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New Designers 2021: Meet Arun Kirwin-Singh

Arun Kirwin-Singh was shortlisted for New Designers 2021, presenting his innovative InsulTech Bottle for the prestigious award. Among many products designed by Kirwin-Singh, the bottle seeks to solve an everyday need for the modern consumer; read more about his thought processes and motivations below.

1. Congratulations on being shortlisted for The Conran Shop and The Marandi Foundation's Designer of the Future Award 2021; how do you feel, and what does this award mean for your future and practice?

I’m truly glad to have been considered for this very special award. I’m excited at the prospect of working with The Conran Shop and the chance for people to actually see my work first-hand.

2. Are you familiar with the work we do at The Conran Shop and of Sir Terence's legacy? Did it have any influence on your work?

The Conran Shop is very similar to what I strive to create for my brand Kirwin Continental, a curated collection of the very best consumer products. I also recently discovered that our ‘pilgrim’ dining table of 20 years is made by Habitat. So apparently I’m a lifelong user of Sir Terence Conran’s work.

3. Please tell us more about who you are and your project?

Products can’t make us happy, but they can help us to complete our tasks better, save us time and be more productive. Once you have the right tools, you have the freedom to live your life exactly how you want it. Driving this is my personal beliefs to live a simple and wholesome life. One where you can work hard, see the world, create stories to tell and wring out your soul of all its potential and joy.

4. As to your work, who inspires it, and do you have a particular process that drives your craft?

My work is inspired by the aesthetics of nature and Eastern craft, combined with precision modern manufacture. My process is simply to make things that work really well and look great. Some of my greatest inspirations for this are the simple beauty of Mesolithic tools and the ethos of Horatio Pagani.

5. How important do you think something like New Designers is for emerging designers?

Very important. It’s a hard world out there, and opportunities as good as this are hard to come by for individuals just starting out. Awards like this can help people see world-changing work, that otherwise may never see the light of day.

6. Looking around, did you see any emerging trends/shared concerns/materials with your fellow designers?

People have been left to themselves for a while. I think what people are making now has been thought about deeply and speaks about them personally and I think because of that, we’ll see some special design.

7. What do you think are the biggest challenges facing emerging designers? Did the pandemic impact your work in any way, and how was it working through New Designers virtually?

Product design is pretty pointless stuck on a screen, people can’t hold your product or use it, so you have to do your best to convey it in a picture, I think it works to an extent, but it will be really something when we can all see design in front of us again. It’s like live music. You could watch a concert online, or be there. It’s just better.

8. What, in your opinion, makes a design timeless?

A timeless design is something not made redundant by technology or trend. For example, you can’t really make a fork any better, even with infinite re-designing or money. It always has worked and always will work. Unless they invent a levitating fork.

 9. What are your ambitions for the next ten years?

My ambition is to turn my prototypes into real products so they can start to help peoples’ lives. At the same time, earning a decent enough living for me to travel widely and continue designing and making from new perspectives.

10. Lastly, which is your favourite piece of design history and who is your best-loved designer

The Ford GT40 is my all-time favourite design. It represents the will to overcome odds, the ingenuity to figure out unsolvable problems and the spirit of all that is beautiful about product design, brought into the world by Carroll Shelby.

Click here to discover more about our involvement with New Designers and to meet the rest of the 2021 shortlist; plus, be sure to follow Arun here, here, and here