In Conversation with George Gottl
What inspired you to be a designer?
I have always been artistic and creative since a very early age, becoming a designer was a natural extension of that creativity. The most exciting part of being a designer today is that traditional definitions of what artists do, versus designers, is being blurred. It’s all about a creativity and a point of view, which gives designers a lot of freedom.If they were to make a toy action figure of you, what would your accessory be?
Haha! I have a 12-meter-long closet full of accessories. I guess I would have to be some kind of fabulous Fashion Super Hero, eliminating fashion don’ts all over the world. The accessory would change seasonally of course!
To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life within the design world has taken?
I have had many lives within the design world. I graduated from Parson’s School of Design and started as a fashion designer working in the Los Angeles Surf apparel industry. After a few years of an exhausting pace, I went with my passion and opened interiors store Relic, in Los Angeles, designing all kinds of home accessories and special preserved flowers for some of Hollywood’s top stars. After the Los Angeles race riots in 1992, I moved to Portland Oregon to work for Nike as an apparel designer and later was promoted to Apparel Creative Director and was transferred to London to work on a lifestyle division for Europe. At which point, I was recruited by Italian bag manufacturer Mandarina Duck as their Global Creative Director. Working in Italy was a changing point for me, and I decided to leave the corporate world and start my own business with 2 other partners. In 2003 we opened UXUS in Amsterdam and 15 years later we have grown into a global leader in consumer experience design working with the world’s top companies creating their instore environments and experiences. As you can see, like almost everyone, there was a degree of luck and a degree of choice involved in my career path. I would say that for the most part, with a little luck on my side, I have controlled how my career in design has evolved and can’t wait to see where it goes next!
What would be your dream project?
I think that question is different depending in what phase of life you are in. I have been so fortunate to have achieved so many of the goals that I have set out to do, but ultimately, I would like to work on a project that is completely immersive, a full world of design that takes all senses into consideration, sight, smell, taste, sound, touch, something like a resort or a immersive hospitality experience.
What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
I am very quick at connecting information and coming up with creative equations for problems that result in innovative solutions. I grew up when fashion was very trend based, so being able to connect things and anticipate the “what’s next” is one of my strengths.
If you could go back in time and speak to your adolescent self, what advice would you give them about the design world?
It’s not what you think, its better.