As part of the effort to ICAD Design Days to stimulate deeper discussions with the design community on the nature of being a design professional and the values of our work as a collective, we reached out to various industry practitioners and stakeholders, seeking their perspectives on a series of thought-provoking questions on current issues in relation to the core values professionalism.
Cayenne Lim, Design Director at A Moxie Associates Sdn Bhd shares her thoughts with us.
What should the relationship between the academia and the industry be? How are we able to bridge the gap between what the academia is producing and what the industry is demanding (skills/traits/attitude, etc.)?
In my opinion, the gap bridge between academic and industry is huge in Malaysia. Most industry designers do not stay connected or involved in universities activities and plans after they graduated. This scene is seemingly can be described as detachments to formal education. It ends in the age of young adult. Except a minority of them would continue in masters, phd etc. In my opinion, companies can explore into different possibilities by doing collaborations, activities or involving universities in projects.
The turn back for companies would be it is too time consuming. Perhaps, an added value plan can be introduced to ID companies? It is just my two cents ideas. More idea developments required.
As of looking into the internet trend nowadays, internet social media for my opinion is the best, nearest and most convenient method to stay connected. Also, it is very important if companies value young designers more.
In terms of demands, employees expect fresh graduates to kick start in the industry with good computer skills already (autocad / 3dsmax) instead of dwelling too much time in exploring and learning softwares while working. Dealing with work by all means productivity and ability to catch up in our fast paced and competitive industry. It is also important for young designers to be aggressive, willing to learn and constantly improving to able to perform well.
What does “multidisciplinary” mean to you? In your practice/industry, do you think it is more important to be a “generalist” or a “specialist”, and why?
Multidisciplinary involves equipping a team of different knowledge, perspectives and approach in brainstorming, designing and producing artworks differently. There isn’t any specific S.O.P in design process, instead the best process is through experimental and discussion.
To be honest, I do not have a specific answer for being a generalist or specialist. BOTH are important! I would see myself to be specialist in adaption of colours in space. If that makes sense? But at the same time, it is really important for designers to always practice widen their horizon of creativity and thinking.
Being specialist in certain of “something” could be dangerous if you as a designer STOP to explore but staying too focus to build what you think you like and want to be. To be inflexible and constrain yourself when you are still young is bad. As young designers, to me, the hunger to learn and explore is very important. Do not lock yourself as a ‘specialist’ when you should be learning and widen your knowledge.
As being generalist, sees bigger picture. The world is big and interconnected with the different people to collaborate and solving complex issues.
Also I personally disagree to have an individual constrained to be just a person who specializes in for example “Specialist in Residential Design”. Do not afraid to tap on retails, offices, schools, or other categories that requires creativity input. Instead let people discover this talent by liking his/her aesthetics.
How has your industry incorporated ethical practices, if there are any? Do you think ethical responsibilities fall on the shoulders of the artist/designers or the client, or both?
To breakdown the terms of ethical as an Interior Designer:
1. Being honest with the opinion of ‘Ugly’ and ‘Beautiful’
2. To produce quality work instead of rushed and half-effort work to your clients
3. To take deadlines seriously and commit to that.
4. Respect your team members include co-working partners, colleagues and even to contractors.
5. Aware of materials and construction method and be responsible when recommending and consulting.
6. Do not take shortcuts when designing
To breakdown the terms of ethical in Interior Design Business:
1. To mutually respective to clients and contractors.
2. Honest Pricing
3. Contribute back to the society
4. Ensuring Quality Works
The list goes on. Above all these, it is still practiced in Moxie but we constantly adapt to different project timeline and situation. Hence, it is important for companies to set core values and goals as part of determining what ethical practices are to them. Ethical is really subjective to begin with.
Are the nature of awards and competitions still relevant today and why?
Yes, awards and competitions are absolutely relevant. It is one of the stages for ID firms to be recognized and to provide the sense of being appreciated. Motivation is so important to continue to be passionate, full of fighting spirit and achievement of the betterment of ownself and teammates.
When we were all in the design school, we have lecturers and tutors telling us how potential we are and pushes us through to participate in competitions. However, when we are out there in the industry, there is almost no validation, how many employers would validates their designers or teams? It is important for designers to participate in competition just to self-check whether he/she is doing good or swaying away from the passion already.
What do you think is important for the arts practitioners/designers of the future to think about and challenge?
As for the current pandemic, responsive of ideas to ensure safe and clean environment is very one of the hottest topics to discuss about. Designers also should reach out more, look into collaboration perspectives and do not shy away from speaking up. Sadly truth, many great designers remained hidden and lack of opportunities.