We had the good fortune of connecting with Sabina Otelea and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sabina, why did you pursue a creative career?
I think everything I do creatively comes from an itch to interact with the world around me. Growing up, I initially interpreted my desire for creation as coming purely from a place of needing stimulation; it took me years of internal processing and subliminal navigation to realise that this is, in fact, my way of interrogating the world around me. The curiosity I had as a young creative slowly started to transcend into a much more refined and perceptive (if slightly dissective at times) way of interpreting everything that took up space around me. Eventually, I decided to channel my mindless erratic explorations into something that allowed me to not only interact, but also form connections with others, via the conceptual and visual traits I was fascinated with. That is how I carved my path as (what is now my interpretation of) a conceptual designer. My own faltering steps of becoming an artist showed me the influence of systems within the realms of interaction and experience, and outlined a practice where I can freely break or subvert those systems in novel (and, ultimately, really fun) ways.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Over the course of my practice, I have consistently gravitated towards a specific encapsulation of design, one that shapes perception and shifts perspectives. I have worked towards developing a transdisciplinary design process, activated through experimentation and exploration. Through my deep fascination with collective, embodied experiences, I have found exciting drive in exploring the design of pieces and spaces that engage my audience further, by attempting to find meaning in the inconspicuous. I see this drive as a device, one not only for creating effective ways of communication, but visual spaces that facilitate shared experiences between viewers and designers alike. I believe my attention to the physicality of my pieces, as well as my nurturing of the designed experience as a whole, is what drives my designs safely through his exploratory realm. What of the biggest challenges of this is the inaccessible nature of experience; overcoming that requires a deeper understanding of your audience, and refining the visual, as well as physical, communication systems that we are sometimes bound to, and abolishing up the boundaries of what we think is possible design-wise. I see innovation as the powerful driving force of my generation, and that is what motivates me to push my work beyond its limits. Currently, I do that through designing experiential site-specific installations, but I also experiment with digital and print focused spaces.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Shoreditch in London has always had a special place in my heart, ever since I moved to the UK from Romania. I would probably ask them to hang out there, and just people watch. People in Shoreditch always have the sickest outfits, and there’s just so much creative energy there, great place to spend the day.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by a generation of brilliant creatives that enrich the contemporary creative space with unbounded creativity, and provide safe spaces for us to inhabit and collaborate. I am undoubtedly fuelled by the prolific energy of others, especially by my peers that activate outside my bubble of design. I am deeply inspired by my partner, Gonçalo, who is a brilliant cinematographer and whose eyes are attracted to the most overlooked of details, shining a soft light onto the simple beauty of everyday life, as well as my friend, Gaebriel, a designer of incredibly strong character and an activist of violent compassion. I am also fascinated with Rhett Logan’s work (who is actually the person that recommended me for this interview), as our creative relationship has developed organically from experimenting within the same creative spaces, liking the same soundscapes and having a bizarre (at least on my side) fascination with Iceland’s creative mediums.
Linkedin: Sabina Otelea
Photo of the designer by Goncalo Lopes