Interview with Siavash Sufinejad

Siavash Sufinejad, born in 1977 in Tehran, Iran, began his educational journey at the National Talent Development Organization, where he nurtured his early skills.

In 1996, he embarked on higher education, enrolling at the Faculty of Civil Engineering at Tehran Azad University. However, in 2001, he made a significant transition, driven by his passion for art and architecture, and chose to study at Azad University of Tehran. He majored in Architecture and concluded his academic journey with a Doctorate in Philosophy, marking his dedication to his passion.

In the dynamic world of contemporary art and design, Siavash Sufinejad emerges as a fascinating and innovative figure. His journey into the realm of art and design is a testament to the powerful impact of multidisciplinary exploration. With a diverse background that spans architecture, interior design, and object design, he brings a unique perspective to his creative endeavors. This blend of disciplines equips him with the ability to navigate the complex interplay between form and function, tradition and innovation, and the tangible and the abstract.

One cannot overlook the array of accolades Siavash has earned throughout his professional journey. His work has consistently received global recognition, from prestigious awards like the European Product Design Award to the IDA Design Competition. Notably, he has been honored with the Paris Design Prize (DNA) and the A’ Design Awards, cementing his status as a pioneer in design.

As the visionary founder of the Sufi Gallery, Siavash has crafted an extraordinary platform dedicated to modern and contemporary Middle Eastern art. His unwavering commitment to championing the rich cultural heritage of the Middle East through this institution is both commendable and crucial. The gallery provides much-needed visibility and support to regional artists, bridging cultural gaps through the universal language of art.

Siavash’s body of work is a mesmerizing interplay between tradition and modernity. His innate ability to seamlessly weave traditional Middle Eastern artistry into contemporary design principles is remarkable. Whether he incorporates elements like wood, stone, or metal into his creations, his pieces consistently captivate with their visual allure and conceptual depth.

What truly distinguishes Siavash is his unwavering commitment to inspiring the future of design. His creations, characterized by subtle minimalism and meticulous craftsmanship, aspire to leave an indelible mark in architecture and design. They serve as a testament to the enduring power of art to transcend cultural divides and foster connections among people.


ZH: Your work is often described as a fusion of traditional Middle Eastern art and modern design. Can you elaborate on how you find inspiration in traditional and contemporary elements and how this fusion defines your artistic style?

Siavash -When different techniques and ideas come together, they create a real work of art. My artworks are based on two main elements: one is the technique I use, and the other is the concept behind it. I don’t claim to be a great philosopher, but when these two elements interact, they produce a piece of art that makes people think. I’ve noticed that viewers often find my work astonishing. The audience’s perspective is essential in evaluating any artwork. It’s not enough for me as an artist to analyze my work; I need to have people look at it from different angles and share their thoughts. My goal has always been to make art a part of people’s everyday lives and listen to what they say. This process is enjoyable and motivates me to create more art.

Blending traditional Eastern art with modern forms and compositions is fascinating. An artwork’s lifespan is almost like human life, and I want to draw from various techniques used in the past and present. I like contemporary audiences and future generations to judge this fusion.

ZH: You’ve received numerous awards for your designs, including the European Product Design Award and the A’ Design Award. How do these accolades influence your creative process, and what do they mean to you as an artist and designer?

Siavash -I can explore diverse perspectives when my designs and artworks receive recognition from prestigious awards worldwide. Winning an award means that my understanding of the contemporary world and my ability to convey my thoughts through my work are on the right track. It shows that I’ve been able to present my ideas and statements in a tangible form within the context of that specific piece, competing with other creative viewpoints. I’ve created something intriguing when I receive an award or feedback from different perspectives about my work.

I’ve always had inner doubts about my artwork, and one of my pieces is even named “Doubt.” This has led me to believe that there’s nothing eternally valuable, and the acceptance of a piece of art by society is what truly matters. When many viewers look at and judge my work, they transform it through their observations and judgments.

ZH: You have a background in architecture, interior design, and object design. How do these disciplines inform your multidisciplinary approach to art and design, and how do they intersect in your work?

Siavash -Everything from poetry to social actions holds the essence of design. We live in an era where artificial intelligence is a powerful tool for visualizing ideas, but creating meaning and focusing on values can only be pursued by artists and designers. Ideas can fade, be forgotten, and possibly regain attention years later. The viewer and audience play a part in creating a work of art. I want this intersection to remain ambiguous because it doesn’t matter in which field you make a piece; finding meaning in everything you encounter in life matters. Evaluate that meaning and present it to your audience through a product, sculpture, or space design. This is why I’ve ventured into creating everything from rings to architectural designs, sculpting, and various objects. I question and doubt things. So, I create works that won’t make me doubt because they didn’t exist before. They originate from the same spirit that prevails in my era.

ZH: Your mission involves bridging cultures from the Middle East to other parts of the world through design and art. Can you share some examples of how your work has achieved this mission and promoted peace among diverse communities?

Siavash – Absolutely, my mission is about connecting people. I come from the East, where I was born and raised. Humans need connection and unity, and I strive to be a force for peace in my life. When people understand each other’s cultures and art, engaging in conflicts, breaking, or destroying becomes harder. It’s our fears that lead us to harm others. Therefore, art can promote peace by fostering familiarity and closeness. It can naturally facilitate dialogues between civilizations.

Before I delve into any idea and its aesthetic aspects, I ensure it aligns with the concept of peace. Throughout my life, I’ve made it a principle not to create anything that contradicts the idea of peace. My belief goes beyond just being about art; it’s about the creators of art in various eras and the conversations they spark among people.

ZH: You mentioned that your duty as an artist is to preserve the spirit of your time. How do you believe your work, particularly in digital art and pixel-based sculptures, captures and communicates the spirit of the digital age to future generations?

Siavash – In the past, different eras were defined by discoveries like fire and the advent of agriculture. Today, if we want to understand the spirit of our time, we need to delve into digital art and media. I tried to step away from tradition and explore digital art. Creating pixel-based sculptures is my way of expressing this understanding. Pixels, as the fundamental units of digital imagery, are a symbol of digital art and our contemporary age, representing the fusion of technology and creativity.

These sculptures aren’t just about aesthetics; they reflect our time. They may seem contradictory in their creation, but I’ve imbued them with meaning beyond their artistic elements. This meaning is my understanding of the spirit of our time.

I’ve also recognized that my works have the advantage of being repeatable. This repeatability makes my art more accessible, breaking the barriers of traditional art confined to museums. I don’t see art as a mere pursuit of status or recognition; I view it as something that can be part of people’s everyday lives, not just in museums but also in their homes. This approach is evident in all my artworks.

ZH: Your use of mirrors and pixel-based art is intriguing. Can you delve deeper into creating art through mirrors and pixels and how this technique represents the current digital transformation era?

Siavash –In Eastern culture, mirrors are not just reflective surfaces. They carry profound symbolic meanings. They are often seen as portals to another realm, reflecting not just the physical but also the spiritual and metaphysical aspects of life. Like wine and words hold mystical connotations, mirrors are symbolic pathways, especially in Sufi poetry. Our ancestors have endowed us with various mirror techniques, which I have endeavored to incorporate into my sculptures and artworks, adding cultural depth and intrigue.

Every artist has a unique world waiting to be discovered and shared. In my teaching experience, I’ve found that to create something extraordinary, one must unlearn and open themselves to new possibilities. It’s perfectly fine to try and fail, but the true essence of art lies in creating something that resonates with your thoughts and perspective.

There’s a time for creativity and a time for execution. When I discover an idea, I strive to bring it to life and present it quickly. My journey of creating art with mirrors evolved into pixelating it over time. This process involves breaking the image into pixels, each representing a different color or shade. This technique physically paralleled the emerging trend in digital art. Later on, based on the reactions of others, I realized I had created something fresh with my signature.


In collaboration with ZH media

Interview by Ali Shahrokhi