If James Dean, Ghandi and Kurt Kobain by some miracle of nature came together and bore a child, it would probably be Felix. He is a non-conformist, that’s the first thing you’ll notice about him. While he deliberately opposes the ruling norm, he shows great respect for it. He walks about with a first-book Harry Potter-esque slouch that contrasts with his elaborate tattoos. The second he stops and looks at you, the feeling is piercing but comforting. He speaks with a permanent smile on his face and his prose has purpose and intent. He is young but wise. He is uber-talented but humble. He is one of my favorite talents I’ve discovered this year and I’m quite sure he’ll be on of yours, too. I predict a lot of you having a hypercube hanging from your walls sooner or later.
KR: I believe that interviewing someone is about building a rapport, so with that in mind, it’s only fair that you get to ask me a question, too, What is one thing you’d like to know about me?
FM: Do you believe in luck?
KR: I don’t believe luck is this elusive thing that some of us get and some don’t. I think it’s a state of mind. What we will comes about. What we give is what we get. As a man thinketh, so is he.
KR: So, Felix, what’s your story? Introduce yourself.
FM: I am Felix Monza. I get lost while walking through unknown territories, as long as they provide traces of the past, the present and the future. As an industrial designer, I have a special relationship with details and composition. Contrast is what attracts me the most. Whether it is in people, life, situations, sounds, architecture, forms or weather. I have a strong connection to the objects I create. I invest my time for the sake of ever-elusive perfection and steady persistence, as our ancestors did when ornamenting the environment for us.
KR: Being unapologetically yourself comes with a price; do you always pay it?
FM: Being true to myself means being very honest. And I think that’s the case for most of us. It does come with a price; oftentimes a steep one. I do pay it day in and day out.
KR: Tell us of a time when adversity introduced you to yourself?
FM: Being a creative always come with challenges. It sounds like a cliché, but it is a holistic truth. The incessant thoughts toward finding path and structure bring forth an internal adversity. In the past, my lack of confidence and inability to speak up for myself caused obstacles. I learned to rid myself of those. Once I did, things changed.
KR: Can you share an experience in which conferring with someone you love helped you to establish the design concept for one of your designs?
FM: I am a product of my family and my friends. On countless occasions, they come through for me with tolerance and fluidity. I only hope to be able to give back as much as I have received. They’ve thought me to stay open-minded and to believe in second chances. Shout-out to my mother for all the evening meal deliveries at my workshop. Moments like those influence my designs deeply.
KR: It seems to be me that you had an upbringing that encouraged you to be as creative as humanly possible, tell us your fondest childhood memory and why it is significant to this day.
On my fifth birthday, I was sitting in the cockpit of a small plane; I think it was a Cessna. The pilot allowed me to steer and I pushed the pilot stick to the front which resulted in a sudden dive. I started crying, but my father and the pilot did not react until I pulled it back again. Fearlessness drives my creativity.
KR: What is the one thing your parents taught you that is of utter relevance in how you exist?
FM: Everyone is always free in their decision making. It is the only way to achieve our fulfillments as human beings.
KR: As someone who constantly refers to neutral colors in their creations, how would you describe the color yellow to a blind person?
Orienting your face toward the sun is like looking onto a yellow-colored area.
KR: I’ve read somewhere a quote that I don’t how to feel about. It reads: “Industrial designers deplete the earth of its limited resources and should ask themselves two important questions every day: Should this exist? Does it need to be made?” How do you feel about this statement? And should what you do exist; does it need to be made?
FM: Everything we are and consume is delivered by Mother Nature. When eating fish, it is important to me to purely enjoy it. I get upset when I have the feeling that I wasted the fish because it was not prepared well. The same inter-relation should exist to the things we use. All objects I create are made to exist for generations. I am against the throwaway culture. The materials I use develop with age. I design surfaces that will have a characterful patina in the future because they are made out of wood, not veneered plastic. If some parts are made of plastic, they are driven by performance and feasibility, not by price. Industrial designers have the responsibility to design a product toward a climax of meaningfulness. The brand Felix Monza produces tables, which humans need to eat. We produce lighting systems, which we need to see in the dark. Our bed provides a good environment for sleep. Our Moto Rocker is for the pure joy of children and the development of their sense of balance. We produce those objects with more effort than others to increase valence.
KR: Which other young designer do you consider competition at the moment and which of their designs make you say “I wish I’d thought of that”?
FM: Julian Lechner, the designer behind Kaffeeform. Kaffeeform creates eco-friendly kitchenware made of coffee grounds collected from coffee shops around Berlin. Really cool stuff.
KR: How does this person inspire you? And what do you think they could do differently?
FM: His sense of simplicity and his ability to create something new and sustainable based on the purity of an element is inspiring. I would do nothing differently in his place.
KR: I imagine your Moto Rocker and Hypercube are the kind of products another designer wish they had thought of. How did they come into existence?
FM: I try to create products that are alive. On some level they do communicate with the consumer and hopefully with time, the consumer discovers new details as the product ages. I am driven by the emotional relationships between a functional product and its user. That’s why all of my products exist.
KR: Do you feel you were born at the right time or is there another era in which you feel you wouldn’t strived more?
FM: I truly am enjoying being alive right now therefore this is the right time for me.
KR: You have your launch coming up. What can attendees expect to experience there?
FM: They can expect to encounter a very personal piece of who I am and feel the love that I put into everything I design.
KR: What can we expect from you in the near future?
FM: Next I’ll release a line of outdoor furniture. And my existing products will soon have brothers and sisters, sons and daughters.