Meet Samar Younes
Central Saint Martins
Theatre: Design for Performance (2000)
Global Visual Director – Coach, New York
What made you come and study at Central Saint Martins (CSM)?
I loved the idea of London’s eccentric and innovative education scene and in particular CSM’s cross- disciplinary mind set. Before CSM I had studied architecture and had always been interested in temporary, ephemeral architecture and public installations. Public Art should be thought provoking and globally engaging. I knew that studying Design for Performance would enable me to create architectural based installation art accessible to all; be it in the private, public and commercial arena.
What was the best thing you learnt during your time at UAL?
I’ve learned how to trust my gut and develop my own signature style and point of view unique to me, I’ve learned it’s ok to experiment and try things outside the box. Much of my work now involves collaborating with various disciplines, which is something that was highly encouraged and cultivated at Saint Martins. My time in London equipped me with great skills, and shaped my strategic approach to project and the interpretation of my view on the world of art and design.
What is it you do now?
I’m currently a Global Visual Director at Coach, focused on the creative development of all 3 D project, such as a Windows, pop ups, special projects, etc. I never thought I’d end up working in retail after studying architecture then Design for Performance at Saint Martins. I stumbled upon this field by accident when I first moved to the US in Miami, where I briefly worked in the visual department of a large American department store, Macys. 6 month later, when I got the job at the lifestyle store Anthropologie, designing their windows, I knew I was meant to do this… I was successfully able to bring art to the masses outside of a museum setting, and through the in store shopping experience and the store’s Windows. I stayed there for 10 years helping the company grow from 26 to 100 plus stores. I learned so much, and worked with so many incredibly talented individuals. Those learnings helped me identify the key attributes that can fully immerse the consumers’ senses in a three dimensional expression of a brand’s identity which I keep developing and using in various forms in my current job.
What advice would you give graduates wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Try to intern at various types of companies to learn the various facets of retail, for example the approach I took at Anthropolgie, using ordinary humble material in extraordinary ways is very different then what I would do at a luxury company such as Coach. Nowadays it’s also very useful to be on the pulse of technology and innovation. It’s also critical to develop strong sketching skills and 3D computer modelling capabilities alongside crafting skills such as woodworking, sewing, sculpting, etc.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
In this field you get to work and collaborate with incredible artists, designers and artisans to come up with very exciting projects. I highly value taking on a collaborative and integrated approach to all designs I work on. My personal point of view is curatorial and strategic, I’m passionate about enhancing the creative retail initiative, with an artful point of view that elevates the consumer’s experience. I am fortunate enough to be able to accomplish that on an ongoing basis; be it at my current job or through consulting work.
What inspires you?
Art with a capital A! Traveling, culture and people. I’m often inspired by the raw materials or ordinary objects as well as technology. I have such admiration of old world craftsmanship, whose technique always inspires recreation and reinvention.
What’s the best thing about living and working in New York?
The beautiful diversity in people and culture, the opportunity to be unique and true, the chance to reinvent yourself and get re-energized by this city that never sleeps when needed be!