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Interview with Vidar Pedersen – CEO at SNØ* Design Studio.

 

An interview with SNØ* Design Company‘s CEO Vidar Pedersen.

click on the images below to enlarge.

 

Based in Fredrikstadt (Norway), SNØ* is a design company with a beautiful history and legacy to it. From Råde Verktøy AS – a Moulding and Casting company in 1968 to Present Year SNØ Design company, it has been quiet a journey & Vidar Pedersen has been a witness to it.

Today we get to know about SNØ – it’s origins, it’s operations, the team, the vision, what makes this name unique & everything else that we should know about this company.

We also would like to thank Snø team member & designer Marita Koppang for her assistance in making this interview possible.

Hello Mr. Pedersen,

Can you please tell us a bit about your background ?

I was born and raised in a tooling workshop founded by my father. His company specialized in making tools for plastic injection mould and alloy casting. The common discussion subject at the dinner table was mould terminology; sprues, runners and draft angles.

As I grew up the tooling industry and everything with it became a part of my everyday life. Later on, when my father retired, I took over the business. Over time I have evolved the business and shifted focus to product design. Today Snø design studio is a reflection of many years of hard work, and I am very proud of what we have achieved so far.

Why design, why become a designer ?

 

Since I was a child I have always loved to explore objects and things around me. I am always on the lookout for great design and things to improve. There are no boundaries to what you can do – that’s what I love about design.

– What makes SNØ* unique ?

 

Snø is a design studio with a full range production knowledge. We have a long experience working with tooling and manufacturing, and are able to provide a holistic service from the first idea to manufacturing. We provide the whole process, and design specific with the end product in mind. Instead of handing over any technical drawings of the product to a manufacturer or engineer, we are able to draw the production tools ourselves. This does not only cut costs, but is a more efficient way of working since we eliminate any additional links. Besides that, we have a team that combines multiple unique designers with different competencies in a great way.

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The SNØ* team.

What is your definition of “Good design” & what is its essential elements ?

 

Design is really context driven. Our clients are always performance oriented. Good design is actually good performance in a product. This is the point where context is presented. Performance of what? Mechanical performance, aesthetic performance, or performance of problem solving.

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How would you describe your approach to design ?

 

My approach to design has very much to do with my clients requirements. As an Industrial design company you have to ideally deliver beyond what the client expects, and you have to stay on budget. My job is to find the balance between these contradicting factors. We always try to make progress, so we shoot straight for the goal. Meaning, there will always be rounds of iterations in the process by trial and error. Fail fast, as they say.

 The AV1(Know all)

According to you, what is that one most essential skill that a designer should have ?

 

The one essential skill that I think a designer should have is humbleness. This is perhaps more of a quality or trait, but I think it’s very important. There is always someone else that knows something you don’t, and by taking advantage of each other’s skills and collaborating you have the possibility to really make something extraordinary. If you are humble and dedicated, you can reach as far as you wish to.

The AV1. (Know all)

The AV1.


How educated and interested, would you say, is Norway as a country in the discipline of design ?

In a historic perspective Norway has not been well known for great design. Though we have had some great and influential designers, there has not been any greatly known on an international level, compared to Danish Arne Jacobsen for instance. I would say the interest in design is quite big and growing in Norway. From the late 90´s there are several designers who have contributed to put Norway on the design map. I think Norwegian design discipline will meet a new dawn, coming out of the shadow of the petroleum industry over the next years.

What is your definition of Scandinavian Design? And how has SNØ used this language in it’s projects?

One of the key features of scandinavian design is of course the use of natural materials such as wood. The language is inherited from craftsmanship and focus on quality and the sense of detail. It should be simple, elegant and above all functional. In the recent years the language has reached a more international level, receiving new inputs. I think one of the strong points is the quality of the design i.e Form and aesthetics, and how this has evolved.

 At Snø our projects are driven by the customers requirements. As our product domain ranges from several different products, it is hard to pinpoint a certain scandinavian language that we use. But one thing is certain, we are dead serious about quality and driving our expectations forward.

click on the images below to enlarge.

Awards and accolades have a way of affecting a person’s or a group’s performance and most importantly their Views and perspective. SNØ has been a recipient of several of such awards. How do they affect your work ?

 

The political answer is that the real prize is designing the most valuable product for the customer, you should not design for an award, you should design for the user.

The correct answer is that it is damn fun winning an award. It is awarding then you know how much work you have put into the project. It is great to showcase your work and get honorable mentions. As you get attention on your performance as a designer, you become very self aware.

Click on the Image to get the Sno* One Pager

SNØ has been around, worked on several projects and has collaborated with big names like Adidas, Hermann, Monster et cetera. So, how does this Experience affect & add to your work ?

 

It’s a great privilege working with big brands, and we are happy for the opportunities it has given Snø. At the same time, we believe that no customer is too big or too small, and as long as we believe in the project, it doesn’t matter.

 

You have a Product Patent to your name – called the The FreeBit(TM) Concept. Can you tell us more about it ?

 

This concept is an in-ear C-shape interface that utilizes the anatomical details of the human ear to provide a secure and comfortable fit. The C-shape fits everybody just like an ear mould and stays in place during any kind of movements, and is a result of 3D scannings of over 2,000 different ears.

 

Your Responsibilities –

1. As the head of this Design Studio 2. To your Clients & 3. To the Consumers and users of your products.

  1. To run and build the company, with a complimentary team of designers.

  2. Meet the clients demand and strive to overgo their expectations.

  3. Making useful products with the best intentions.

Snø Designstudio. Vidar Pedersen & Camilla Simonsen.

Is there something that you think Design Schools or the Education is lacking in ?

I’m thinking there is a gap between real life experience and academic experience in the education. It is important with internship, so the student may experience how the design process works “out in the field”. The factor of limited time in each project could easily have been applied in the education to practice the urgency you meet when you are a design consultant. It is important to maintain the budget.

click on the sketches below to enlarge.

Do you think that the definition of Design has changed in these recent years ?

Design has become an “it” word. Everybody is doing design, design this, design that. On a holistic approach you may say the definition of design has become more transparent. Everybody is doing design, it now boils down to what is good and what is poor design. With the rise of new technology such as 3D printers and affordable CAD software anyone may become a hobby based designer, or a Tinker. You could say design is becoming more democratic in a way. Still, it takes education, practice and skill to become a great designer.

An advice that You would give to all the aspiring Designers out there ?

 

First of all become committed to you study. Dedication is one of the key factors. Immerse yourself in the world of design, stay curious. Another factor that designers often seems to forget in the process. Have fun. Being creative is much more easy if you are having fun. Try to get out of your comfort zone. Meaning, try to bring the design up to the next level. A good indicator of this is by surprising yourself through your work.

designdaily.. would like to thank Mr. Pedersen for this Interview and Sharing his views with all of us.

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