Meet The Team: Viktorija Šarlāne
Our new CMF designer Viktorija Šarlāne says she knew she always had a knack for color, texture, shape and design, but had no idea it would lead her to a career in mobility.
“I actually started with interior design in my hometown in Latvia, but it just wasn’t my thing,” Viktorija admits. “So I continued my studies at the Riga Design and Art school, studying shape design, working with different materials and exploring different sculpting techniques. It was really a perfect balance between art and design.”
After moving to the Netherlands to embark on a design degree in the Man and Activity department of the Design Acaedemy Eindhoven, Viktorija went on to work for Mutsy, where she spent nearly five years designing strollers. A serendipitous connection on LinkedIn is what made Viktorija glide onto MODYN’s radar after that — but we’ll get to that later.
Where we pick up the conversation, our new CMF designer tells us she never expected to love stroller design, but really connected with the real world application. “I don’t have kids, so it would be weird if I was really into strollers, right?” Viktorija laughed. “But I knew that I wanted to do something meaningful and functional.”
It’s funny that you started with interior design and ended up in CMF design — because the importance of coloring and choosing the right materials is equally important in both.
“I think in every step along the way, I learned something that brought me to CMF design. With interior design, it was more the colors and textures, with sculpting it was more the way I feel the shape. And then design academy gave me the opportunity to experiment in different fields. All of these experiences definitely brought me to where I am now.”
Why were you interested in working for MODYN?
“I was starting to look for a new challenge, and MODYN had been on my radar, but I didn’t see any job postings for them online. Luckily Gert-Jan and I were connected on LinkedIn, and he shared the open position for a CMF designer at MODYN. I was excited because I knew that at MODYN I’d get the chance to work with so many different, challenging projects.
And then when I finally went in, it was funny, it just felt like the right place. Everything felt right about it, from the team to the products. Plus, the position is something I love to do.”
We know you’re new here at MODYN, but what’s the day-to-day like so far?
“Well from day one, I was already handed projects, which was great because I didn’t have time to over-analyze anything — I just needed to focus on the projects. And that was the best decision ever. Because now after working at MODYN for just a month, I feel like I’ve been here a year already.
As for the day-to-day, I really love that our day always starts with a cup of coffee in the morning with colleagues. It’s really nice to catch up not only personally, but on our projects and stay connected.
I also work with another CMF designer, Mandy, and I think we’re a really great team. We had similar experiences at the design academy and with stroller design, so it’s great to work beside her — as well as the other designers.
I’m also just excited to go to work every day because there are always some new projects and there are always some nice conversations with colleagues. And it’s just a generally inspiring environment.”
So what projects are you most excited to work on?
“Well, I actually still love working on strollers because it’s something I am familiar with. I like to explore and find new possibilities behind them. But, I’m also excited to work on everything from busses to bikes here at MODYN.”
What are you obsessed with in mobility design right now?
“I am really interested in the sustainability aspect. It’s not even a trend anymore, it’s really a must to consider. So, with all the designs I work on, I always like to suggest a sustainable or future-proof option, too. And it helps that sustainability is also important for MODYN.”
So when you’re not working, where can we find you? What are your hobbies and what do you like to do?
“I love traveling and exploring other cities. I have friends all over — from Berlin to Vienna and Turkey. So when I have time off, or even for the weekend, I like to take trips to go see them or explore someplace new. Traveling, seeing new places and trying new food is what I love to do.”
Tell us your dream project to work on.
“I touched on this in the Women’s Day piece, but I think my current goal would be to work on a concept car. I feel like you’d really have the freedom and luxury to explore all the future possibilities. Create future-proof luxury the way you see it. That’s definitely my dream project.”
Be sure to connect with Viktorija on LinkedIn!