Elham Mirzapour holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Design from the ID Faculty of I. Art University of Tabriz/ Iran. She is also an amateur astronomer. Mirzapour has worked in some interior design studios, creating designed styles and products. She is the Head of Design at Arena Design Studio and believes in good design, defining its purity, simplicity and emotional design by usability and aesthetics. Elham is also the International Design Awards 2017 Emerging Product Designer of the Year with BlackHoleHood, a kitchen air cleaner with a lot of symbology behind it. In conversation with us, Elham Mirzapour tells us all about her life, passions, and the creative process behind her project.
How did you first discover your passion for Design?
From my childhood till today, I have experienced various fields of art such as painting and photography. I have always welcomed various experiences. Design has a lot of diversity and success requires a variety of experiences. Different experiences made me more interested in design. Design means to create and I love creating, therefore I love design.
Being born and raised in Iran, how do you think the Iranian mentality influences your work?
People from every country can influence the work of the designer through factors such as culture, economy, historical background, social relationships, tastes, collective wisdom, and so on. But the main thing is what the designer wants from his work. The main question is “what is the designer’s purpose?” If the designer wants to design for the economy, one should be aware of the country’s economic situation. If one wants to design a culture, one must obey the culture of the country. So, in this way, the priorities are the designer’s path.
Personally, I try to design for an equal world, a world without borders and without differences, with culture and language and unit identity, for humanity. So, in my design, I have no Iranian mentality and, in fact, I have no national mentality. I think without borders and I design without any cultural constraints. For example, in designing this BlackHole hood, you see that the boundary of design has exceeded the culture and mentality of a nation. This hood is inspired by space factors, not a specific national culture or mentality.
Your winning project, the BlackHoleHood, was inspired by cosmic phenomena like the black hole and the wormhole. Can you explain this?
Regardless of the functionality of the product, which, due to its long cylindrical shape, facilitates suction in the island’s kitchens, its concept is inspired by the black hole and wormhole. I always wanted to convey the concept and sense of power and suction to the user. The black hole is the best way to induce this feeling. The concept of a black hole means the suction and absorption of everything around itself, even light (which is why it is black because the light can’t escape) and the concept of a wormhole, that is, the transfer of these absorptions from here to another place. Actually, this is the same concept that matches my range hood. It absorbs the smoke and smell from the kitchen and takes it out of the house.
What do you think are the main strengths of the product and why do you think it deserved to win?
Here are some points that have been given special attention in this design:
- This product is inspired by the concept of black holes and wormholes and is designed in accordance with its function.
- Its beautiful, emotional and modern form.
- Fits modern kitchens by simplifying the form of the black hole concept.
- Forms difference with similar examples.
- Uses high technology in design, such as touch buttons, filters and suction engines.
- Fits the product for island kitchens.
Regarding the sensitivities that I always have in design, I always try to focus on all the points in design and spend time on each one, regardless of the degree of importance. So the products I design (like the BlackHoleHood) are as complete and perfect as possible and meet the needs of users.
What does the IDA Award mean to you, and how has it helped your career?
First of all, getting this award gives me pride, happiness and satisfaction. This award gives credit to my work and gives it global visibility. It helps my talents and abilities be introduced to the world and paves the way for my future progress. Communication is important in today’s world, and this award has given me a lot of opportunities to communicate my vision.
Where do you get motivation and inspiration from in your work? How do you decide to take on certain projects?
Creating value! I love creating and I love any change. When a project is offered to me, I first examine to what extent is the project conservative. Does this project allow me to release? I always try to look at the design from different perspectives and I’m sensitive to each detail. During a project, it’s very important to investigate the problems ahead and the needs of users and attempt to solve the problem, and because I believe that there is always a solution for every problem, I always enjoy these steps and have good ideas for answering the problems I find. Ultimately, what makes me happy with my design is the end result, creating value. At the end of each design, I have designed a new product and it’s like giving birth to a baby for me, a sense of beauty and hope.
What do you think are the biggest challenges and opportunities in your career now?
In my opinion, the most important challenge now is the introduction of my work globally. I think a good introduction makes good job opportunities.
What are you working on now? What is in the pipeline for you?
I’m designing at the Arena Design Studio, where we are engaged in designing services and products, and where we are teaching design to students in various fields of design. My wish is to create a better world in both design and education. Design should improve the future. I wish that, through my career, I would be able to help people and the environment and create a better world.