He belongs to the generation of aspiring, internationally active product designers and, as a native Belgian, still has a great connection with Austria: Audiodata designer Stan Maes talks about his career, the personal design philosophy and the challenge of creating products whose main task it is to sound good.
Mr Maes, you can look back on an impressive, international career. What has characterised your work as a product designer up to now?
I always considered internationality to be important. From workshops in France and Sweden, practicum in Paris and Ulm, I finally landed in Austria and have stayed here for ten years. Clearly, this has been my most important occupational stage. I was able to acquire an enormous amount of experience here. Then, there was a point where I wanted to share my knowledge with a new generation of designers. When I was offered the position as division manager of product design training in Belgium, it was the decisive factor for returning to my home country. Parallel to this, I also went into business for myself. This resulted in more and more orders, forcing me to leave the University of Applied Sciences after three years. Now, I am 100 percent dedicated to my own products.
You have been internationally successful as designer for more than 15 years. Will you tell me your secret to success?
It is the holistic approach, which is promising. At the beginning of any cooperation, I try to define the playing field with the customer based on as many parameters as possible: competition, customer and consumer, past and future, technology and marketing. Once a clear direction is established, one can begin to produce a draft. From this moment on, facts are joined by emotions. It is very important to me that each product emanates elegance and dynamics. Where purists insist on “less is more”, I tend towards “less is bore”- however all within the parameter established together with the customer.
What is the attraction for you to design the new speakers of Audiodata?
Even ten years ago, Audiodata has produced the best speakers. However, the competition has become tougher since then. Today, the challenge is to also play in the first league in matters of design. It is our objective to distinguish ourselves with our own product language with recognition value and to successfully position Audiodata in the market in the long term.
Stan Maes, 40, is a native Belgian citizen and multi-award-winning product designer. Following positions throughout all of Europe, he worked for the Austrian company Kiska for ten years. This was followed by a position as lecturer at MAD Faculty in Limburg. Today, Maes is working as a freelance product designer in Belgium. www.stanmaesproductdesign.com