Michael Young
Giant with DEM, 2007

Michael Young is an internationally established product designer who was sited by Terance Conran as the “most inspiring British designer” in 1995. His works span across various genres.

After studying Furniture and Product Design at school, he worked at Tom Dixson‘s studio “Space”. Michael started working for himself in 1993 and set up his own studio MY-002 in 1995. Since then, he has brought us his famous furniture serious such as Wood Chair and Yogi Family. In 2000, he moved his studio to Iceland and now lives in Hong Kong. Recently, he has been involved in many branding projects such as Giant and a range of barware for Schweppes Tonic.

Michael Young
Schweppes Barware kit, 2007

A lighting project using sticklights was held in Tatsumi Yagura, Shumpu Castel in the SCVF in Feburary 2008. This installation created good match light made by modern material and traditional architecture, Tatsumi Yagura. Below is my interview with him.

How did you become interested in design, especially product design?

I had a lack of interest in other things at school, so it was natural for me to be interested in design. The situation in the design industry was different from when I was in school. I liked art but wanted to discover something less tangible, it just happened to be design.

Michael Young
Yogi Family, Magis, 2002

What did you first do after school?

I was very poor but I never got a job, so, I just made things to try and sell them. I was determined to fulfill my ambition to make my own world.

How and when did you develop your design style?

Early on, I studied form in a work shop and the rest was my own evolution impacted by the world around me which i guess was pretty street level at the time. Then, I created woven steel light in 1992 and made Magazine Sofa in 1995. Around that time, I started to feel that my products were being accepted in international market.

Michael Young
Magazine Sofa, E&Y 1994
Astro Bar Iceland, 2001

Which works do you consider to most represent your approach to design and why?

It is difficult to say because my style is always changing. Actually, I have designed a new olive oil bottle recently and I love it.

Michael Young
Magis Dog House, Magis, 2001

I think one’s approach to developing a brand is similar to a consultant. How do you come to the final point in developing a brand? Could you explain the process?

I must do everything for a client. They trust me and I guess that I need to prove myself as I help them understand their consumer correctly and to place themselves correctly in the market and get the correct PR . I am always finding better ways depending on the project.

Michael Young
Skin with Katrin Olina, Firenze, 2007
Photo: Courtesy of Carlo Lavatoni

What is the most important thing to you when you design?

Integrity, to create something real for my client and real for me.

Why are you now moving to Hong Kong?

Firstly I love it here , secondly it is the centre of manufacturing, so it is convenient for making products. And, I have a great studio here and a great team.

Michael Young
Zip Zi folded paper, Established & Sons, 2007

You had a studio in Iceland, and now you live in Hong Kong. Where do you want to live next ? and tell me the reason.

I’m here, Hong Kong, for a while but Tokyo would be nice. It feels like home, or the alps but it might get boring.

Michael Young
Plastic Polo, Lacoste, 2007

Please let us know the direction of your recent works?

For the last 6 month I’ve been working on a new interior skin project and PLASTIC POLO PROJECT for LACOSTE, and working on many new things for release soon.

What would you like to do in the future as a designer?

Boats and motorbikes.

After I participated in a seminar with Michael Young in SCVF on the other day, he took me to the exhibition of his sticklight project at Tatsumi Yagura. Michael kindly explained his works and recent project apart from his serious face at the seminar. I understand why his design has warmness and softness, through talking with him personally. He has a lot of experiences to visit Japan because of projects with Japanese clients. I really look forward to seeing his new products come out.

Michael Young
Address: 11/F, Luen Wai Commercial Building, 93-97 Des Voeux Road West, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2803 0344

Text: Wakana Kawahito

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