Interview with Michael Dimou, Innovation Lead of Orange Circle, Singapore

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Michael Dimou

Michael’s experience in various industries allows his designs to become workable solutions in a more alternative way.

Interview with the 2020 MUSE Design Awards Winner - Michael Dimou

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your design background.

Michael Dimou is a Mechanical engineer and designer with experience in the packaging / bottling machinery industry, shipping products industry, consumer products, furniture and stationery. Specialization to find workable solutions in a more alternative way.

Experiences and clients include LEGO, Colgate, Bosch, FAW, Mercedes, Lalizas, 1024 Web Solutions, Hybrid Design Studio... 

2What made you become/why did you choose to become a designer/artist?

Everything around us has been designed and invented by someone, and in this way share with us this moment of inspiration. This was a challenge for me to combine my knowledge as a designer and as an engineer.

3 Tell us more about your business/company, job profile, and what you do.

It all started with a message on LinkedIn as there I met my mentor and my friend Georgios Marketakis. He "hired me" as an innovation lead and we co-founded Orange Circle. I can now do the work of my dreams, as we create without restrictions and we approach projects with a more romantic and anthropocentric character.

4What does “design” mean to you?

Design means being able to leave your signature (your mark) imprinted on a project, on a product, on a painting, or on a piece of paper. I want to be able to communicate in multidimensional situations that we do not perceive with the eyes only.

5What’s your favorite kind of design and why?

My favorite kind of design is the furniture design and stationery design, because both types can contribute to the creativity of your work and charge your imagination.

6To you, what makes a “good” design?

Good design for me is when it reminds you of beautiful moments from the past, but also its simplicity to create new memories for the future.

7Describe your design style and its main characteristics.

The design style I use follows the following characteristics: simplicity, transformation in different conditions, and with emphasis on functionality and sustainability.

8Tell us about your design process.

The process I follow has changed a lot in recent years because my mentor Georgios Marketakis has helped me with strategic thinking and empathy with every project. The procedure we use in our company is after receiving the request, where we analyze and map the request and then to create 30-40 ideas at the concept level. The next step is the creation of the ecosystem and then the placement of the most advantageous economic idea (construction) but also the most accessible by users (beauty and usability). It is a variation of the double diamond approach.

9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your design process?

As Greeks, we have learned flexibility, philosophy and technology from the achievements of the ancient Greeks. Which in the temples like the Parthenon, in the theater, in the shipping and in the weapon systems they used are reflected in these characteristics. So, we keep these characteristics to proceed to my own projects with a more innovative look.

10Congratulations! As the winner of the 2020 MUSE Design Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?

The distinction from the 2020 MUSE Design Awards was for our team a trigger to move forward and always create based on anthropocentrism and sensitivity to our surroundings. Especially at a time when the whole planet needs to focus on nature at home and move forward side by side and not face to face.

11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2020 MUSE Design Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

The product we chose to put into the 2020 MUSE Design Awards focuses on the care of the elderly people. This device has the ability to connect to the where caregivers can prevent situations and keep company with people who need it. Due to the character of the project we wanted to show that we need to focus more on the people who need us and that the planet and the new era have space for all of us, after all they were once the way for us.

12What was the biggest challenge with this project?

The biggest challenge was to be able to combine caregiver immediacy with device functionality. Working with Vicky Klimi from, we thought of a variety of concepts and we wanted something impactful yet feasible in the near future.

13How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?

Receiving the award gave a lot of inspiration for next plans in the future, but also recognition for our client Grandmama as well as for our team Orange-Circle. I believe that the style offered by the award creates an environment of innovation and ingenuity as it is a legacy for the next designers and projects.

14What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?

1. The broad scope it covers.

2. That we always try to improve something according to the results of the previous one.

3. That we never stop gaining knowledge to apply it in practice.

15What makes your country specifically, unique in the design industry?

The minimalism that we have been influenced by the Cycladic civilization and the use of alternative materials by nature as the weather has helped us get closer to nature.

16 Where do you see the evolution of design industry going over the next 5-10 years?

I predict that artificial intelligence will help a lot in the search and mapping of ideas and creating predictions for the future, as this will reduce the time by more than half in the preparation of the design.

17If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Design Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?

I advise young people not to stop dreaming of a more beautiful world, because hope is the best tool for design and creation. As mentioned in the ancient Greek myth of Pandora where she was the first mortal woman as the only thing she kept sealed in the box - a gift from Zeus - was hope.

18What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the design industry?

I would recommend that they always be informed about the evolution of situations, try to think out of the box and use their eyes, hearing and speech less, especially when the mind is open to new ideas.

19Tell us something you have never told anyone else.

First you redesign (change) the world, become more romantic with you and the people close to you, and then they will inspire you and everything will happen suddenly.

20Who has inspired you in your life and why?

The ones who have inspired me the most in my life are my parents and grandparents who gave me all the supplies so that I would never stop dreaming. And also, my collaborator and co-founder of Orange-Circle, Georgios Makretakis, as every time we work together through allegories, stories of the past and experience inspires me to be more creative and to design without limits.

21What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

There is no key to success, there is will and constant effort, as every time you exceed your limits and develop innovative skills.

22Do you have anything else you would like to add to the interview?

I would like to add that we can redesign our world only if we have someone we love and someone we want to give a better future than the past.

Winning Entries

Gaima (Grand AI Mama) at Home Aid | 2020

Gaima (Grand AI Mama) at Home Aid | MUSE Design Awards

Grandmama is a an online platforms that connects elderly with home care providers, nurses, physical therapists, etc. Grandmama...
(read more at MUSE Design Awards)

Orange Circle

Orange Circle is a collaboration with S.POINT Shanghai that bring over 20 years of product innovation and design experience to their clients.