18 May 2016
Gil Muller (Bern, Switzerland) is product designer and co-founder (together with Louie Rigano) of the innovative rug company Shore. He graduated in Product Design from the Royal College of Art in London. Before specialising in industrial product design, Gil has gained experience working in the area of jewellery design in Switzerland as well as product design in London, Germany and Japan. His work has been exhibited internationally and published by Icon Magazine and Wallpaper.
Gil has a strong utopian approach with respect to design. By means of synthetic materials, he aims to create commercial designs which go beyond natural limitations, so that these can show their potentialities and benefits to the consumers. He believes that the objects that designers introduce into our lives can enrich us in many ways that we still have to discover – this is what pushes him to make this vision come true and create thoughtful, clever and functioning products.
How relevant is the notion of UTOPIA within your practice, approaches and strategies?
As designers, we aim to create products that make real, tangible improvements to our day to day lives. In this regard, one could say we approach our work from an intrinsically utopian perspective. We are, after all, using a synthetic material to make a better functioning product. Synthetics, historically, have been developed in an attempt to bypass natural limitations, to open up possibilities beyond what nature provides. It is our ambition to utilize these materials in ways which make full use of their inherent benefits and capabilities.
We believe the objects we bring into our lives can give us so much more and enrich our lives in ways we have yet to uncover. It’s by way of this dissatisfaction with the status quo that pushes us to envision a world where products function better, make us healthy, and give us more. We believe commercial products can have this power and it is our aim to make this vision a reality through thoughtful design.
Utopia is defined as the imagination of an ideal system or pattern of a civil organisation. How do you see the role of creative practice within this concept? Or otherwise, can design change society – referring to a common utopian aspiration to create a new society through design?
It is a modern outlook that envisions a world perfectible by human effort. Designers have always been in pursuit of a utopian dream – a deeply rooted utopian urge precedes technological advancement and discovery. A belief in innovation equates to a belief in the ultimate end goal of innovation – a utopian world.
Are there any other manifestos, publications or thinkers that have influenced your work or mindset?
It is difficult to pinpoint a specific idea, person or piece which has had direct influence on us or our approaches. Inspiration usually comes from looking at the past and present just as much as looking towards future needs and challenges. Perhaps the most effective way we’ve found to gather insight is to back up as far as possible from the idea at hand. Look at something in the widest sense and understand its full context, history, and place. With this breadth of understanding it becomes far easier to know where to proceed.
See more about Shore Rugs by Gil Muller here.