Interview with Temirlan Toktabek, Chief Product Officer of Mercku, Canada

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Temirlan Toktabek

Temirlan’s design philosophy lies in the trinity of functionality, visual appeal, and ease-of-use, actively engaging in industrial, and UI and UX design.

Interview with the 2020 MUSE Design Awards Winner - Temirlan Toktabek

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

As Chief Product Officer of Mercku, I’m actively engaging in industrial, and UI and UX design. With over ten years of design and management experience, my design philosophy lies in the trinity of functionality, visual appeal and ease-of-use. I've won the Red Dot "Best of the Best" Award in 2013 and Red Dot Award in 2019.

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

When it comes to design, artists need to invest a lot of emotion and attention into their work, be able to explain abstraction and elicit deep emotional connections with their work. As an artist, I feel these are the fundamental differences between humans and other animals and when I am designing, I can feel the uniqueness of being a human.

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

Founded in Canada's Waterloo technology hub in 2017, Mercku's vision is to make powerful and easy-to-use technology accessible to people around the world. We have two divisions, Wi-Fi and wireless sensing (WiSe), built on our founders' decades of expertise (and over 400 patents) in network technology, allowing us to be innovation-leaders across the industry. My work as CPO is to lead our product and design team in industrial, packaging UI and UX design to create life-changing products.

4What does “design” mean to you?

Design is a means of exploring a better way of life for humans.

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

I enjoy designs marked by subtle observation of daily life and an Eastern sense of control while being exceptionally bold, pushing the real boundaries of design. Two of my favourite designers are Naoto Fukasawa and Philippe Starck.

6To you, what makes a “good” design?

A good design is something that is easy to use, and one with which you can feel the warmth of life and resonate emotionally.

7Describe your design style and its main characteristics.

With over ten years of design, I’ve found that minimalism is my design style. Decreasing unnecessary informational noise provides a more direct functional use to enhance daily life. When that inspiration comes from everyday life, it closes the distance between the product and users, providing a sense of safety and familiarity.

8Tell us about your design process.

With a product solution in mind, the design process begins with thermal simulations. This simulation then becomes a 2D sketch with the concept of the shape and the materials. Then we build a 3D model and build prototypes as we adjust the final design.

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

Absolutely. Growing up, I was influenced by the use of traditional colours, materials and textures in clothing, ornaments and architecture.

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?

We’re ecstatic! Competing on an international stage against a myriad of the most talented designers worldwide is a sound way to test a team's design capabilities and creativity.

Having received multiple design awards in the past, receiving Gold Muse Award 2020 further proves our team’s hard work and innovative product design. Recognition like this is an excellent indicator of Mercku's team's fantastic potential to build for tomorrow's networks and connect the world.

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?

Like the previous series of Mercku Wi-Fi products, we've designed the M6's vents in subtle locations without compromising heat dissipation to maintain aesthetics. To create a sense of speed much like the improvements in Wi-Fi 6, we've designed the outer shell to mimic that of a sports car. Mercku’s M6 Wi-Fi router is the perfect integration of thermal design with hardware, which is why we chose to submit it to the MUSE Design Awards this year.

12What was the biggest challenge with this project?

Heat dissipation is one of the biggest challenges in Wi-Fi router design. Larger product size and additional heat vents support heat dissipation, but we didn’t want users to directly see these structures and damage the product's aesthetics. That is the most challenging part of the project.

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

Winning the MUSE Design Awards this year has given the team and me the confidence that our work has created a deep emotional connection with our viewers and users, driving us to continue to do what we love.

14What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?
Innovation, creativity, and changing lives.
15What makes your country specifically, unique in the design industry?

I think what makes Canada unique in the design industry is the velocity of change that is creating incredible opportunities for creativity and innovation. The new generation of designers defy the notions of the past and explore solutions to the issues old and new.

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

It's very challenging to predict how the design industry will change in the next 5-10 years – the industry is dynamic and changes quickly with the world. However, it is safe to say that design will revolve around, making lives easier while making the experiences more personal.

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

Think critically about your work and go with your instinct. The beautiful thing about design is that the product we make holds a specific place in a person's life, don't forget that!

18What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

I advise students and aspiring designers to think about their work in the context of the user's life. Where does it fit? How much do they interact with the product? How do they feel with they interact with it? Once you know how you fit in someone's routine, you will have a clearer understanding of how to grow your product and present it to others.

Winning Entries

M6 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System | 2020

M6 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System | MUSE Design Awards

The M6 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 system future-proofs the next generation of Wi-Fi and smart home automation while realizing Mercku's three core values...
(read more at MUSE Design Awards)



Founded in Canada's Waterloo technology hub, Mercku's vision is to make powerful and easy-to-use smart home technology accessible to people around the world.

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