Now I’m a designer, What next?
First before we start, what is your name?
Tony Milic, founder of 8audio.com.au.
What is your background?
I have always been curious as to how technology works. My parents gave me a crystal radio when I was eight and I remember being fascinated that you could listen to radio stations without any batteries. This started a parallel future of music and technology. Tinkering with audio to improve its quality, tape deck recording bias, head azimuth alignment, it all helped to improve or degrade the audio quality. I was constantly asking how does it work, pulling it apart and trying to reassemble, often needing to fix broken things. Design has been with me since my teens. I became the engineer whereas my life long friend became the designer/artist. Keeping tabs on technology and design has brought me here. And I made a conscience decision soon after my son was born to not watch evening television and instead focus on developing my design skills through prototyping and reiteration. It started with designer sketched up in Apples Keynote 2D presentation software and now I use AutoDesk Fusion360 3D software. I look at laser cutting plywood as turning 2D into 3D.
What gets you up in the morning?
My 8YO son Otto at 6:30am. It’s not of my choosing, I am after all a night person so if I had my way I would sleep in a bit to ponder questions. Philosophically I am a positive person so having new ideas to test is one reason. Another is coffee.
What’s it like having to be everyone in the business?
Yeah.. who told you that? Running a small business forces you to move from one need to another. For me it’s fortunate that I am adaptable and naturally seek out the answers. I like the research into the problem and the acquisition of self made knowledge to helps with completing the puzzle. There are some bits of being the puzzle that are enjoyable and others not so.
Clarity I guess. Having sounds that move you in an emotive way as the musician and audio engineer intended. I got so much pleasure from music and listening it in a way that could transcend me. I think today we have a dumbing down in society when it comes to audio reproduction. Most of the new generation are unawarely content with the lacklustre sound coming out of their smartphones. While others focus on kickass sound systems in their cars. I want to bridge that somewhat by offering speakers that can bring sound quality and enjoyment into peoples lives. I want them to feel.
There is a quote “Design is intelligence made visible” your thoughts?
So true. The design process reflects the learnings and takes part of the personality of the designer. A design with thoughtfulness versus one lacking this quality is very evident in modern design. You see it everywhere and I think it is linked to instant need for visual gratification. It does not last long and that shows in many objects that lack value in the beholder, the objects are easily discarded without though as there will alway be the next flashy cheap plastic thing.
Who inspires you?
Musicians that resonate with me really inspire me, I never followed through guitar lessons when I was young and missed out on learning an instrument. But that not to say I never tried composing music later in life. I have deep respect for the emotional connection with composition and sound. From a designer perspective I have to say the values or Rams Dieter also resonate with me. Musicians and designers and artists that resonate with you are like your single best friend you get along with so well.
How is form and function important to you?
Aesthetics are very important to me. Design needs to respect the space the object sits in, how it needs to respond with people who see and use it and I think it also need to evoke a meaningful reason to exist in the beneficiaries who use it. As with any intelligent design you need to put yourself in the position of the user and be able to question a lot.
Also to perceive it from many different perspectives and emotional states helps form something closer to perfection.
Sustainability? It seems you have thought about this?
Yes, a big issue that faces the world and one that design firms everywhere need to put some hard thought into. This dawned on me as I self learnt my skills that I had options in how I fabricate things, in my case speakers. As we know the good old stereo speakers that I grew up with were made of wooden cabinets, but as the target market moved towards smaller audio devices so did the designs move to plastic fabrication. Now everything is plastic and designers are educated in sustainability but by the time they are employed business takes over the choices and low cost manufacturing wins bringing plastic and bad design. I think as a consequence we have lost the larger speakers due to cost savings and higher margins through building small speakers a society always looking for cheaper things has succumb to this situation and foregone sound quality in the process. Back to me, yes I have combined modern techniques like 3D design, laser cutting, bending plywoods to help me come up with new ideas that challenge what you can do with wood and a laser cutter. I hope large companies can see the trends with society and capitalise on this by finding new fabrication techniques that lead to a more sustainable and cyclic future when it comes to the planets resources. I sound like a hippy to the old, but to the young I am the future.
What next, tomorrow I get out of bed and think a little bit more about how we can all have a better life.