Svilen Gamolov

Professional in Furniture Design.

About Svilen Gamolov

  • Winner of Furniture Design Award.
  • Specialized in Furniture Design.
  • Original Design.
  • Highly Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Furniture
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Exo Chair

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Interview with Svilen Gamolov

Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
When I was a child, I dreamed of becoming an astronaut, then a sea explorer following Jacques Yves Cousteau's example. I wanted to build an underwater city and artificial islands with futuristic buildings. I was born and I live on the Black Sea coast. The atmosphere of life near the sea predisposes to many dreams. When I grew up, I discovered my artistic abilities. With the benefit of hindsight: Yes, I always wanted to be a designer.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
I've been working as a freelance ever since my graduation. I have worked for some time in some Bulgarian and foreign furniture and creative companies. My studio has been operating since 2001. Its main activity is the design of products in the field of product and interior design. It bears my name.
What is "design" for you?
Design is a synthesis of science, technology and art. But it's not just that. There is something beyond. It is passion, way of life, commitment.
What kinds of works do you like designing most?
I like to work on any type of product and interior design. But the most ideas I generate in the field of furniture design.
What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
Each following. While I'm working on something new, I put all of my energy. But when a project is over, I immediately begin to think of the next one. So I never get attached to the product of my work and I remain critical to myself.
What was the first thing you designed for a company?
My first projects were bathroom furniture series on behalf of a Bulgarian furniture company.
What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
For me materials and technology are not all-important, they are only tools, an extra brush to create my project. Of course, I am interested in every new technology, every achievement of humanity that expands the mindset. But if I have to list my favorite materials, they are wood metal and composites.
When do you feel the most creative?
Every time and place are suitable for creativity. The moments in which I am really very tired are excluded. The hours of ideas are the pictures of life in which a whole story is gathered. And they are at all times and on every corner. However, the night and the morning are my muses.
Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
When I work on a project, the idea usually comes to my mind along with my constructive and technological solutions. After determining the lead design, I spend maximum time on the construction details.
What makes a design successful?
We designers express ourselves with our work, but we work for the people. In addition to all the purely functional and technical features that a good design must possess, it must also carry a message supported by positive emotion. Only then is not only a good but successful design. Generally speaking, when people see it, they should want it.
When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
The most important aspects of a design are shape and function. That is why I first appreciate their connectivity. Good design is one that contains a balance of both factors.
From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
The responsibility is great. The design pushes forward the development of the industrial society. And this also affects the environment. Design has to offer effective solutions for finding a balance between aesthetics, production and a sustainable environment.
How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
This is a nice and complicated question to answer. I recently won the Top 100 in Design Intelligence Award in Hangzhou, China. This award is part of the design week in Hangzhou. Academic seminars on the development and future of design were also held as part of the event. A world trend is observed to merge many specialties and new ones, unthinkable until now, to appear. In the future, designers of artificial human tissues and organs, as well as those who will work on integrating the human body with artificial intelligence and various mechanical attachments, are expected to appear. The process is under way some time ago. But I would not want the future of design to be just the future of integration with artificial intelligence and technology. I hope that the world will be a place where man and his intellect will remain the main driving factors.
When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
My last exhibition was with friends and colleagues from Bulgarian design group Cherga at Salone Satellite in Milan, 2017. I would like to expose my stuff all over the world so the list is long for a short answer.
Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
The inspiration for my work comes to me from everywhere. I always observe the surrounding world analytically. Let the world to influence and conquer me I can be inspired by everything around me, but I can close my eyes and get thousands of ideas.
How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
I do not put my ideas into a stylistic framework. I work equally well with soft and hard form factors. In fact, I never chase a suggestion of a certain style. And if I have one, it is a broad smile of optimism. My only goal is what I do to reach those for whom it is intended.
Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
I live and work in Varna, Bulgaria – the perfect place to create. Varna is a wonderful city with an ancient history, located on the Black Sea coast. The oldest gold treasure in the world was discovered here, as well as the remains of one of the most ancient civilizations on the continent. According to official historical data, Bulgaria is the oldest country in Europe. It is a direct successor of ancient Thrace. The civilization and territory stretched from the Russian steppes, to the island of Crete and ancient Egypt. Orpheus was born in the Rhodope Mountains in Bulgaria. We gave to the world the Cyrillic alphabet, created by the Holy Brothers Cyril and Methodius. People living on the one third of the planet are writing on this alphabet and are speaking very similar to our original language. This is part of the legacy of our past, which our little country can rightly be proud of. I hope there is still much to give to the world. Such as a unique Bulgarian design with a nature of its own.
How do you work with companies?
This is a very personal experience every time. People know others in the process of work. And often the personal relationship between them directly affects the results of the common work. At first there is always a period of careful waiting, exploration and mistrust. I almost always face this factor. Therefore, from the beginning, I try to express my ideas in clear and accessible language, by remaining open to the experience and the professionalism of the other side. Mutual respect and discussion are the better ways to achieve a positive result than the attempt to impose own opinion. It is important for a person to be ready to learn and to admit that he does not know and can not know everything. It's a teamwork. The process of manufacturing a product is long, and if there is no team based on trust and cooperation, nothing happens. And when the result is good, we all experience endless joy and pride of our work. We have a common goal and we have achieved it. This leaves us friends and associates forever.
What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
It would be good the companies to realize that design is a complicated creative process. In that context, when assigning a job, it is advisable to provide the designer with the necessary time to offer several solutions. It is important for the companies to select experience, rich portfolio and creative potential, but it would be good if young designers is given a chance.
Can you talk a little about your design process?
At first, I always get familiar with the subject and the topic of work. Then I sketch a lot of ideas and make a selection of the best ones. That's how it all starts. And it goes on with many hours in front of the computer. When it comes to a prototype, expert work starts before putting the product into production. This part is always the most interesting because we are to see the result of an idea that was only in our imagination.
What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
I do not have many designer items at home, except one sofa of my design. Generally, I try to keep my home environment clean of visual noise.
Can you describe a day in your life?
My day begins with a cup of strong and aromatic coffee. Then I record the first ideas, came to my mind. Everything else is arranged in a daily work schedule. The evening is a time to relax at home or outside with my beloved woman. Sometimes we go out with friends. We live by the sea and the atmosphere is wonderful.
Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
I am not a guru to give advice to anyone. I can only talk about my experience and the lessons learned from it. In this profession, as in any other, success is only an intermediate indication of the accumulated and applied knowledge. It takes a lot of work not only talent. It also requires a lot of self-discipline, as well as deprivation of the suffocating Ego. If at some point someone decides to be flattered by applauses, he can easily lose ground under his feet and imagine he has achieved everything. And that's not true. Life is a constant development, often obstructed by temptations. Temptations such as glory, recognition, and financial success may prove to be the most difficult to overcome barriers. For a designer to continue to develop, it is first and foremost to remain modest, responsible and critical to himself. There are no easy roads and short paths. Everything valuable in this world is such because it is difficult to be achieved.
From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
I love my work, so only positives come from such perspective (too many to be listed).
What is your "golden rule" in design?
Watch and assimilate (to understand and remember new information and make it part of your basic knowledge so that you can use it as your own).
What skills are most important for a designer?
The most important skill is to think as a designer. All other technical and software skills are just tools for implementation of ideas. If there is thinking, a pencil and a piece of paper are enough.
Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
I admit that on occasions may be very difficult when I am pressed with too many tasks. That is why I'm trying to prioritize my work and I'm getting more and more careful with the tasks I undertake. To create something really good, it takes time.
How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
There is no precise answer because each ‘’object’’ is different and the time depends on the amount of work to be done. Sometimes, apparently simple tasks take unexpectedly a lot of time for research and development. So the time may vary from week to one or more months.
What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
If we talk about an interview, it is definitely the question: What inspires you? It is very complicated to answer such question because inspiration, if can be formulated, does not really like to explain its appearance. When it comes to customers, there are many questions. The most common questions include financial and time parameters.
What was your most important job experience?
Perhaps the design collaboration we have with the studio Karim Kreate by Karim Rashid in Shenzhen, China. Working in a dynamic environment in an international company provides invaluable experience and is a good basis for personal and professional development.
Who are some of your clients?
They are mainly Bulgarian companies in the field of furniture production and consumer goods. These are companies such as Aksaga, Grudev style, VOK, Sofa-Lab, Cangaroo, Moni Trade, etc. We also work well with Karim Rashid's studio in Shenzhen, China.
What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
I am a productive designer and I usually work on many themes at the same time. But I have particular preferences for furniture design. Ideas are coming to my mind every day and I hurry to sketch them. Sometimes I organize days of creativity when I give myself to personal nirvana, turn off telephones, go to the seashore and draw ideas all day long.
What are your future plans? What is next for you?
My future plans include plenty of new concepts and new developments for Bulgarian and foreign companies, participations in international design competitions, teaching work. I want to start production of three of my models by the end of this year. I am about to prepare for the next edition of the A 'Design Awards and two other world competitions.
Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
I work in both ways. Most often I start the basic parameters of the project on my own and then I cooperate with numerous subcontractors and technical teams.
Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
I am currently developing a new series of upholstered furniture for the Bulgarian furniture company Aksaga. I am also working on new products for children for the Bulgarian company Cangaroo, specialized in this production.
How can people contact you?
They can contact me via my webpage: www.gamolov.com and the social networks.
Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
I can send a message to all admirers of design: World of tomorrow will be more exciting and unusual than ever. We, designers around the world, are working to make it happen. Thank You.

Extended Interview with Svilen Gamolov

Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
In 1989 I graduated the National High School of Plastic Arts and Design "Academician Dechko Uzunov", Kazanlak with a profile "Industrial Design". In 1995 I graduated the National Academy of Arts, Sofia - profile: "Industrial Design". I have also a specialization in Norway with a profile "Interior design" during the period 1991-1992.
What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
It is complicated to explain what motivates me. For me to design is as natural as breathing, i.e. is something you do not think about but do because it is a part of you. It follows that design chose me.
Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
It was, of course, my choice. Since childhood, I create objects from all sorts of things. I am grateful to my parents for their support and encouragement.
What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
At the moment I am focused on designing furniture and some products for children. As an industrial designer, I can equally work on designing different products. I also do well with interior design. Most of my projects in recent years are in the field of furniture design.
What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
To work hard. Hard work is that essential quality, which will boost the talent and give progressive results.
What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
A good designer knows the established standards and applies them well. A great designer goes beyond that and creates new “solutions” that become new “standards".
What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
Good design performs well its purpose, really good design changes the way of thinking of the whole society.
What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
Good design has the ability to change the way we live. To invest in good design is a natural process as we invest in a better life.
What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
I find time for my projects, no matter how busy I am. My consciousness always works on several levels. One of them is busy with projects for my personal archive. The projects are different and are from architectural concepts to furniture projects.
What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
Careful observation of the surrounding world, synthesis and application of the acquired knowledge and as final - adding a drop of "creative madness".
Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
Antoni Gaudi, James Dyson, Charles and Ray Eames, Frank Lloyd Wright, Dieter Rams, Marc Newson, Tom Dixon, Ron Arad, Luigi Colani, Naoto Fukasawa and many more.
What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
Marc Newson's Еmbryo chair for me is a "game changer" in the furniture form factor for its time. The same with almost every masterpiece of the Luigi Colani's automotive designs. The effects of such kind of "time shifts" are still tangible today.
What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
I think it’s Zogo Sofa, created in 2016 and exhibited in Milan, 2017. It is an elegant and very comfortable sofa. It is sporty and luxurious. This sofa should not only be seen, but to be felt.
How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
Even if we have a talent, we must work hard and with perseverance to justify this gift. Muse is not а lazy designer's friend. To develop a talent is necessary perseverance and endless self-improvement. In this context, I develop every day as a designer.
How do you define design, what is design for you?
Design is a synthesis of science, technology and art. Everything starts with the application of the exact function of the objects, determination of the appropriate construction and technology. The outer form is only a complete expression of all this.
Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
My friends and colleagues, a big part of the Bulgarian design community, my family.
What helped you to become a great designer?
The sea is my inspiration, strength and my secret creative weapon.
What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?
In the beginning of my career was the lack of experience. But I was able to use every obstacle and lack of experience or knowledge in my favor. Тhis is exactly what made me learn more and overcome each difficulty with greater willingness. Creativity is boundless freedom based on the pursuit of knowledge.
What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
I never work only in one project. Soon I will present new series of innovative kitchens, chairs and upholstered furniture, some innovative baby strollers, products for kids and many more.
What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
I believe that my role as a designer is to affect people so to see the beauty and elegance of the world, to be better and to live better. This is my main message and goal.
How does design help create a better society?
Design is not just creating beautiful things, but responsibilities, which are concerned not only with the education of good aesthetic taste. Design is part of the vision of tomorrow's world that is being created today. I think it's very important to realize that you are part of what the world will be in 50 or 100 years or even more. An idea may be so ahead of its time and to completely change the direction of development of the industry, the whole of society and its culture. Such ideas appear rare in history and are extremely important. An example is the invention of the wheel in ancient times. Very complicated is the answer to the question whether such an idea would change the world to better or to worse.
What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
I'm currently working on some of my personal designs for chairs and upholstered furniture. It can be said that every day for me is crazy and beautiful with regard to ideas. So nothing different from usual is happening to me. Which makes me constantly smiling.
Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
All my projects are created with passion. But I attach the greatest importance to projects, made me learn something new. Such project now is the creation of new products for children.
What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
I would be glad to see a closer connection between the training in the schools and the real problems of production, technology and the needs of the society for which the products are ultimately intended. I would also love to see a more open industry confidence environment for young professionals. Because they need a job in which to put their knowledge and acquire new ones. It would be great if more governments around the world set in their priorities a program for development, support and promotion of design as an appropriate instrument for the development of its own economy and culture.
Where do you think the design field is headed next?
The fast development of 3D printing and other advanced technologies connected with the artificial intelligence will lead to a radical change in the design and production fields.
When you have a new design project, where do you start?
I start sketching, then I select the best idea. And that's the beginning of the long way to the end product that follow.
What is the role of technology when you design?
Technology has the most important role in developing of any idea.
What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
I start everything from a number of sketches. For this purpose, I always have my tablet with me or enough sheets of paper. Then I turn the ideas into 3D models and drawings using a variety of design tools.
What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
They are, of course, of great importance. I would say that there is no design without material and material without color. Even fully transparent materials have a color refractive index. Materials and colors reflect the environment as well as the environment reflects them. In order for a harmonious environment to exist, design objects should fit into it or, if not, they can serve as a focus or focal point. Building a composition is a matter of choice. All these elements are inseparable from each other.
What do you wish people to ask about your design?
I don’t want people to ask about my design, but to use it. When there are no questions, I know my work is done well.
Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
Talented, honest and self-efficient. Yes, the benefit of co – design is the generation of better ideas with a high degree of originality and user value.
Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?
I can not name certain people. But if I still have to mention someone, then these are some friends and colleagues, as well as my clients in my everyday work.
Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
Unfortunately, I do not have much time to read books lately. I read mainly technical literature, social and economic analysis. Up to 20 years old I have read almost every science-fiction book available in bookstores. Then the only thing I was interested in was news about design and technology, books on ergonomics, anatomy and psychology. I miss those long, sunny and idle days with a book in my hand. A book I do not let go until I read the last line. Marquez's " One Hundred Years of Solitude " charmed and confused me, but I could not get away from the pages. My imagination was obsessed by Umberto Eco's "The Name of the Rose". I can reread the "Little Prince" by Exupery every Sunday night all my life. Bulgakov's "The Master and Margarita" has a special place in my soul. The list is long. The works of Jules Verne, Ray Bradbury, Henrik Senkevich, The Strugatsky brothers, Nikolay Raynov, Pavel Vezhinov and others fueled my imagination as a child.
How did you develop your skills as a master designer?
There is no secret in this. I just do not stop working. The best rest for me is when I invent something new.
Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?
Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Nikola Tesla, Isaac Newton, Pythagoras, Socrates, Aristotle, Jimmy Hendrix, Ernest Hemingway and so many more.
What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
It is difficult to describe the experience of inspiration. Burst of creativity comes out in different situations. The way ideas occur to me is similar to magic. It's an adventure, filled with healthy doses of adrenaline. It is a process of impressions accumulation, analysis and synthesis of unconscious and conscious images and shapes as well. It is a result of the constant mind effort to find solutions. As a matter of fact, the more an artist creates, the more ideas come to him.
When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
Thank you for this definition, but I think still I have a lot to do. If we talk about my childhood, my parents suspected something like this. But I was not sure. So I turned every toy into a pile of parts, from which I assembled new machines, electrical devices and even functioning weapons (to my mother's horror).
What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
In 1,000 years we'll probably live on Mars, the Moon, or maybe even in another planets beyond the solar system. I don't believe in the Apocalyptic scenario for the human race. In time we grow older, we grow wiser, smarter and stronger.

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