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Christoph Fahle
June 7, 2013

Member of the Week: Régis Lemberthe

Régis Lemberthe is an industrial and humanitarian designer, co-founder of A&Re Design. He was creating awesome projects at betahaus and Open design City almost as long as it exists, and will be the teacher and mentor of Product Design Course from 12th June on.

Why have you decided to become a designer?

I guess becoming a designer is something I've had in mind since I'm a kid, in a way - but back then I only wanted to draw cars. Becoming the designer I am now, happened not because of a single reason, rather a series of encounters and discoveries that set me off each time on a different path. If I had to name a few turning points, I'd probably go for: failing at becoming a sports teacher, interacting with classmates and inspiring professionals at Design Academy Eindhoven; cofounding a design studio with Anna Iwansson; teaming up with Pedro Pineda and Sam Muirhead in Enable Berlin, and with Jay Cousins at the Maker Lab; and later organising workshops in Betahaus, that has also brought me a lot of important insight into my own practice.

  

What´s the coolest and the lamest part of being a design professional?

Can I say two of each? Coolest are clearly being able to solve problems in a creative way, sometimes working with interesting people who have skills I don't, and to be able to use domestic objects as a medium of to express ideas. Lamest are having to make a living of the job, and therefore sometimes having to compromise a project's integrity to a client's idea, and the constant questioning whether we really need to produce more objects - although that last one can also find an answer in the new developments of the discipline, with collaborative and open design kicking in.

Why have you decided to start your own projects rather than work for a company?

For the freedom it provides, and because I had no idea how much stress and effort it implies. But I'm happy having done so, after years of struggling things are paying off, and I'm now getting rewarded in terms of autonomy and happiness at work.

Why have you decided to share your knowledge about concrete within workshops? I mean it's quite a specific field in which you have been experimenting for over 4 years, right? Is it possible to teach in 4 hours?

Because I was asked to, and it sounded like a good idea and an interesting challenge. You're right, I've been experimenting with that material for quite some time now, and knowing how to work with it, and what shortcuts can be taken is exactly what makes it possible to facilitate workshops and make such a long process fit into such a tight schedule. In fact, it could have been much shorter if I had a standard project to submit the participants, and all there was to do was build a mould, make some concrete and cast it. But I've also chosen for it to be an actual design project, in which people can design a personal object and learn exactly how this can be made. Of course, results hardly ever are exactly what they were meant to, but I believe the skills and knowledge taken home are far greater than if the workshop was made simpler.   

You are a part of betahaus community since forever. How and when did you get trapped? :)

I started gravitating around Betahaus when organising collaborative design sessions with Enable Berlin, that were taking place at Open Design City. I later went to Milan with the Maker Lab, and ended up organising workshops as part of the ongoing Build Or Buy project. And in a few weeks, my activities at Betahaus will be completed by the Intensive Design Course, that I'll teach for a month there.

What are participants going to learn at the Product Design Course that you are launching? Let´s say, what are the 3 take away?

There'll hopefully be way more than three, but ok, let's try that. First, I need to say that it'll be split in two parts, that are on one hand the theoretical learning during which I'll be providing insights, and on the other hand the hands-on practice during which participants will team up to work on a common design project of their choice. Also, it's an intensive design project, and we'll want to have something new to reflect on every time - which means there will be homework.

Ok, now for the three things people can expect to learn from that course:1 - learn methods that form the routine of a design studio: research, preparation of the brainstorming, getting proper feedback, etc.2 - acquire knowledge specific to the production part: insights on different materials and related production techniques, how to build a good prototype, how to make good blueprints that will easily be understood by collaborators, and so on.3 - reflexion on design, evaluation of what opportunities all the new collaborative and social aspects of both the design, production and distribution parts can generate.

Lemon is better than peach because..?

It isn't. Lemon has different qualities than peach, neither better nor worse. They are both tools that can be used to achieve different things - try making a lemonade with peach. Yeah, bad example, it's probably delicious. :)

We will try! Thanks a lot for the interview and we hope to see you around!

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