Mihai Irimescu: Think Big, Start Small

Architect And Product Designer

by Elizabeth Lavis


19 Oct 2023

Gold Winner in Innovative Use of Mobile Technology 2022
“I am from Romania, and since it’s not the wealthiest country in the world, I learned to do more with less”

Mihai Irimescu is an architect by day and a product designer by night. The Romanian-born creative certainly follows the beat of his own design drum, rejecting an online presence in lieu of working one-on-one the old-fashioned way. “I don’t really like social media,” Irimescu says.

Irimescu is no stranger to making this work, even if the odds are stacked against him. “I am from Romania, and since it’s not the wealthiest country in the world, I learned to do more with less,” he says. Originally Irimescu started off wanting to work in IT and teach, but he discovered his love of design at university. “My teachers shaped my design philosophy, technique, and vision more than anything,” he says.

Irimescu attained success in his dual fields of architecture and design by staying wholly focused. “I always think of one thing; the goal,” he says, adding that coffee helps him stay sharp and balance several different projects at once without getting burned out. Irimescu’s guiding principle is to think big but start small. “In the end, everything is possible,” he says.

"b.maps", Mihai Irimescu

Irimescu’s design process involves plenty of trial and error, soliciting feedback, and coming up with plenty of variations to get the concept just right. “It all starts with an idea. After I have that, there’s a lot of research, hand drawings, and discussions with others to validate it or to receive positive or negative feedback. Then, I create more drawings and prototypes until it’s done,” he says. For Irimescu, the most essential aspect of a design is finding the ideal balance between form and function.

While experience helps him balance strategy and creativity, Irimescu still needs to cope with one challenge all designers face; harsh criticism. “I just listen,” he says, adding that simple dialog often helps bridge the gap between a designer and client conflict. Irimescu’s average design campaign takes between two and three months and involves a lot of patience, client interaction, and testing before it’s ready to roll out.  

Irimescu believes that minimalism will strongly influence design in the future and considers Coco Chanel to be one of the biggest influencers ever in the design world. Catinca Malaimare, whose work focuses heavily on how humans interact with technological tools, is another huge influence. 

Irimescu is driven by the idea that the end user will find his products inspirational and valuable. “Somebody will love the product, or so I hope,” he says. If there is pushback on his work, Irimescu plans to take it in stride. “I will continue to grow as a professional by learning, and facing criticism,” he says. Irimescu’s personal mandates and goals boil down to living, learning, and loving. “I will continue to grow as a person by trying to do what people need, being nice, and loving and living a bit,” he says.

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