Christian Maidankine

Designer Christian Maidankine shares his leap from architecture to leathergoods and the importance of our daily essentials.

How would you describe your profession and your practice?

I am interested in the process of making something for everyday use – whether this is leatherwork, architecture, or other types of industrial design. In my own life I try to remain truly present throughout my day, and I hope the objects that I design will help people enjoy their daily life.

Has your work changed over the course of your career?

My attitude towards design has changed significantly over the course of my architecture education; I’ve become more confident in what I want to produce. I am persistent in trying to understand the manufacturing process, as it’s an integral part of the object itself. This is why I’ve pursued making my own artifacts and ultimately been interested in leatherworking.

Courtesy of Christian Maidankine

The objects, mainly bags, that I’ve been designing and crafting by hand, have evolved with influences from my education, especially as I work to finish my Master of Architecture  thesis. At this point, the ‘carriers’ that I’m working on have firm, stable structures that are able to stand on their own. While they can be accessories to our life, they have their own identity as well.

What was your “eureka!” moment that made you realize that art/design was the route you wanted to take?

I’ve always liked making things, which is why I pursued an education in architecture. I enjoyed drawing and making models of our design projects, but I still felt a level of dissatisfaction with what I was producing. The Covid-19 pandemic gave me the time to pause and think about what I wanted from the design process, ultimately being drawn to leatherworking and specifically bags.

Is your work inspired by anything in particular? What turns you on creatively?

I am inspired by designers who care about craft, making, and human engagement. When people are truly conscious of these aspects they produce cultural artifacts that people can incorporate into their everyday lives. I appreciate designers who are straight-up and don’t try to sell an illusion. Good work speaks for itself, and that’s what I aim to do.

Courtesy of Christian Maidankine
Which designers or artists inspire you and why?

I am inspired by a vast array of creatives, whether they are in architecture, fashion, or music. Thierry Mugler, Jean Paul Gaultier, David Chipperfield, Lacaton & Vassal, and Steven Meisel have all crafted their work with a clear vision.

What is the name of your 2024 DesignTO Festival installation, and what can attendees expect to experience? 

‘Carriers of the Everyday’ looks at our relationship with our bags, their contents, and how we can transform spaces with these carriers. We are bringing the essentials of home on our daily journeys, and with the bags, we are able to change spaces into compact places of dwelling. 

How long have you been involved with DesignTO? Why is DesignTO important to the creative community, here and abroad?

This is my first year participating in DesignTO, but I have attended many of the events and seen installations over the last few years. I’ve always thought it’s been a great opportunity for local designers to see each other’s work and potentially get to know each other. I’ve met some interesting people at these events, and I’m happy to be able to continue this for 2024. 

Courtesy of Christian Maidankine

‘Carriers of the Everyday’ is just one of over 100 free window installations, exhibitions and events at the 2024 DesignTO Festival, January 19-28, 2024. Visit the Festival Schedule to learn more about ‘Carriers of the Everyday’ and other projects.