Alex Proba is a German born designer based in New York City and the founder of Studio Proba, a multidisciplinary studio working in artwork, product, graphic, environmental and furniture design.
This talented young designer has already worked for such companies as Nike, Target, Google, and Kickstarter and we were honored to work with her and present her “The One or the Other collection” during Salone del Mobile 2017.
Alex invited us into her beautiful home in New York and we caught up with the prolific designer to find out how she works and where her inspiration comes from.
1 – What was your inspiration for the rugs?
“The One or The Other” for cc-tapis was inspired by environmental textures and materials. Things that usually have a solid or hard state of matter — materials of the physical world that have opposing characteristics of fibre or textile with which they are paired. My goal with this collection was to create an abstract representation of the concept of unique worlds colliding and coexisting on one surface. Additionally, it is a celebration of color and pattern—a positive stimulation of the senses.
2 – Do you design on a computer or by hand?
Mostly I design on a computer, but there are projects that I start by making collages out of paper and/or paint. It always depends on what the idea and concept is. If it’s a project with a super geometric and linear approach, the computer is the best way for me to start. If it’s more organic and free I love to use analogue working methods.
3 – What was it like combining your contemporary graphics with such an artisanal product?
My favorite part of the process of combining contemporary and very geometric graphics with an artisanal handmade products is that I love to lose control over my obsession for perfection. There is no such thing as a perfect straight line or the exact color match from my digital sketch for something created completely by the hand of an artisan. It surprises me and usually the outcome is much more beautiful than my design or expectations of it. It’s a very amazing thing to just pass it over and let go of control.
In my opinion products made by artisans have a soul, they have a story within them, that products made by machines do not. They are a work of art and in a way are alive. Every product is unique.
4 – What does artisanal production mean to you?
It is very important for me and my work. (Unfortunately) we live in a time where most of the things we have and use are produced by a machine and not by a human being. Most of the time we have have no idea where these things are coming from. The sad thing is that a lot of people don’t really care, which is sad and devastating to me. In my opinion products made by artisans have a soul, they have a story within them, that products made by machines do not. They are a work of art and in a way are alive. Every product is unique. They have slight differences but seem the same.
5 – Your graphic design is always rich in pattern and colour, how do you succeed to combining all of these elements together?
Thank you for the great compliment. I am happy to hear that this is the case. Honestly, it is trial and error and most of the time I have a natural inclination to choose one color over another and I often do not overthink it. I trust my gut and 99% of the time I go with the first chosen pattern or color. The times that I actually question myself and go back and change color and pattern in my designs is when the design actually fails.
6 – Is there any advice you could give for combining colour and pattern?
You have to like what you create. If you feel a 100% convinced of it’s beauty then you can be sure that some other people will too. If you question it, there you have your answer.
7 – If your rugs could talk, what would they say?
Am I confusing you?
8 – Where does your passion for colour come from?
That’s a very interesting question. Funny enough, I haven’t thought about it ever and it might be hard to find one reason for my passion but I think it comes from very early on in my childhood. My mom, who is a doctor, and doesn’t completely share my passion for design and art had a hard time (and or no interest) in figuring out spaces and colors at home and sometimes she would make questionable choices. My grandmother, who used to be a florist, is the one that had the eye for beautiful and coordinated things. She was the one that not only taught me how to cook but also taught me how to look at the world and to celebrate colors, spaces, plants and much more. She taught me how to celebrate beauty, even in the ordinary things.
9 – If we were to come into your studio at 7 in the morning, what would we find?
Ha, that’s a good question. My studio is a part in my apartment, and so you would probably find me getting ready for my run or drinking coffee and creating a poster.