Jorge Diego Etienne is a young industrial designer that graduated with force from ‘Tec de Monterrey’ in 2009, in the north of Mexico. Jorge’s academic experiences go way beyond the boundaries of his native Mexico having also studies at: Central St. Martins, Domus Academy and Parsons.
In the industry, Jorge has been involved in projects with well respected international companies such as: Alessi, Vitra, Whirlpool, Nokia and Cemex.
HIGHER POETICS takes a dive into the world of this young successful industrial designer and presents this exclusive interview.
HP: How and when did you decide to be an Industrial Designer?
JDE: I grew up in a “creative” environment; both of my parents run a graphic/editorial design business at my hometown of Tampico. Since very young I was involved in the family business, but when the time came to pick a career, I thought this kind of design “limited” my creativity. Thanks to a friend I found Industrial Design, and after looking into it, I was sure it was the path to take.
HP: Which are the three words that best define your style?
JDE: Story-telling, surprising and honesty.
HP: What drives you? What do you aim to achieve?
JDE: I’m driven by the challenges each project presents. I always aim at creating “good” products through design that can make people’s life better… or more fun.
HP: Where would you say that your main focus is currently?
JDE: I am currently working on an office furniture project for a company in Monterrey where we are striving to break the mould of what office furniture is in Mexico. Instead of growing with the flow of what has been around for years, we did research and developed concepts that propose a different work environment; more open and home-feeling.
After creating a piece for the exhibition “Identidad y Dialogo de Diseño en Mexico” for the Galería ADN during the Mexico Design Week, I am currently producing it as a limited edition. The Mesas Arcanas are a very challenging design, so I have to be very close to its manufacturing to assure the best results.
HP: What are your most outstanding projects?
JDE: I think every project stands out in a different way, but I can say that “Choose your Bullets” has gained its own merit. In only 6 months this project came from concept to selling in design stores in Mexico like the Galería Mexicana de Diseño and the Museo Modo, and other online stores in Japan and the United States. It also proved to me other business models since this project is manufactured and distributed by myself.
Designaholic is a side project I’ve been running for almost 3 years. This Spanish-speaking design blog deals with what I call “my design addiction” and is focused on spreading design culture inside Mexico and out of it. With Designaholic I’ve visited and blogged about the best national and international design events like the Milan furniture fair and is on constant growth, being read by thousands of design addicts each month.
HP: In what way have the internet and the new media affected the way in which you work?
JDE: It hasn’t really “Affected” the way I work. I consider it an important tool for work mobility; connecting suppliers and distributers all over the world. Online blogs also play an important role on my work exposure; a good example is how stores from all over the world started inquiring about my “Choose your Bullets” design after reading about it in an important blog. Today, these stores are now the biggest outlet my products have.
HP: In your opinion, which are the key qualities that an Industrial Designer must have to succeed in the business?
JDE: Perseverance. I think success is gradual and you always have to be thinking of the next big design and getting better on each project. Good relationship with your clients is also a key, since most of your work is a true cooperation of ideas and manufacturing. I also consider very important to believe in yourself and invest in your ideas. Today’s self-finance project might be tomorrows’ big seller, so you can’t just wait for clients to come, you also have to be ready to propose, implement, and create your own opportunities.
HP: How is the competition nowadays?
JDE: In this first year as an independent designer, I’ve found more competition in breaking what’s been established for years in Mexican companies and finding the right places to distribute my work, than in other designers. Mexican designers are actually joining forces with curators, galleries and stores to promote and sell their work in and outside of Mexico. It’s a great community to be part of.
HP: What do you think about Philippe Starck?
JDE: He is the greatest storyteller of our times and an amazing business person that has accomplished creating a successful brand from his name.
HP: Who is your favorite Industrial Designer?
JDE: I am more inclined to the “rational” designers like Konstantin Grcic, Jasper Morrison, Naoto Fukasawa, and the Bouroullec brothers.
HP: How is a typical day for you?
JDE: I wake up early, read and catch up with news and blogs (not specifically design) and begin working on my projects around 9. From then on it always differs; sometimes I am stuck to the computer modeling, rendering or doing more administrative stuff, other times I’m out at the workshops supervising the production of my projects, and other times, the most funny days, I’m conceptualizing, experimenting and simply “designing” through different media at my studio.
HP: Which are your plans for the future?
JDE: I will be going to Japan next month for an 8 months fellowship program where I will develop a personal project. After that I will be going back to Monterrey to continue with my studio… Exciting times.