identities.

DL. When do you feel the most creative?

AT. When I’m alone, after troubled times. When I refer to troubled times it’s the international design and art fairs, after I absorb all that visual information, I need my alone time to process it in my own way.


DL. Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?

AT. I try to focus on the details, the rest comes naturally.

DL. When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?

AT. How it makes me feel? Is it making my life easier or happier? If not it’s bad, if yes it’s certainly good.


DL. 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?

AT. I would describe it as Art Design. Design pieces that when not useful are Art pieces or the other way around if you prefer. I always wanted to make pieces with identity, with something to say but that wouldn’t need a philosophic explanation, and I love the interaction that can be created with the user, so exploring this kind of pieces was always my comfort zone, where I’m happy creating. In my approach to design, I don’t believe in the unity of the “true, the good and the beautiful”, that aesthetically valuable and quality-conscious design will make us better people, as Bauhaus or the Werkbund once proclaimed, but I try to create my own world with wicked things and to turn them into a symbolization of distinctive taste and humor. And the production of these ideas making a difference to my hometown local artisans is very important to make the design meaningful. The preservation of such craftsmanship is a mission, and a desire to join their best craftsmanship with other great techniques that are being forgotten around the world.


DL. 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?

AT. I live in Viana do Castelo, a city in the North of Portugal. Sure it affects my designs, I love all the small craftsman workshops that I visit since I was young. All these different kinds of “art” were something that gave me a sense of what it was possible to do from raw materials since I was little. There are a lot of pros about having such excellent people working with their hands, and the knowledge they have, passed from generation to generation, is something amazing. It may be hard to believe but they are very open minded to new challenges if you know how to seduce them into different kind of works. The cons are definitely the economic crisis, I understand that it must be like this everywhere, but Portugal is one of the most affected countries, at least in Europe.


DL. How do you work with companies?

AT. For the last two years I worked with a contract. Now with my solo project on it’s way I adapted myself for royalties contracts or a price for piece. It’s been a great challenge to work with different people from different brands and most important with different ideas.

DL. Can you talk a little about your design process?

AT. I can start the process in two different ways, sometimes I explore different paths to find where I’m going, but there are other times when I get overwhelmed by something and know exactly where I want to go, only needing to find a way to get there.


DL. Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?

AT. 1- Work night and day. You need to want it really bad to succeed. 2- Make good connections, having friends in the right places is always a great help. 3- And most importantly, have fun doing your work.

DL. Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?

AT. I always start with a pen. My most frequently used tools are the Ipad, notebook, basic colors tombow pens,  0.4 pilot pen, coke (coca-cola…), and my computer with some 2D and 3D creative software.

DL. Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?

AT. My trick is to be always designing. 3D visualization in my mind helps me create even when I’m grocery shopping, but when it really works best during long baths. I don’t need to be sitting in my desk to think of how to solve a problem, when I get there I just execute the solution that I came up with.

A long way to go

DL. Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?

AT. I like both methodologies. Sometimes it’s great to change ideas and to divide tasks, other times it’s better to be the “lonely wolf”. When creating I prefer to be alone, less chances of being judged in a break trough, but for development I surely prefer to have colleagues around to discuss with and share ideas.

To find out more about his work go to www.andreteoman.com

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