Above the Fold: Andre Fangueiro, Industrial Designer
In Above the Fold, we spotlight individual members of Coroflot's vibrant creative community. The idea is to take you behind the scenes and inside the minds of talented Coroflot members who we think are doing exceptional work. Coroflot was created by designers, for designers, and Above the Fold is the place where we can talk to creatives about work that we not only love, but think you'll love too!
Netherlands-based industrial designer Andre Fangueiro can not only say he has a diverse variety of design projects under his belt, as the founder of Studio Lata he can also call himself a successful independent designer. Graduating with a bachelor's in product design from Super Schools of Arts & Design in Portugal and an MA in industrial design from Academy of Fine Arts in Poland, Fangueiro's experiences in both the academic and professional world are equally impressive. His work stands out for its ingenuity and impeccable attention to visuals and form, demonstrating not only his true mechanical skill but also a critical eye for detail.
Was there a specific moment in life where you realized you wanted to pursue a creative path?
Since I can remember I have always wanted to understand how things work. Already as a small child I was disassembling TVs, VCRs, vacuum cleaners, drill machines etc... eager to see what was inside. My mother could not leave me alone in a room for long.
Who are your design heroes?
I don't really have design heroes as such, but I have some designers & architects whose work I can really relate to. Since an early stage in life, I have adored Alvar Aalto furniture pieces and Siza Vieira is a local architect from my hometown, whose buildings I frequently visit when having the opportunity. Looking at more contemporary designers, Yves Behar's work interests me a lot as it seems to be very relevant in today's times. And last but not least, Oki Sato and his ability for storytelling, which I believe is truly unique.
Can you share some details about your most recent project?
I'm still very proud of the Dolfi ultrasonic washing machine. Dolfi's innovative technological solution for textile washing will fundamentally change the washing experience for travelers. I was Inspired by the amazing benefits. Thinking of the delicate balance of beautiful aesthetics and mechanical capability, the pebble shape came to life. This shape embodies a certain effortlessness while still showcasing its technological capability through the acceleration and tension of the surface. The pebble, like its inspiration from nature, showcases the consumer a seamless combination of both strength and smooth softness, providing them with the trust of these two aspects in both touch and the washing process. The pebble is timeless in its minimal shape while also linking to modern technology.
Do you have any projects coming up that you are particularly excited about?
I'm currently working on the development of a set of hi-fi speakers that will be paper thin. This is an amazing project that is planned to hit the market beginning of next year. I'm very excited about it as I think it can create a nice buzz in that market.
Walk us through some of your process for creating.
I generally start my creative process with research on either technology or the market segment. This is done very thorough and can take a couple of days. After the knowledge is interiorized I generally start defining the consumer for the product, often creating personas or clients that will use this project. At this stage, you can start sketching and looking for shapes that will be meaningful and communicative to the chosen consumer. I often think of objects that I designed as persons with character, so when I'm designing I am looking always for characteristics that humans would relate to, more humble, more friendly, more lovable, more rational, etc.
Often my sketches are very quick 10 minutes per sketch as I have the tendency to develop my products in my mind and therefore shortly after adding them on to 3D cad. From this moment on it is mostly about design/engineering alterations and creative & critical thinking about the product feasibility.
From this stage, one is more about lateral thinking and out of the box solutions. I also enjoy the phase of edging millimeters out of a product. There is a lot of design quality to be found and gained in this design stage.
Are there any projects (professional or personal) that you are especially proud of?
Last year I have had the opportunity to design a watch for a Dutch brand called Fromanteel. I came across their brand and decided to contact them for a collaboration. The watches were part of a line which wasn't performing optimally in the market segment, so with my market research and final design, they produced a limited edition of only 500 timepieces per design. These sold out quite quickly which is always an exciting moment as you can see that the consumer gravitates to your product.
What tools (physical or digital) do you find yourself using repeatedly?
I like to go online and browse images and articles that I relate to. I add these in a file and often if I'm having a creative struggle I go to this folder for inspiration and unlocking problems. It takes time on a daily basis, but it is a very valuable tool for me.
For sketching, I always revert to my black BIC pen and special sketching paper.
Digitally I have many tools I turn to like Photoshop, Illustrator & Solidworks. It kind of depends on the project which tool I choose.
Do you have a ritual for getting in work mode?
Every morning I do my 30 minutes of internet image & article browsing and 30 minutes of sketching. After that I put some music on, depending on the mood I might go from Alternative Indie to 90s hip hop and or classic rock. If everything fails and I can't get in the mood, I will go for a long walk in the park about 40 minutes. Generally, after that I'm ready to go.
Outside of your professional life, do you have any other creative outlets or hobbies?
Most of the time I have 1 or 2 hobbies running at the same time. Until very recently I had a 1985 Moto Guzzi le mans cafe racer that I spent my time on. More recently I have been working on few old 80's bicycles including a vintage Peugeot and Bianchi for myself and my wife. I do try to ride my bicycle a lot. Besides getting my hands dirty I also like to read sociology or anthropology books as I have a fascination on understanding how people or cultures think and act.
Do you have any tips for getting the most out of your Coroflot portfolio?
My main tip is to showcase good research behind it. In our days of fast... it is easy to fall in the trap of only showing eye-candy in your portfolio. Of course visuals are very important to catch your attention but behind it has to be a good story that can explain in 30 or 60 seconds why it is this certain way and looks like this. This shows good control over your process but also it demonstrates your capacity to understand and explain what you are doing.