DELANCO, NJ— Aodh O’Donnell has been appointed to serve as the Director of Design at Stylex. “Stylex is all about smart design, sensibly conceived from both an aesthetic and practical standpoint," he said. "I am truly excited to assume this position at a company where I will have an important impact on the conception and engineering of products that will influence this very dynamic brand’s future growth.”
Irish-born O’Donnell first joined Stylex as an intern while studying at Philadelphia University. It was there that he gained recognition with his Armadillo chair, which won the Wilsonart Design Challenge. Upon receiving his degree, he began working with Stylex fulltime. O’Donnell speaks below about his new position and his thoughts on the current state of design:
What has been your favorite Stylex product you've worked on since joining the brand?
To be honest, every Stylex project I work on is my favorite project in that moment. I am very passionate about the design process, caring deeply for a chair’s development from the emotion that its form evokes to the fit and finish of its upholstery. Without truly enjoying the project one is working on, it is not possible to realize its full potential.
How has the company changed since you joined in 2011?
Stylex has undergone a tremendous amount of growth in the past few years. Since joining the company, we have committed to expanding our in-house design and engineering capabilities. That has allowed us to manage more projects simultaneously and release new product faster.
The Share modular lounge collection is the first example of our increased in-house development capabilities. Share transitioned from design concept to production release in just one year, a record rate of development for Stylex. The Share collection also represents our serious entrée into the lounge product category. With the soon to be released Ridge collection, we are expecting even greater growth in this category in 2014 and beyond. The past few years have been very exciting at Stylex, and we have no intention of limiting our vision regarding future possibilities.
What are you most excited about in your new role as Director of Design?
It may be a common trait among designers, but I am very excited about what the future holds for the Stylex development team and the great products to come. Over the past few years, we have built a strong team, and it is through this team that we will realize our goals for the future. I am very proud of my leadership role and what we are capable of achieving.
What do you perceive as the biggest current challenge facing industrial and interior designers?
One of today's biggest challenges is also one of its biggest advantages. We are spoiled by the array of potential directions. The workplace environment seems to be evolving more quickly than ever, and designers in turn are being challenged to find solutions for novel ways of interacting and efficiently doing one’s job in that environment, as well as ways that support good work habits while satisfying developing aesthetic trends and budgetary concerns. Concurrently, the challenge is to select which of many potentially exciting projects to develop next.
In three words, tell us where you think the future of design is headed.
Ever, increasing, intelligence.