Q&A With Designer Michael Anastassiades

michael anastassiades
Tip of the Tongue. Image credit: Edouard Auffray

Designer Michael Anastassiades, whose work is featured in the permanent collections at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, will be speaking at Design Joburg this week. Here, he talks about how he got into lighting design, what inspires him and upcoming collaborations.

Michael Anastassiades. Image credit: Helene Binet.

How did you become a lighting designer?

Through a process of elimination really. Having always wanted to set up my own practice, I got the best feedback on my lighting designs, so that is where I landed. I am still learning though and every day the process continues.

You are also working on designs that don’t involve lighting. Do you enjoy working in other design disciplines?

It has been quite refreshing. I am collaborating with several brands in this regard. In September 2018, I worked on a drinking fountain project in an attempt to eliminate single-use plastic in London. My first design was launched at the V&A’s garden courtyard. Long may my adventures in design continue.

Where do you find your inspiration?

As a designer I have to keep my eyes open all the time. With my busy travel schedule, I find inspiration anywhere and everywhere. My ideas come mostly from outside of my studio environment. Art remains an inspiration, so I find the time to attend exhibitions regularly. Architecture is also a muse – I find expression in important monuments or villas from the past. I also carry a sketchbook with me to document these moments of inspiration – it’s compact and fits into my bag easily. 

Are there any design collaborations or partnerships coming up that you’d like to share?

I have many interesting projects in the pipeline, some with new brands and others with existing partners. I’m working on an exciting new collection with Italian luxury leather goods brand Valextra. Also, I’m busy with a new project with B&B Italia which is proving to be quite stimulating.

What are your thoughts on design right now?

Design is at an interesting crossroads. There is an abundance of designers graduating and wanting to leave their mark. However, I think we’re at saturation point and I wonder if we need all these objects around us. I also question the longevity of these products. Electronic goods are a case in point, where things are made not to last, forcing you to repurchase regularly. We live in such a throw-away society and we really should be designing products that last.

Michael Anastassiades will be speaking at Design Joburg on Friday 24 May 2019 at 12:40pm in the Kohler Theatre. Once you’ve bought a ticket to attend Design Joburg (available here and at the door), talks are free to attend. British designer Yinka Illori, who we previously featured here, will also be speaking on Friday 24 May at 11:15am. To view the full speaker schedule and for more information about the show itself, visit designjoburg.com.