In this interview, Felix Turvey discusses his journey at university, his award winning project the Alineo Task Lighting, and the benefit of trusting your gut.

Do you mind telling us a little about what you’re currently doing?

I am currently working at Fisher & Paykel here in Auckland! I work within the Global Displays team designing premium retail and experiential display environments.

What was your first creative memory? 

I remember being taught about paper-mache in the first few weeks of primary school. Dad had some left over polystyrene packaging that happened to be shaped a bit like a yacht. I used the packaging as a mould and created a paper boat hull. I began testing out new recipes and adding other materials to the mix. The orange mesh used in mandarin packaging worked wonders. 

Do you mind telling us about the project you won a Gold Pin for?

I won a Gold Pin for my lamp project, Alineo. This was the result of my 4th year Industrial design project at Massey University in Wellington. I had always really enjoyed the look and functionality of the Anglepoise lamp, but I wanted to create something with a more minimal aesthetic, and somehow blended into its surroundings when it wasn’t being used.  

 What was the most important thing you learnt at university?

Don’t take other people’s opinions too seriously - trust your own abilities and work to your strengths. Time management is also pretty useful…

If you could go back to when you were starting uni, what advice would you give yourself?

Haha, my previous answer. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. Listen to everyone/everything, but make your own decisions and go with your gut! 

How has an apparent failure set you up for later success?

My final year at uni began horribly - it took me months to come up with a worthy subject to explore, at one point I was convinced I would fail the entire year. I knew what I wanted to design, but I found it difficult to convince the tutors that my idea of a project could be in-depth enough for a 4th year output. Cutting it fine with deadlines, I took my own advice and decided to move forward with my initial idea. Thankfully everything worked out okay. 

 What is bad advice you hear people giving design students? 

“3D print it” or something similar. I think there’s sometimes too much emphasis on new technologies (3D-printing etc.) being used at uni. I can understand the need for innovation, and a university is a great place to explore that – but I don’t think it should be taught in place of fundamental design principles and processes.