Shifting focus - the Decade interview: Ross Lovegrove
Where were you ten years ago? What are you doing today? Where would you like to be in ten years' time?
Phaidon.com spoke to ten leading figures in a variety of disciplines about what they were doing ten years ago, what they are doing now, and where they hope to be in ten years' time.
Ross Lovegrove is one of the most interesting and fascinating of contemporary designers. His work ranges from furniture to high-tech products and explores the creation of sculptural and organic shapes using sophisticated technology and materials. In recent years Lovegrove has worked on a design concept that he calls 'organic essentialism', inspired by elements and aesthetics taken from the natural world and reshaped in futuristic forms.
Q: What were you doing ten years ago?
Ten years ago I was in a run down studio space under the West Way, the main arterial route into London from the A40. When trucks passed overhead the images swayed across our computer screens and the trains passed every two minutes, meters from my window.
No clients came there because I was too embarassed but in many ways I have very positive memories of this time and several very key projects were completed. These included my PET bottle for TY NANT, the Go Chair in magnesium for Bernhardt USA and Sky Sleeper Solo aircraft seat and interior for Japan Airlines.
It was an incredibly intense period of my life, very demanding because of the nature of my projects which were very innovative formally and technically, plus all the related travel. Also I was following the construction works on my new subterrainian studio which took approximately two years to complete but which was a personal investment in moving things forward and creating a studio which represented the world of design I wished to communicate.
Q: What are you doing now?
I thought that by now I would have completed a project for a car and a new small scale piece of architecture that would both relate to contemporary issues and material/technological capabilities. I was getting close up until about a year and a half ago with two or three new clients when the global financial crisis just swept away these possibilities. I had spent more than a year trying to set these up, investing a lot of time and money and frankly I became rather demoralized and it took the wind out of my sails. Now I'm trying again to reinstate this ambition but in the mean time simply working with as much invention and optimism as I can with my current clients until I can lift my participation to a new level that capitalizes on the potential of our times.
Q: Where would you like to be in ten years' time?
In ten years I would hope to have had some exhibitions of my work that give me the opportunity to organize my mind and understand better what my contribution was, is or could be. I will probably look for projects that complete my body of work as a designer, or revisit some projects that I always thought could be better.
As a sculptor/artist I will continue to express my inner most feelings which indirectly reinforce my design and explore concepts that move people emotionally from the deep past to the deep future. I will continue to seek out my dream of transportation and architecture even at a modest scale but if this does not happen by commission I will probably build these myself. I will continue to draw and try to stay relevant.