citizen torben

Posted on September 17, 2005



shortcut talks to Torben Kasimzade, marketing director for design icon stelton and inveterate topolino fanatic. 

You’re originally from Germany – what were you doing there?

Not much – the last six years I lived abroad and inbetween that time I worked for only three months in Berlin for a pre-opening of a Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotel. That’s also the reason why I came around – the hotel-industry gave me the opportunity to leave Germany and find quickly work abroad. Not that I wanted to, but after the first year in the US I kind of liked to live outside Germany.

What does your new life look like up in northern europe? colder?

Warmer in fact, just bought a new sweater! My new life is sort of a life-work balance, which I was kind of looking for, after I realized during my time in London that I somehow became a work-aholic on the island and that I need to change this situation. Now I enjoy my lunch breaks sitting nearby the water, go home kind of punctually every day and discover Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, etc on the weekends – that’s my new life. It’s great and I am very happy indeed!

What’s your take on being a design guru/marketer?

I am not a design guru and in marketing I kind of feel to learn every day something new – as long as this is the case, and I believe it will be for quite a while. It’s a new industry and I have to catch up a lot in the design-world. Get the basics right and built up on them my way of marketing. After one year in the job I feel much more secure and it seems like I can start to work on my own creative ideas much more than at the beginning – that’s an additional motivating factor and I see the first positive developments.

How difficult is it to sell scandinavian design to people who are not from scandinavia?

Before the sale comes the marketing in my understanding of a company’s business system and luckily I can solely focus on that part 🙂 I believe you can’t generalize that question – some of our sales agents in some countries abroad will answer you: "No problem!" Others will say: "Difficult!" I guess the truth is somewhere in the middle – in every country you will find people who love Scandinavian design and others who prefer something else. Yet, how would you in fact define Scandinavian design and is Stelton close to what you think is Scandinavian design? If so – does that mean that someone else will say the same as you just did?

What would you change in Europe if you could? (mentality, law, food…)

Let’s get practical: In Europe I would change first of all England’s traffic system, build-up larger parts of Icelandic forrest, finish the bridge between Germany and Denmark near the island of Fehmarn, help FIAT to build great cars again, support the Greeks to be soccer world-champions in 2006 and vote for lower, well, at least "normal" tax rates in the Scandinavian countries. I would also prefer more of a cultural mix, without the nation states loosing their individual attributes – that’s after all what makes Europe so interesting. Among other things…

Anything Germans do better?

Openly and honestly discuss their own history.

What are your plans for the near future apart from world domination?

"World peace!" Isn’t that what one normally has to give as an answer like this? 🙂