Interview with Raimonds Cirulis by Julia Robinson: What is Design?


Raimons Cirulis is a Latvian interior designer with soul. Cirulis is globally famous for his collection of furniture made from basalt fiber. He features on the Wikipedia page ‘Chair’ for having created a volcanic hanging chair that is a handmade out of volcanic rock: the Manu Nest. Last week the Dalai Lama sat in his design called the Bhudda chair. He is a designer, inventor and physician who is able to bring many diverse disciplines into one. For more of his design go to

What is Design?


Q: Our egos want to be Eternal, is Art simply a way for our egos to extend themselves through time?

We need to define art, certainly the finished product is something that can outlive our ephemeral nature, and these products of a process can be a postulate of the ego. But this is not art, this is the creation of a self image created by the ego.

To create real art one must not be been driven by the ego. True art takes you out of yourself into a place where time and space stop existing. In fact you could say that you become nothing more than a channel for something bigger than us to express Itself through us. Art, in its highest sense, is innocent. Art in its highest sense is Eternity that has grounded into the material for us to be inspired by it, to discover it for ourselves and also within ourselves.

For Eternity is not out of time itself, but it is going so far within time that it stops, you could say like the eye of a hurricane, if we considered time to be wind for a moment, and right down in the centre of all that commotion is stillness. It is when we enter into flow and loose sense of ourselves, and afterwards come out to remember where we are and find that we are surprised how much time has passed. Eternity, and entering into it is what feeds our souls. Ego is what feeds our mortality.

Design is also art. The material life needs art to ground into the material world, often through industry.

Take for example, an engineer who uses 100% of their mind, this is not soul. For inspiration comes from a place outside of the mind. You cannot calculate inspiration, and anything calculated cannot contain spirit. So you could say that good design holds movement within its form: it has spirit.

Jonathan Ive said, ‘To design soething really new and innovative, you have to reject reason’.

From this perspective good design is the same as art. We can call sketching, photography, graphic design, architectural design, ‘design’ but this is not the correct postulation. It is not what you call yourself that allows you to be a designer, it is the process you embarked upon to create an item.

The word ‘design’ comes from ‘de’ and ‘signum’ which is Latin for ‘identifying mark, sign’. That is the true final product, a sign of the Eternal. The process of creation deepens the soul of the designer and the final product, which can be considered a souvenir of the process, leaves others with a sign as to how they got there: by becoming timeless and spaceless and allowing themselves to flow as a channel for the Eternal to express Itself.

When you feel that you have created a piece of art, or a good design, in fact it is not you who has created it, it has been created through you by the real creator (you can call it as you will). I call it the Creative Matrix. You are simply the channel. And like the artist who signs the bottom of the painting or the design product, the Creative Matrix leaves its sign within the finished product so that others may too be nourished by its recognition. Perhaps our only reason of being on this planet is to be nourished by the recognition of Beauty, to give it soul and bring it down onto this, our material plane.

That is why, when you are a designer or an artist and have created true works of art and have been immersed frequently in the Eternal, you often see that artists and designers live longer!

Hug Chair designed by Raimonds Cirulis


How do you see the ‘Creative Matrix’ and how does it express Itself?

Design, as a form, has energy. Form and energy are almost the same thing, only in different states. Like water can be ice or steam or water, from and energy are the same material. Energy is encoded by design so that is why we instantly like or dislike a design piece because it either speaks to us energetically or it detracts from who we see ourselves as.

Form is an energy unit like music is. It allows us to connect to the deepest parts within us and become more aware of our connection with Eternity, it opens up our heart to communicate with the Creative Matrix.

Therefore design that is not created with the soul of the person, but simply cut and pasted from a hasty sketch created in order to make money, is in fact dangerous for society because design holds form. This form is an expression of energy and this energy can impact the public’s sense of self – the ‘I’ – in detrimental ways.

From my point of view design is a creative part of the matrix that communicates with society: it is the matrix’s sign for society to be impacted by. Distorting this message is not nutritious, nor beneficial to anyone, even if you make a lot of money doing so, for the form stays within the mind and the mind becomes prey to the distorted message: we become further away from discovering who we are.

Feeling, touching, sensing good design helps us change our programming closer to who we really are. Discovering who we are is an endless process that done well gives joy, fulfilment and all the real things that we are unconsciously looking for as humanity. When we become lost and off track from who we each are, it creates tension and therefore unhappiness. There is so much bad design in our present society that it is as if we have become used to feeling like this. Good design inspires one to life live outside and inside in peace, joy and happiness. How much of that do you see in society these days?

So design allows this process of discovering deeper connections and truer communication with each of the parts and gives this gift, this sign, to society. Becoming a designer for others comes therefore with a great responsibility. The soul of the designer needs to be as pure as humanly possible.

Detail of design by Raimonds Cirulis

But previously you asked about ego and if it uses art and design in an attempt to become eternal. If the design has been made exclusively to create money, then it is not creation, but money making. The design will be without soul, a mere commodity, as we have already spoken. This type of design, even if it is pretty, can indeed make the life of everyone who uses the item worse off. It is such a temptation in present day society to accumulate instead of choose items that are meaningful. For example there are millions of designs of coffee cups, but only a few with soul. They are ones that you want to drink out of. They are more than just utilitarian. They add to the experience of drinking. How is that so?

Another way that ego can get involved in design is creating items for public recognition and status. This is not a good attitude to design and eventually it is meaningless. Good design, as it is created by the eternal, is eternally meaningful. Status comes and goes, bad design even that which is well marketed, has a sell by date.

We are co-creators. If we believe we are the ones who have created something, then it is probably bad design and the design will not work. If the designer has a pure spirit at the time of creating, and is not thinking, or feeling, but simply sensing with his or her tools, following the unreasonable, simple urge to just ‘go and do’ for no other reason that ‘going and doing’ then the design often works.

But not only that, a good designer is changed themselves by the design process. Form has a heavy impact on the senses which rely information of an undisclosed part of synergy back to us, so being in the creative process can change our own programming. Good design where the ‘I’ is not so present changes our programming to be more in align with nature, whereas bad design changes us to be more like our ‘I’ would like, which as we all know, is generally erroneous. Bad design creates unhappiness.

Therefore design has to be as absolute and perfect as possible, within the skills of the co-creator (the designer). Imagine a house full of good design, and now imagine a house full of bad design…how does each make you feel?

Bios Mini designed by Raimonds Cirulis


Yes, I can imagine. One fills me with a warm feeling and the other of emptiness. It is like this Christmas. I asked my mother for a woolly hat. She had no time, not even to buy. A friend of hers was coming for Christmas and asked my mother what I wanted. So I got a store bought hat from her friend. I didn’t want the hat. It was functional, it was actually quite attractive, but I was looking for something that my mum had made me, something that held her love in it, something that had her unique stamp on it encoded in the imperfections and covered-over mistakes. I wear the perfect store bought hat, but it leaves me cold. How can industry be anything other than soulless?

Well it doesn’t all depend on the designer and how much soul he or she has put into the design, but also how well a factory can create the product and reproduce the designer’s soul.

At present society is moving towards a creative industry where every single item can be made in small quantities – just a few samples – with the same pricing as if it were large serial quantities. You only have to look at things like print-on-design books to see how we are shifting as a society. This ability to create a few products at a time changes everything.

Nanotechnology is being created where the materials are built up by themselves from a signal. It is able to create textiles that copy the human mistakes industrially so that it doesn’t look so industrial to us. Factories in Japan are actually adding in mistakes to their products to create imperfection on purpose.

Society is returning to a synergy with nature. If you think about it, nature’s design expresses like a factory! Nature is an industrial design manufacturing plant! However, despite millions of trees, there are not two leaves that are the same. This is possible because of fractals, which the modern manufacturing process is beginning to duplicate: a program that has built into it the idea that not one single end result will be the same. So in that way R&D is copying nature.

This is the way of the future that society will move in. We buy industrial products because they are cheaper, we don’t buy handicrafts any more, only on special occasion – life has become too complicated, at least at the moment, to stop and make everything by hand. Factories do it so much faster. But at the moment the problem with factories is that they create homogenization.

Nature self satisfies (and we are all part of nature) by creating endless differences. Therefore present industrial design, as you say, could in some aspect be considered somewhat soulless as it copies and pastes the previous item exactly and cannot innovate individual items. But it does not mean that industrial design is indeed soulless. You only have to do a simple Google search on any item and you will find thousands of versions of the same expression, a cup, a plate, a hand railing, anything! Differences exist now in the industry, but it is not yet recognised how the Creative Matrix is manifesting.

Different people create different designs. We are part of nature and each of us is a fractal of that nature. Every design, in this sense, has a right to exist. Each person has to right to design of course! If we were to all design without trying to control the process, with just our consciousness of who we are as an individual, then we would find that every single thing designed is unique. We are all unique and seeing unique things gives the human soul nourishment. We have to learn from nature that every difference is perfect and beautiful in its varying aspects of form and function. It is as Nature is.

Detail of Spring Chair designed by Raimonds Cirulis

So I guess I need to reform my question to: in the manufacturing process how can we make each item unique?

We can create in our consciousness what it is that we are dreaming of bringing into the material world and learn to transfer it to the outer material world. I was going to say the ‘real world’ but the internal world within us is just as real. How we translate this consciousness of the inner world to the outer world at present is poor. In the future technology will directly read from our mind and send the information to the factory line.

Spring Chair designed by Raimonds Cirulis


So in the future there will be no ‘designers’?

Everyone is a co-creator, they often simply do not recognise it. It is daunting to create for many, and it is daunting if you are not used to it to create for yourself for it opens the door to our inner world, it is a mirror to who, at this moment, we have become. If inside we are dark and sinister, we will create, as a pure expression, something that is ugly, or we have to copy what someone else did and it is not our expression. It is hard to cope with what we see in this mirror to the internal world. But as we learn to become less impacted by the ego, we can be more confident creating.

So there would be no shopping? We, when we need to buy a glass, we will simply imagine it and then send the information to the factory? All our items will be an expression of who we are?

Yes, I think this is the future. Already the defence industry have high speed jets that are piloted by will, not by hands; and tanks.

Anything is electromagnetic. Atoms and molecules create this field. For example, this mug here contains 5 million atoms that make up molecules which make up electromagnetic fields from each particle and also from the relationship between each particle. So shape has an electromagnetic unification. If it is there we can read it, and vice versa, if we create that energy in our minds, computers are becoming able to read it and create it in the material world.

Good design has ‘good energy’ in the sense that each of the particles and the relationships between the particles are in harmony.

How would you suggest to the general public on ways to begin this process of creation?

First you have to wish. ‘I want to…’

Secondly you have to put in your will. The will to do something is the work: the work of testing your skills, honing them, and the will to open up the creative part of the mind. It is like we know how to train our logical sides, but this is a training of our illogical mind. We could say that this training of our creativity is what creates culture.

Then just do, allow yourself to make mistakes knowing that there are no mistakes, laugh, and continue creating, until it speaks to you and says, ‘I’m done.’ Then you have your first finished product. Anything! Just make as you feel.

Detail of Raimonds Cirulis’ work


What if I don’t want to be an artist? What if it’s not my path?

Everything is art! Everything is creation! If you don’t want to put your soul into anything then you’ll have a lousy life. Art knows no boundaries. A good engineer, who has to use so much logic, is also an artist. A regular engineer uses only logic. Instead of the soul he or she uses only the brain. The brain can only use what it knows, knowledge that it already has. This type of engineer uses only materials that are already in existence, forms that have already been created and evolved by others. Emotions open the door, the illogical opens the door to change, to something new. Emotions teach us how to relate and evaluate the connections within products and people. Great engineers create the new through the imagination of the soul.

But surely evaluation is logical?

You can use your mind or your soul to evaluate. Your mind can think about it, but your soul is filled with joy when it is a positive evaluation. Yes, and the soul gives us flights of fancy into the unknown. It allows us to travel into the field of the Creative Matrix and that definitely knows everything. It allows the mind to take ideas and concepts from its realm if you are open to it, able to connect. It is like picking fruit from a tree, or rather letting a piece of fruit fall into your lap and then instead of seeing what you want to see, you see the exact apple that has fallen. An apple is an apple, a pear a pear. Maybe you will find a fruit you have never seen: don’t make it into an apple.

You have spoken about how design affects society, how does society affect design?

Design is impacted by various factors. The first, for me, is the social experience of culture, social background and history. By this I mean, what is it that we have all decided together makes a ‘nice item’.

The limitations of our technology and the ability of our technology affects design in the way of what we can do and with what materials.

Furthermore, how to say this? ‘Social future visions’ or we could say the ‘collective imagination of the future’ is very important. What moves society, what motivates society to change, and in what direction? We can go, for example, into further industrialization or into complete self sufficiency. We can all choose to live more in the external world, or the internal world, to foster aggressive consumption or not. The orientation of society affects every individual within that society and this includes the designer.

And finally how individuals translate the signs of the Creative Matrix affects how it is expressed. This is called self development. How skilful are we in transferring the Creative Matrix’s signs and signposts into the material world? Do we listen or do we block the incoming signs? Do we use our minds to change it into a systematic that we already know and can control, or do we accept it purely as it is at the intuitive level?

Kragis, the Viking Chair by Raimonds Cīrulis

You must know Niko Tesla – the inventor who is changing the world? You know he introduced the alternative current AC, X-rays, robotics, the laser, a car that runs without petrol. How did he do it? How did he come up with what wasn’t then and is now? He implemented direct translation from the Creative Matrix into the material world. He has been able to create the wonders of the modern world. He simply listened and allowed the Creative Matrix to run through him, like he did the AC current. He was able to pick up in the pristine form of ideas from the Creative Matrix. He was a super conductor!

As designers we work with our hands and attempt to recreate the original idea in its closest form that we can manage. When we feel that, as Hermes said, ‘As Above, So Below’, when we feel we have got the closest match possible, we feel it and pronounce it ‘finished’. We have created something and fixed an idea from the chaos of the Creative Matrix into matter. And then we move onto the next thing that drops into our laps. The next idea that comes to us asking us to create it in the material form.

Creation is therefore the special condition of becoming the readymade ideal. We do not think of a concept, or try to bring the concept into our work, we become the concept, we are it. We lose our sense of self to something that is more than us. We are each a channel, we each express this readymade ideal differently, uniquely. Design is an absolute creation tool, it is up to us to bring The Absolute into society.

Design is all that exists, recreated on the material plane.

Design is everything!

Bios Hide by Raimonds Cirulis


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