Bulbul recently gained a new Creative Director. Not just any Creative Director, but a creative with time served at KiBiSi and Kilo under his designer belt. Yes indeed, Bjarke Vind used to design our watches for our design partner, and he’s now in charge of everything visual-and design-related at Bulbul. Needless to say, this adds significant personal and creative momentum to the company while lending Bulbul the brand a unique, holistic consistency.
We sat down with Bjarke for a chat about how his upbringing in Africa has influenced him as a creative, rational vs. intuitive design and how he views Bulbul as a brand.
When did you first discover your creative streak?
Bjarke: I don’t think I can isolate a single incident that made me realize that I was a creative person. But my childhood in Africa definitely had a major influence. The thing is, when you’re in a place with limited means, you start thinking outside of the proverbial box. In alternative ways. And that actually extends into how I see myself as a designer. I have a problem-solving approach to creativity. When you’re around people who have next to nothing, you try to find ways to circumvent that problem. This meant that we built toys out of clay and used tires and invented our own games and whatnot. That mentality has played a significant part in shaping my outlook and how I design. In the design process, I always have 3-4 solutions present at the back of my mind in case the one I’m working on doesn’t work out.
What are your creative Influences?
Hmmmm, that’s hard. My creative drive doesn’t necessarily come from creative influences. I’m not inspired by a specific music scene or cultural movements in that way. It’s much more random. I am, unequivocally, a visual person. I think visually and get inspired by visuals. It’s all very immediate, which is because I’m a very immediate person – I react to the things that are right in front of me. Having said that, there are certain reappearing themes in my work. Nature is one major source of inspiration. Still, in terms of touchstones there’s no doubt that I feel more ‘at home’ in the design philosophy of Dieter Rams than that of, say, Karim Rashid. I feel a greater affinity with a logical approach than I do with design that’s over the top and overly emotional. For me, the latter is hard to justify. Not only in terms of my own personal taste, but if you take a step back and look at the bigger perspective – the perspective that examines your place in the world, how many resources we have and how you use those resources – there has to be some sort of intelligence behind what you do. A strategy and aim that justifies pulling iron out the ground or using resources to acquire the materials you need. In other words, I appreciate when people put a lot of thought into what they do. That’s the justification.
When you design, is the final result the outcome a long process or does it happen more intuitively?
It happens more intuitively. To be honest, I’m not that much of a stringent process person. I do like to think logically, but my creative process starts in a different, more intuitive place than a lot of the logical, rational Danish designers. I’m probably a bit of both – a hybrid of the rational and the intuitive.
How would you describe yourself as a Creative Director?
In terms of Bulbul, my goal is to give the brand a 360 degrees visual lift. I think I have the skills required to pull that off because I’ve tried to steer my overall creative profile in a multi-faceted direction. I think I’m technically proficient while also having the ability to create seductive design. A lot of designers and creative people can either do one or the other. They’re either 3D graphic wizes focusing solely on the technical side of things or very emotional creative people. I’m somewhere in-between - with an added interest in lifestyle. I think I’ve built a career profile that is nuanced, eclectic and multi-skilled. Luckily, my previous employers at KiBiSi and Johannes Torpe let me play around and hone a wide array of skills, which has played a big part in the development of my skills.
It sounds like you’ve found your creative niche?
I think so. And I think that’s pretty much what Bulbul needs at this point in time. There’s so much to get into product-wise and communication-wise. From very specific design tasks on the new watches to creating a new website that’s up to our standards and meets our collective ambitions. I think I can do or facilitate most of it.
You’ve been involved in the design of most of our watches through your time at KiBiSi and Kilo. How would you describe the development from the first Pebble watch until now?
I think Bulbul has gone from being a guy with a watch to existing as a guy with a brand. With every new release, we add to that to that brand. Another way to put it is to view Bulbul as an image that’s so close to your eyes that you can barely see it. It’s pixelated. Right now, we’re in the process of zooming out, as it were, so we can see the full, clear extent of the brand. Moreover, I really think people are going to get a kick out of our upcoming watches and seeing the watch family in its entirety. It’s a beautiful family with some super interesting variations. It’s going to be a pretty unique design identity with some interesting brand DNA.
What do you bring to Bulbul as a brand?
Well, if you think of a really, nice beautifully designed computer that’s bit old, I think it’s gotten a new hard rive. You’re obviously a part of that too. Also, there are a lot of advantages to having an in-house, creative department – as opposed to shopping those services all over the world. Apart from that, I think I have a good insight into the design of the watches because I’ve been a part of the design process through my time as a designer at KiBiSi and Kilo.
Where do you see us in 10 Years?
In 10 years? I see us as an innovative, worldwide brand imbued with the same legacy as some of the other great Danish brands, designers and companies like BIG and Arne Jacobsen. People will associate Bulbul with a refined way of shouting.