Martin's research and work are concerned with people's perception and interpretation of space.

He undertakes large architectural commissions that interact with their given space and the viewer through movement.  Alongside this work his practice is also concerned with making kinetic architectural maquettes that slowly investigate themes of repetition, precision and rules. Martin is also the Co-Founder and Art Director of the design label, Laikingland. The work he creates through this company plays with the themes of humour, nonsense and futility.

1. What made you decide to become a designer?

I talk far too fast so it’s my way of communicating.

2. How would you define being a designer? 

A designer is someone who is interested in everything and wants to solve problems, big and small.

3. What’s the best kept secret in the design world?

You can do what you want and people will pay you.

4. What are the most common myths about the design world?

That creative people are lazy.

5. How important is your studio and how do you use it?

My studio is incredibly important, it’s a workshop where I test and build prototypes, a collection of research, a place to meet, a place to eat, a library, an office and a store-room for failed ideas.

6. What’s your daily working pattern (how many hours a day do you work)?

I get there as early as I can a leave as late as possible. Usually 10 hours a day.

7. How regularly do you travel in pursuit of your work?

I travel overseas very regularly, about 6-8 times a year.

8. How important is accident in your work?

Opening up ideas to allow creative accidents to happen is important. An experimental approach is always favorable. 

9. How important is it to establish networks of peers in order to succeed in the design world?

Part of my design practice is collaborative, so I have well developed networks of peers. They are very important as sharing ideas, experiences and triumphs moves things forward.

10. What was the most significant experience you had at art school?

Realising I could do this everyday.

11. What music are you listening to at the moment?

Plinky plinky music – Sparklehorse

12. What book would you recommend to a young design student?

Bruno Munari, Design as Art and Mr Topsy Turvy by Roger Hargreaves.

13. What film would you recommend to a young design student?

35mm Ektachrome

14. Which contemporary designers do you think every design student should be aware of?

All of them, but the most famous designers are not necessarily making the best work.

15. What is the best bit of advice you would give to a young designer?

Eat cake every day.

www.smithautomata.co.uk

Image Copyright Self Applauding Machine, Martin Smith