This is the latest installment of our Core77 Questionnaire. Previously, we talked to the Belgian designer Sylvain Willenz.
Name: Moritz Waldemeyer
Current projects: We've just delivered two really big ones. We've done a big chandelier in a new hotel in Davos, Switzerland. And then in Milan, there's a department store called La Rinascente; it's a beautiful historic building right next to the Dome, and we did the whole front of that for Christmas.
Mission: To create a new aesthetic with and for technology. It's bringing together these two different disciplines—the arts and technology—that in the past didn't really match up. They used to be very separate, but now it's interesting to see how they're merging in the world. And I'm trying to help with this merger.
When did you decide that you wanted to be a designer? It's almost as if it chose me rather than the other way around—as if there was a gravitational pull in that direction. There was never one moment when I decided, "Oh, I'm going to be a designer." It was a gradual trajectory.
Education: First I went to study international business. Then I changed to engineering. I did mechatronics—mechanical and electronic engineering—at Kings College, in London. After I graduated from engineering, that's when this design path started, which pulled me into the more creative disciplines. But I'm very happy about this engineering base, because it's just such a good foundation to build on.
First design job: I started out working as a research scientist—at least, that was my job title—at Philips. I was working in a very forward-looking area where they brought together a lot of different disciplines. That was the first time that I worked in this intersection between technology and design.
Who is your design hero? Maybe Leonardo Da Vinci, because he was one of those first multi-curious people who really can't be labeled. He would just look at anything that was out there, and it was all like one big art to him. I think he must be the ultimate hero in that respect.
Above and below: Revolution, a lighting installation for the Wallpaper* Handmade exhibition in London last October
Describe your workspace: At the moment it's mostly boxes. I'm just moving into a new studio near Ladbroke Grove in London, which is an area where there are lots of small creative businesses. We're going to have a loft space there.
At the studio, most of our work is happening on computers, so everybody's got their MacBook in front of them. But we also have a small area where we do electronics prototyping, so we can actually make quite advanced electronics in the studio. And when it comes to bigger and more mechanical things, then we normally go to others—because it's not really worthwhile to keep a large workshop in London; it's too expensive.
Other than the computer, what is your most important tool? The camera. Because, in the end, all of the projects live through photography. It's almost as if, in essence, I'm a photographer and everything else is just preparation to create that image.
What is the best part of your job? Its diversity—meeting interesting people, working in interesting locations and just constant change
What is the worst part of your job? There are two worst parts, I think. One is just the daily grind of keeping a company going, with all of the worries and the cash flow and the accountants and everything. And the other part is, when we make big installations, normally what happens is that you create some component and then you have to multiply it by, like, a thousand. And then you have to deal with a thousand of these things, and they have to be put together, and there's always a point where you get real low. You think, "Oh my god, here I am again, having to assemble this bloody thing. Why on earth did I design it like that?"
What time do you get up and go to bed? I get up at 7:00 and I go to bed usually at midnight.
How do you procrastinate? Web surfing. It's a great thing and a terrible thing at the same time. You do get a lot of inspiration from it, but you also waste a lot of time.
What is your favorite productivity tip or trick? There's an interesting piece of software that we've started to use for rendering called KeyShot. It's the one software I came across that gives you instant gratification, where all the other alternatives are such a massive pain in the backside to use. If you try to render in 3ds Max or something like that, you almost have to have a university degree before you get anything interesting out of it. Whereas with KeyShot, you dump in the model and it takes a couple of minutes and all of the sudden it starts looking really amazing on screen.
What is the most important quality in a designer? Common sense. If you can't think logically then you might as well not even start. Everything else derives from that in one way or another.
What is the most widespread misunderstanding about design or designers? I'm not sure. How are designers perceived? It's difficult because once you work in this world and everybody around you is a designer, you almost don't know any other way. So I don't really know how to answer that.
A chandelier for Audi's stand at the 2013 IAA motor show in Frankfurt An LED costume created by Waldemeyer for an Audi press event in Geneva last year
What is your most prized design possession? I've just picked up a car that I quite like. It's a 2002 BMW M3. I like the idea of it, because it's the classic layout. The whole motor industry seems to be moving toward this front-wheel drive layout; even BMW is giving in now. So this car seems to be one of the last of its breed.
What is exciting you in design right now? The whole thing about parametric design. Unfortunately, it has a crazily steep learning curve, but the possibilities are absolutely incredible. We're trying to make more and more use of it in the studio, because it really pushes the envelope of what you can do with computer-aided design. It's a total revolution, I think. It will change the way the world looks, and it will change the way that we make things, completely.
If you could redesign anything, what would you choose? I would design a car. It's one of my pet passions. I find it hard to find anything out there in the market to get excited about. I hate the whole way that industry is moving, toward more complexity and more uniformity. It's really dull. So I'd love to design a car—not just the styling of it, but everything about it, from the engineering up.
What do you hope to be doing in ten years? I hope to be working on even larger scales. I'd love to get involved in some architectural projects. That would be a dream for me.
Lastly, who's more fun to have a drink with: architects, industrial designers or graphic designers? I mostly know industrial designers, and I think they're a really good, fun bunch. Because we all enjoy to coexist in a way; there isn't too much competition going on. It's a very pleasant industry to work in.