Portrait Steve McGugan
Steve McGugan looks back on more than 30 years of experience in industrial design. After graduating from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, he had his first great career success by signing on as an in-house designer with Bang & Olufsen in Denmark. Steve still lives in the Scandinavian country where he’s been running his own design studio since 1988. His creations from the fields of industrial design, high tech or luxury consumer products were awarded numerous national and international design awards.
Mr. McGugan, you’ve already designed a few products for PHILIPPI. Where do you get your creative ideas from and how long does it take to develop your designs?
I designed the salt and pepper shakers ELBHARMONY as a tribute to the magnificent Elbe Philharmonic Hall in Hamburg. Whereas the idea for the hanging picture frame, ORNAMENT, hit me while I was decorating the Christmas tree. I found the idea very clever, that the color of the strap as well as the frames’ contents could be constantly changed and adjusted.
Of course, the idea for each and every design is of the greatest importance. Finding these ideas can take up to several months or happen within a few hours. After that, the design has to be developed to bring out the best of my idea and subsequently decide whether the idea and the design are worth further development.
Which product would you like to create for PHILIPPI?
Generally, I love to design products made of metal.
Which product would you have liked to design?
There are so many wonderful products on the market, so that I find it difficult to pick a single one.
Which product by PHILIPPI would you like to give and which would you like to receive as a gift?
ELBHARMONY is the one I’ve already given away several times. I would love to get a CALDERA bowl. It’s a totally elegant eye-catcher.
How do your creative ideas come up?
Creativity arises by taking a look around and asking: “How can I design things to be simpler, more elegant or just more beautiful?”
Do you have a favorite color?
Green. For me, green expresses a new beginning, like tree leaves in the spring.
Which natural talent would you like to have?
I’m satisfied with my given talents. Thanks to them, I can design products that help people, such as medical devices.
How & when did you decide to create designs?
When I was a kid, I was passionate about cars and because of that, I later studied automobile design. However, during my studies I recognized the fact that I found the creation of products even more fascinating. Because it enabled me to design things that never before existed and thus, I switched my focus and became a product designer.
What do you believe makes for a good design?
When a product is easy to understand and at the same time, touches the consumer’s heart; then I can call it good design.
What is the last thing you think about before you go to sleep and the first thing in the morning?
In the evening, when I ponder a possible solution for a project and in the morning, when I awake, I hope I remember it.
If you weren’t a designer, you would...
..be an oceanographer.