Stéphane Leathead

Professional in Furniture Design.

About Stéphane Leathead

Designarium is a consulting firm specializing in brand development and management, graphic design and furniture design, led by creative director, Stephane Leathead. The ultimate goal of the agency is to contribute to their clients' successes while enjoying every step of the creative process. In the past 10 years, Stephane designed numerous branding projects that often included three-dimensional forms (aspects). Consequently, furniture design was a natural progression for him. A recipient of national and international recognition for his branding and graphic design projects, Leathead's minimalistic style and artistic approach shine through his creations for Designarium, his new endeavour.

  • Winner of Furniture Design Award.
  • Specialized in Furniture Design.
  • Original Design.
  • Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Furniture
Exocet Multifunctional Chair

Exocet Multifunctional Chair

Furniture Design

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Interview with Stéphane Leathead

Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
I was always interested in art and I wanted to use my creativity so I figured that the best way to express it would be by offering it. I have a degree in Graphic Design from UQAM, Quebec's University in Montreal.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
Designarium is a small design studio for now. We do branding consultancy and furniture design which make us unique.
What is "design" for you?
It is the process of understanding, analyzing and finding solutions to a specific need. It's a challenge.
What kinds of works do you like designing most?
IProjects involving 3D aspects. I always try to create an experience for the consumers, even with basic things like a business card for example. I enjoy generating interactions through my designs. It is wonderful observing how people act and react to certain designs, objects, pieces of art. It is fascinating seeing them manipulate or trying to figure out how something works.
What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
What I appreciate the most is any piece of design that pushes the boundaries further. Being a graphic designer, I'm more sensitive about great communication design but I'm always fascinated by ingenious ideas in furniture and object design.
What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
Paper is my first love, folding it, cutting it, creating objects from a simple element. When it comes to furniture design, wood and natural fibres are essential.
When do you feel the most creative?
When I'm in my zone. When a challenge is given or when I realize something needs to be done to improve something. Finding solutions to a given problem.
Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
Is it worth it ? Function or purpose. Many designs are often very beautiful but they also make you wonder if they really solve anything, has anyone thought about user-experience? I'm always trying to reach a level of meaningfulness and ingenuity with my designs. One of the keys to creating a successful, smart design is knowing which effect and perception you want to achieve. I want my designs to produce outcomes.
What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
It starts with motivation, I need to feel a challenge. I trust my instinct and I express myself on paper without limitations. Often, when ideas are relevant, I feel a sense of accomplished, of satisfaction.
What makes a design successful?
A balance between aesthetic and function. What make us more appreciative than this? When you don't need to explain it, when the design speaks for itself.
When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
If it solves something, if it's meaningful, if it seduces me
From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
We should always try to improve our environment, make it better, more enjoyable for everyone, while being gentle to our planet.
How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
Fast!! Now a day, with the Internet and the constant flow of ideas and information, we are exposed to so much that it's hard to stand out from that cluster. I think that we'll see more and more partnerships and multi-talented and multitasking people sharing ideas to create better experiences, smarter designs!
When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
It was the first one as well!! It was at the Interior Design Show in Toronto 2015. When I'll be ready!
Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
Nature. I often look at nature and wonder how it all happened, under which circumstances it developed and such. That's enough to get me started and ideas just start popping in my mind.
How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
Minimalist. I always focus on the essentials. I love simplicity. I don't think I have a style, I leave that up to others, to define my style.
Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
Montreal. I don't think that the cultural background affected me. But my own living experiences forged me the way I am today and keep influencing what I do. On a larger scale, I think that living in Montreal encouraged a freedom of mind and openness that you may not find in other countries. We have the liberty of creating anything we want.
How do you work with companies?
On a human scale. I hate feeling like I'm just another number
What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
If you're to work with a designer, that means that you don't have the skills to get the job done so trust him. Make sure you understand the process, if you don't, then ask for it, make sure you really understand and define your goals. Work in and with a collaborative mindset. To select a designer is like going to the restaurant, you never get the same thing but you enjoy the preparation, the ambiance, the taste of your meal, the overall experience, and you go back when you want to live it again but to taste something different. So trust your guts.
What skills are most important for a designer?
Open-mindedness and curiosity. You must be driven by the desire to question your environment, to improve it, to never just be satisfied with what's there. To question.
Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
I don't. Sometimes you just need to spend time that needs to be spent.
What was your most important job experience?
The design of the Exocet chair and its branding. Because it opened up a new dimension for the expression of my creativity.
Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
I'm alone for now but I hope eventually to set a team around me
Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
I'm planning an Exocet Collection, other furniture designed with the same principle in mind.

Extended Interview with Stéphane Leathead

Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
I obtained a degree in Graphic Design from the University of Québec in Montréal (UQAM) in 1994. I started my carrer as a Computer Graphics lecturer in Singapore. This asian working experience is still inspiring me to this day.
What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
I love the idea of creating something new. I'm always seeking for new ways of interacting with my environment. I became a Designer when I realized I could create and be paid for.
Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
I choose to become a designer. I like the idea of creating for a living.
What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
Branding and furniture design. Since I'm a graphic designer, I'm trying to communicate. I added recently object and furniture design to my practice. I wish to design more 3D projects.
What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
Be curious and stay in listening mode. Always try to learn something new.
What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
The capacity of pushing further de creative boundaries. Limitless creative mindset.
What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
A balance between form and function. But above this well known statement, it's the ability to merge elements and to communicate something never seen before. It's when you can't stop looking at it, thinking how it was made.
What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
Quality, beauty, functionality, efficiency. When something is well designed, you appreciate it and you're inspired by it. It makes you grow.
What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
I wish to design a house based on social interaction instead of volume and necessities.
What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
Passion. Every time I designed something, I have to be passionate about it. It is an intense emotion that help create the first spark.
What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
The Exocet™ chair. Its simplicity. With the design of just one slat shape you can create a multifunctional furniture. The look of it.
How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
Never stop learning. Keep searching for answers, always be curious and accumulate knowledge on everything.
If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
Probably I would have become a teacher. I always admired people capable of transmitting knowledge and sharing their experience with other.
How do you define design, what is design for you?
It is the ability to conceive new solutions based on efficiency without compromise on aesthetic. Objects don't have to be ugly to be functional.
What helped you to become a great designer?
My passion to discover new things, to learn and acquire new knowledge.
How do you think designers should present their work?
In the most genuine way possible, close to what they are. Don't try to do like the other, be proud of who you are.
What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
A design collection, new conceptual furniture to enhance learning interest and help develop intellectual curiosity.
Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
the Exocet™ chair. I received an overwhelming response. I very proud of the look and simplicity of the design. I can't bring this idea to a simpler expression.
What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
Design should be at the core of every projects. Designers should be involve at the beginning, allowing a more integrated process and a better, more efficient end result.
Where do you think the design field is headed next?
New technology will help shape the future of the industry. We'll see new ways to build, new materials, new needs.
How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
Good design always impose good simple solutions. Depending on the project complexity, you should always look for the most appropriate solution. But time should never be an issue.
When you have a new design project, where do you start?
Research. I need to collect information about it. I search for similar projects, I sketch and take notes and throw everything on paper without questioning.
What is the role of technology when you design?
I see technology as a tool in my toolbox. It's there, it's accessible, use it wisely.
What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
Materials play an important role. It can influence a production process of limit the possibilities.
Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
Someone complementary, someone challenging yourself, helping you to bring the best out of you. Co-design is not for everyone but when chemistry occurs, it's always exciting.
How did you develop your skills as a master designer?
I keep trusting myself. I never give up on something. Always looking for answers. Cultivate an appetite for discovery. Keep sketching.
How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
It's great to be recognized by the industry but it should not be a goal.
What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
When I feel I have traction, I move forward. It is always rewarding when you accomplish something, when you know your ready for the next step, you look ahead and see the big picture.
When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
No, but looking back, I was very curious to learn how things work, why we created them, what is it made of ?
What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
The future is exciting, we should look forward to it and keep designing to help mankind

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