Svein Even Blakstad has always had a photographic memory. His ability for total recall and to picture how things come together in great detail was critical in helping Svein to develop GRIFF’s unique design.
We need to look back to understand ourselves – both our strengths and our weaknesses too. As a child my life was split between a farm and that world of nature, and a boat building workshop with its engines and grease and noise. Both environments influenced me – the former gave me an early interest in how nature designs for simplicity, while the latter gave me a thirst to always find out how things work.
I have a very visual memory, always have done. I remember things in clear pictures, see things in pictures. In fact, even today, I can still remember the family apartment that we left when I was just two years old. I can picture the individual rooms, the furniture, the layout, everything.
It’s the same when I think of words. I think how they look, not necessarily how they are spelt. And I remember people’s faces, maybe not always their names (sorry!), but always their faces. It’s the same throughout my family. Everyone in my family, especially the men, are artists or musicians, they can see things before they come together. That’s what is important in engineering too, you can envisage, imagine what you want to build.
“My biggest strength as a person is probably that I’m never satisfied with anything. I always stretch myself and ask is this good enough or could it be done a better way? And I think that’s the main drive that pushes you forward to evolve and make better products.”
Svein Even Blakstad
When I left home, I qualified in automation and later completed a bachelor’s degree in Product Development and Design. I’ve now worked for some 18 years in technology development both here in Norway and internationally in several companies.
I’m inspired by people who push the boundaries in design regardless of purpose – whether it’s in boats, planes or automobiles. I love design that reflects or has been inspired by the solutions we see all-around us in nature – solutions which have real longevity or sustainability built in.
At GRIFF today, we always strive to create the best product, the best functionality, but we never stop evaluating things, we’re always looking for ways to do something better. That’s when my visual memory can be as much a curse as a blessing, because when I see a problem or a challenge, then it can keep me awake at night until I solve it, until I see how things can come together better!
Of course, in engineering design, it’s important that we not only look forward, but that we also look back too. That’s when you discover lots of hidden treasures. New possibilities, whether its new materials or new software that can make your old solutions even better.
Equally I never tire of looking outwards to nature for ideas and inspiration. I truly value my time hiking in the mountains, and that unique calm you get in the wilds, with no distractions, when you can see both the small things and the big things.
In this mode, I can reflect quietly and more clearly, and I get inspired to make things better and more beautiful. I get in the flow to make things simpler and the best they can be. Because that’s what I think defines good engineering – simplicity. When you find the perfect solution with very few parts, but which really does the job, that is fantastic.
I believe that’s what we’ve achieved with the GRIFF 135. It has an extraordinary design and layout. It is all about its core functions, it has inspiration from nature built-in, but also inspiration from the gryphon and from the military too. That has all come together in a unique package that is very intriguing, very appealing, and which delivers unrivalled performance.
I can see it clearly in my mind right now, visualise it, feel it, every moving element in harmony, every piece invaluable, the whole much greater than the sum of its parts.