In another of the series ‘Meet the Professionals’ we talk to Max Resnick MCSD, an industrial designer with one of the most influential global design practices, ARUP. The Society has many members working at ARUP in their various international offices and has collaborated with them on numerous occaisions, most recently showcasing some of their work on the London Design Pavilion at Shenzhen Design Week 2019 where some of the design work produced by CSD members, including Max, was on display. See ‘Why we are the international professional membership body for designers’
Q: Please introduce yourself?
Max: I am an industrial designer working at Arup, focusing on product design and venturing projects. I am based in London but support colleagues globally, working closely with teams in the Americas and Australia in recent months.
Q: What made you choose this career?
Max: I grew up drawing, disassembling and making. From a young age I was lucky to be exposed to the worlds of cars, watches and art, amongst a very creative family, and so I formed a fascination with wanting to understand how things worked. My grandpa supported this fascination in helping me take things apart around the house…
Once I understood why the objects around me looked and worked the way they did, I wanted to improve them! My interests in both design and engineering led me to training as an automotive designer, before I diversified into other fields of design.
Q: Why did you become a member of the society?
Max: I chose to join the society to demonstrate my ongoing commitment to maintaining the highest standards of professional design practice.
Q: What do you find the most exciting and enjoyable thing about being a designer?
Max: The part of being a designer that I find most exciting are those early conversations where a problem has been identified but a solution not yet defined. I enjoy working with experts in their discipline to solve problems and to identify opportunities for innovation.
Q: What are the greatest challenges you face as a designer and how have you overcome them.?
Max: It is often difficult to find the right collaborators; those who share the same values and approach to introducing solutions, technologies and products to the market. I’ve found that through increasing clarity on the type of projects that I want to work on, the right opportunities present themselves.
Q: Designers never seem to stop designing – but when you are not designing?
Max: When not designing I like to disconnect from technology, spending my time cooking or outdoors; running, horse-riding and Scuba diving.
Q: As a designer what are you most proud of?
Max: As a designer I am most proud of turning my master’s thesis into a piece of academic research work that re-considers the development process of road vehicles, suggesting we should develop vehicle aerodynamics to perform better on increasingly congested roads with an intention to reduce fuel consumption.
Q: What are the most important qualities or competences for a designer?
Max: I think designers need to be sensitive; to clients, users, and the world around them. They care about overlooked details and are driven to solve problems wherever they are found.
Q: If you were not a designer what else would you like to be?
Max: If not a designer, I’d be a sculptor, or perhaps an architect.
Q: What does design mean to you?
Max: To me, design is a way of thinking through which we support the evolution of materials, of products and of human behaviour. It is a balance between the creativity of art and the requirements of business and acts as a form of communication, not just through an appealing visual impression, but in making lives better and changing our lived experiences. Design isn’t always noticeable, but it is all around us. Good design helps to shape a better world.
Q: In one sentence what advice would you give to a new designer?
Max: Designers learn through hands-on experience so try working outside your comfort zone and never forget the importance of commercial thinking!
Q: Can you show us some of your most recent projects?
One of the recent projects I have been involved in has been to work with colleagues across Arup to launch the e-mobility charging start-up ‘Charge’. They’re based in New York with ambition to become the largest global network of electric charging, storage and service stations for the micro-mobility industry. (www.charge.us)
I’m also working with Mogu to develop commercially available products for interior design applications from their mycelium-based technologies. We’re currently collaborating on the development of their acoustic tiling offering and will be launching a new product system in 2020. (www.mogu.bio)
Our team at Arup has worked in partnership with the British Red Cross and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine to prevent the spread of diseases through the design and dissemination of a new and open-source hand washing station for emergency response situations. (www.arup.com/projects/handwashing-in-emergencies)