An Interview with Lior Askal, An Interior Design Graduate

It's the time of year when thousands of students are graduating from design schools around the world. All of this fresh talent have sat through their final reviews, put up with cranky old men trashing their work, and are hitting the streets looking for that elusive job. Pierce Atkinson, recently attended the Dawson College final reviews and got to sit down and chat with one of their talented graduates.

Pierce Atkinson: First, I'd like to start off by congratulating you, Lior. You just graduated the Interior Design Program from Dawson college, how does it feel to be done? Have you caught up on sleep yet?

Lior Askal: It's very bizarre to be completely honest. Even though all of the projects have been turned in and grades have been submitted, I feel as though I have more work that needs to be completed. I guess after 3 years of constant hard work, the brain just expects more and doesn't understand that it's over. It may sound strange, but I find sleep to be boring . I feel like I should be doing so much more right now, but instead I'm wasting my time sleeping!

PA: Tell us a little bit about your final project.

LA: So the final project is called The Square Inch, which is a resource center for anyone in the design industry. The space offers a library, materials room, conference rooms, seminar halls, and a gallery to expose and exhibit all the work. I wanted to create this space, because I felt that after 3 years in the program, I knew what every designer needed. My biggest challenge was finding the functionality in the midst of all the aesthetics.

PA: What did your family think when they first saw your final designs and original creations?

LA: My family has always been proud and supportive of what I've done. They have pushed me to continue my studies and get better at what I love to do. My father is also in the interior design business, so he has seen countless projects and ideas, and every time I would present anything, he would only emphasize the negative, and that forced me to improve and revise every tiny detail.

PA: Are you working now? If so what type of projects are you more focused towards?

LA:  I have recently been accepted into a small firm in Montreal that specializes in restaurant and commercial design. The projects are very fun, and most importantly, the office atmosphere is great. There are currently 3 employees in total, but we are slowly expanding.

PA: How did you find the current position at the firm?

LA: I randomly applied to this job a few months back, and hadn't heard anything for a few months. Just recently the owner finally called me and told me that he needed good designers. I showed him my portfolio and pretty much started working there the next day.

PA: Do you find there is real interest in young interior designers?

LA: I believe it all depends on the designer. You can have someone who's been in the business for many years, but who lacks the spark that every great designer has. As a very young designer, I think that anyone would be willing to take on a designer like me, if the portfolio and work matches their needs. Age doesn't really play a difference, but raw talent does.

PA: What is most challenging about a career in Interior Design?

LA: I believe that the hardest part is getting the recognition you deserve for a completed project. There are so many interior designers out there, that it becomes very hard to get any fame or recognition at all. As a young designer, my primary goal is getting my name out there, so I'm not picky with the projects that I take on or the payment that accompanies it.

PA: Who inspired you to become a designer, and how?

LA: My father was my great source of inspiration for pursuing interior design. He's moved 3 times very late in his life, to three very different countries, and in every single one of them, he pretty much had to restart his career all over again. He showed me that if I'm truly passionate about anything in life, I'll go to great lengths to achieve it. He's a brilliant designer, but manages to balance family and work in harmony.

PA: Where do you turn for inspiration?

LA: It depends on the project. Sometimes, a late drive does the trick, or going through some magazines, sometimes just talking to somebody about the project will strike up an idea inside of me.

PA: What strikes you most when you enter a space for the first time?

LA: I'm the kind of person that values craftsmanship. I have a great deal of respect for those who are good at what they do, especially when it comes to hand-made things. I also have a fascination for watches and small objects, because the level of detail that goes into it fascinates me.

PA: You studied in Montreal, do you plan on staying here?

LA: For the meantime yes, but I intend on studying architecture in Toronto in the years to come. I love Montreal for its history, and I have established a life here, but I'm always ready for a new and exciting beginning.

PA: Architecturally speaking, which parts of Montreal do you like the most?

LA: I would have to say Old Montreal, simply because of the history and craftsmanship that went into every building. I might not be crazy about the style of that area, but the story behind it makes it worth it. Like I mentioned earlier, I have a thing for objects that were hand-made, and this area is full of it.

PA: Where do you see yourself in the future?

LA: In the next few years, I hope to get a bachelor's degree in 3D animation in Montreal, and then pursue my dream of becoming an architect in Toronto. My goal is to one day own a firm that specializes in 3D animation and architecture, where I will hopefully work on creative inspiring projects for companies like Disney and Pixar. It's something that I've always wanted to do, and I'm trying my best to make this dream come true.

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