60 second interview: Phil Champ, Champ ID

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Phil Champ

Phil Champ is the former principal product designer at LAPD Consultants, a dual disciplined design consultancy with a focus on lighting and product design. Clients included ACDC Lighting, Reggiani and iGuzzini and many other leading brands within the professional lighting sector. He is now owner of Champ Industrial Design, his own design company.

Why did you become a designer? 
A constant early age questioning of “why did they do it that like that?” which drove my parents nuts.
As a young model maker in the late 70s I was constantly wanting to tweak designs that I was supposed to be following and questioning why the designer had done something a certain way. A passion for making things look good (subjective) and to make them work (objective). 

Which designer or company do you most admire and why? 
Companies that have a long involvement with design, rather than newer companies who feel that hyping the brand awareness is more important than the products themselves.
Land Rover, Barbour, TAG, Alessi.

What product couldn’t you live without? 
A decent corkscrew.

What design would you have loved to have designed and why?
The Zippo lighter. It is classic, beautiful and timeless.
Play-Doh, Meccano or Lego? 
I want all three!
Play-Doh, you can make more mess with and eat it.
Meccano, you could always cut yourself on a sharp bit of metal, or attack your older brother.
Lego, it was great for catapult ammo. I think it inspired much modern architecture. Is that good?

What are your weapons of choice?
Pen and paper, SolidWorks, CorelDraw, red wine or JD if the brief is very tough.


What is missing from your tool set? 
More red wine. 

Is there anything that would make your design and development process run smoother? 
Clients not changing the brief but also not wanting to extend deadlines or fees owed. That’ll never happen! 

What would you say is the biggest challenge facing designers at the moment? 
The fear of investing in design and the cost of actually putting a new product into the market place.
This does prevent some great ideas becoming reality but also stops some silly ones. 

Could you predict any future trends?
If I could I would be rich and on a beach somewhere warmer than the UK. 

If you were hosting a dinner party who would you invite and why? 
Nigella Lawson, she could bring the food.
Sir John Harvey Jones, he had a knack of cutting through the crap and getting to real issues.
Sir Alec Issigonis, just a genius in his day.
Jane Fonda as Barbarella, what can I say? Blended splines?

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