Well known for his off-the-wall designs and especially for his repurposing of materials to create new forms with, Bader has been at the forefront of design in Kuwait for many years. He’s inspired a younger generation, and has become a role model for many. What inspires him?
From where does your inspiration to design arrive? How do you work?
I’m not going to give you the answer you might be expecting. I don’t get my inspiration over my morning coffee. I don’t get my inspiration from a song. That doesn’t happen. For me, my ideas come like a spark in my mind. This can happen to me at any time.
The key for me is to be in silence. I have to be silent, and everything around me must be silent too. I don’t have a lot of acquaintances, I don’t have many friends. So, this way, I’m usually silent. I don’t talk very much.
The best way I can explain the importance of this is through the story of a judge. They call him ‘The Silent Judge’. He’s known for passing judgements in very clever ways – he’s a wise man. He explains that he gets this wisdom through his silence. While he’s silent, he says he’s using this time to speak with himself. He says that he knows himself best of all, and that he is his own best friend. I feel the same way – I think it’s important to be a friend of yourself – and also to be your own and honest critic.
Who around you do you feel is doing particularly good work?
I feel in the region most designers take the easy way out and reproduce work that they’ve seen elsewhere. They just tweak it a little, change the colour perahps, but do no more. It’s obvious when they do this – because the design philosophy is not theirs. It’s clear for everyone to see.
Art is your personality. If an artist creates work against his personality, or does something that doesn’t suit his personality then, to me, he’s a liar or a cheat.
If you’re an artist and I know your personality, then I can see whether your work is honest and truthful.
Are you optimistic for the our design future?
I’m optimistic for design companies, for brands. I see their business will increase because people will ask for them. But not for design in the artistic form. Designing for galleries will be hard. Galleries are too influenced by art and design from the west. They’re looking for this and they look no further.
“Be truthful to yourself and to your art and design. This way, people recognise you through your work. The worst thing is to be see someone else’s work recognised in your own.”
Bader Al Mansour
You’ll find more results of Bader’s passions manifested on Instagram here: @baderart