If Vishall had pursued his childhood dream and completed his studies in Aerospace Engineering, he would probably be working at the European Space Agency by now. But finding the subject too theoretical, Vishall switched to Product Design followed by a Masters in Interaction Design at the prestigious Delft University of Technology. After freelancing as a graphic designer in the Netherlands, then moving to Belgium in 2010 to design POS displays, he found his way “home” to Namahn.
What is the appeal of HCD for you?
I’ve done a lot of graphic design, but I like to go deeper, explore what lies underneath, designing the whole surface and the information system behind it. For example, my Master’s Thesis was for Mooi weer spelen, a dynamic street theater festival in Delft. With performances throughout the city, they needed an attractive, temporary, and easy to install solution to guide and inform visitors. I designed a low cost signage system that could be attached to street furniture, creating a network of “festive” info points. Interaction and usability are essential ingredients of any design project. This is logic not luxury, and the foundation of good design.
How key is interface design in the mobile era?
Technology natives are growing up with better and better interface design. This is making them more demanding and critical as users. But although mobile apps are having a real impact on the way we live, I believe their proliferation will eventually end and only the best-designed and most useful apps will survive, as we saw with social media platforms on the web.
Why did you move to Brussels?
Cherchez la femme! My girlfriend is a Belgian architect. When she decided to move back here from the Netherlands, I came with her, and we settled in fast. Belgium is very welcoming to architects and designers.
How did you discover Namahn?
Surfing the web, I came across the Namahn website. I was astonished that a company really existed that completely reflected my way of thinking and approach to design. I feel completely at home here, plus the office is a five-minute cycle from where I live. A happy quirk of fate!
We hear another kind of surfing is a passion of yours…
Yes! I discovered surfing during my Erasmus semester in Portugal and I’ve been hooked ever since. The most beautiful place I’ve surfed so far was Indonesia during a six-month backpacking tour through India, Nepal and the Indonesian archipelago. The water there was so clear and the waves so perfect I could see shoals of fish swimming through them. It was like looking through glass walls.
Three words that express your approach to life?
Calm, positive, and curious. I guess my Surinam roots may be responsible for the calm bit, not a typical Dutch characteristic! I moved from Surinam to the Netherlands as a baby, but I’ve been back to visit since. Life there is laid-back, culturally mixed, and very Caribbean.
Surfing does not seem to be a very calm pastime…
Being in nature, joining forces with the sea can be very soothing even though there is a lot of adrenalin involved. Like interaction design, there are no exact rules. However, taking the surroundings into account and effectively adapting to the situation will get you the best result in both cases. And if you fail, you get up and go out there again!