Design Studio


Interview w/ Robazzo Co-Founder "Tinka" Robev

Back in February of 2017, Robazzo co-founder Tinka (Christina) Robev was interviewed by Sonora Angelina of Victoria Fashion Magazine for a feature piece surrounding the launch of Victoria Fashion Week. Below is the Q&A transcript.

1. What first inspired the idea of Studio Robazzo?

Studio Robazzo began as an artistic collaboration between myself and my partner Andrew Azzopardi after meeting at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture while I was in my second year of undergrad and he was working on a master’s thesis. The first thing we ever made together was a pair of cutting boards for our families for Christmas in 2013, and we realized we needed a name for our “brand”. Robazzo = Robev + Azzopardi, our last names combined. 


2. Would you have expected to do the work you do today?

Honestly, I have never known and still do not know what to expect from future projects! 

3. Your studio combines elements of work and play - what is your work and design philosophy? Does curiosity or playfulness have a role in your designs?

With our studio we have intentionally cultivated a creative fantasy land, and we have found that our team has more frequent and higher quality ideas when the environment is one of creative inspiration. Curiosity and playfulness play a very important role in creating the conditions for new ideas to be born.

4. What products or projects have surprised you or others in their popularity?

The collapsible, lightweight trade show booth we designed and fabricated for Pacific Rim College last year has been shared over 200 times on Pinterest, leading us to recognize a void in the market and experiment with new techniques in the same realm.

5. What diverse extremes across the art world have taken place in your studio?

We have seen it all. Perhaps the most bizarre was a multimedia theatrical performance by Berlin-based HYENAZ which ended in hysterical nudity, as part of the Pretty Good Not Bad festival in 2016. We've also played host to burlesque performances, music shows and other experimental art events.  

6. Have "happy accidents" or unexpected moments influenced the direction of the Studio?

Yes. We call them synchronicities and they happen all the time. Actually, meeting Joseph and helping with Fashion Splash was a giant synchronicity which has basically led us to where we are today. It’s a long story!

7. Where do your design ideas come from?

Our design ideas usually start out as a collective brainstorm, and more often than not revolve around the newest technology at our disposal whether it be a 3D printer or new 3D modeling software. This allows us to learn and grow with every design project, continually broadening the scope of work we are able to take on.

8. What are you favourite mediums?

Personally, I find my strength and passion in graphic design; I love to use colour, geometry and composition to effectively communicate ideas and solve design problems. 

9. What most surprises people about the studio?

People are often surprised about our age; I get asked a lot if I work for Studio Robazzo as people don't assume that a 25-year-old can be the boss!

10. How do measure success? What is your advice to people daring to be different or to start something new?

For me, success is earning a livelihood doing that which brings passion. When I used to work full time at architecture firms, I would spend all my spare time making stuff, doodling or designing posters for the local yoga studio. Now I get paid to do that, and it's so rad! 

My advice for people who are starting unconventional businesses is to not let the fear of ridicule stop you from trying! The fact that it hasn't been done before makes you a pioneer, not a failure.

11. Did the studio idea evolve when you found its current space, or did the space match what you were looking for?

The space was found before we knew exactly what we were looking for, and is now such an important part of our business identity that it's hard to imagine one without the other. The Studio idea is always evolving, but moving and settling into a 3,000sq.ft creative wonderland was definitely a big nudge in the right direction.

Right now one of our biggest constraints is the lack of a loading dock or double door - every project we build has to collapse to fit through a single door. 

12. How is it working as a couple in partnership, and with an open-plan studio with other business partners and collaborators? 

Working as a couple is very rewarding. Andrew and I are actually working on separate projects most of the time, so we still sometimes have to ask each other “how was your day?” when we get home in the evening.

The open plan of the studio is sometimes distracting but always entertaining, and definitely does allow for cross-pollination of ideas. The diversity of work being done in the space makes it the perfect breeding ground for interesting collaborations and allows us to look at problems from several different angles.