The design process with Radek Lasota

Creative Director and Owner of RJ Workspace, Radek Lasota has designed and successfully put into production at least 100 furniture designs over the past 25 years. During this time, he has witnessed significant changes in the thinking about commercial furnishings, not least the push towards sustainable manufacturing processes and integration of technology.

In this interview, Radek shares his passion for the design process, what motivates him to push for improvements in ergonomics and sustainable manufacturing, along with his favourite (current) piece of architecture.

What is design to you and how do you decide what is going to be your next project?

Radek: My quest for perfection of form and function takes my imagination into a reclusive and somewhat selfish place. Nothing worthwhile happens without sweat and tears. Sometimes it feels like it takes forever to arrive at the simplest of ideas; an idea which may lead to a significant improvement in a particular product, or nothing depending upon the potential for application. My next project ideas always come from some observing a new need in the market, whether that be for a more sustainable workstation, a better integration of technology into an existing piece or the need for a lower cost item.

Do you design for self-satisfaction or financial benefit? 

Radek: It is my great fortune to be able to do something for a living which I am passionate about. There exists a huge amount of risk associated with developing (designing, prototyping, manufacturing and bringing to market) innovative new products. Sometimes the market is ready, sometimes it is not. Sometimes I do not get the product right first time and it is a failure. In spite of this, I derive an enormous degree of satisfaction from seeing my designs used and enjoyed by people in the environments for which they were designed. 

Some of my designs have taken years to materialise. Environment, ergonomics and aesthetics all contribute to the value for money customers feel from my creations. Sadly in today’s money focused culture, very often it is forgotten that good design is about improving the experience for staff and customers and sometimes this comes at a higher price.

I still dream of better designed workplaces and that motivates my creativity to find new and better solutions.

Who inspires you?

Radek: One of my very favourite architects is Tadao Ando. I was absolutely blown away in the Church of Light in Osaka. As for industrial design, I sincerely respect Philippe Stark as one of the most prolific designers and most switched on stylists in the world.

In our next talk with Radek, we will explore prototyping and evaluating market feedback in the lead up to manufacturing.

Tobias Messiter