Kenyan born designer, Andrew Simeoni, is as passionate as they come. Andrew who is based in Milan takes advantage of his multicultural background and diverse global experience to invent designs that factor in the lifestyle of the mobile, tech savvy and information hungry individual. His designs come across as practical and sensible and are slowly beginning to catch the attention of other industrial designers. 20, a multipurpose stool is one such design. Subtle, ‘clean’ and provocative are how Andrew describes his work and this is one designer who is determined not to go unnoticed.
S: Where did you start studying?
Andrew: When I was in Kenya, I wasn’t exposed to the background of design that I wanted to pursue. I knew I wanted to go study abroad if I was to pursue my ambition. I got frustrated by teachers who weren’t able to direct to where I could study industrial design, so I really had to shop around for myself. This turned out to be a blessing as I was able to take in from all the various countries that I have visited and this has helped my design work.
I started out with what was called the Kunste and Technik method which is the closest thing I could find to product design, though it wasn’t what I was really after. After some time I quit and started shopping around again for something else. I eventually found a university in Malaysia. Fortunately, it was a creative university where I could study industrial design and after completing my studies I stayed on in Malaysia to work for a bit, but the plan was to get to Milan as this is the home of design. So I enrolled for my master’s degree in design here in Milan. I’m now working in a small studio, where I have been for the last year.
S: What forms of design brings you most joy?
Andrew: It is the post-World War 2 designs. I like the style from the Bauhaus school of design. This is appeals to be because it was when people began to look at design as more than just mere craftsmanship. There was more form and function and not just a craft. It has modern clean aesthetics which is what I want to work more in.
S: Tell me, where did the idea of ‘20’ come from?
Andrew: I decided to design stuff during my free time and I was also constantly moving house at this time. The idea for 20 came from the baggage allowance you get when flying and a lot of students and young professionals travel with 20 kilos of their most important stuff in their luggage. So, I started thinking of designs around this concept of being connected, being on the go and being simple and clean. It needed to relate to simplicity with the bare essentials. So, the design had to be light and functional that can move around an apartment easily and be multifunctional. It can be both a seat and table for someone. That is how the 20 stool was born.
S: What’s next for Andrew?
Andrew: I’m trying to find my way. I’m trying to come up with my own line of design. I might take 20 a little further. I also thinking of coming up with lamps, but that is still an idea in progress. In terms of design, I want to take the design as far as it can go especially being where I am from. I believe I have something to say and as young people we can set the trends. I’m young with fresh ideas and I think the world is ready for a shakeup and I want to be there when it happens.