Marek Bereza

Marek Bereza was born in 1982, in London. After originally studying computer science at UCL and working in the computer industry for six years, he took a double Masters in industrial design engineering at the RCA, graduating in 2008.

Since then he has worked as a freelancer, leading projects from interactive installations to electronic toy prototypes and from iPhone applications to air-conditioning control systems.

How would you describe what you do?
I create tools. Some are toys; some are more serious. I make these tools to offer people new ways to express themselves, often musically or artistically. To achieve this I use the medium of software, iPhone applications, electronic devices, or physical objects and instruments.

How did you first get into interaction design and what was the attraction of it for you?
When I was younger, it was the starting point for all my projects. Unconsciously, I wanted to design the experience, the physical manifestation was always only ever a means to achieve this.

I was taught ‘human computer interaction’ during my computer science degree, which I found totally uninteresting, it just seemed like a list of bullet points for people with no common sense or intuition about human interaction. It was only upon starting my MA that I really discovered how to open up the possibilities of it by using a creative approach.

Do you see yourself setting up a studio or are you happier working on your own and as a freelancer?
Right now, I’m happy as a freelancer, but starting a company would get me another step up the food chain, and I’m starting to develop products around my personal projects so it would also be an opportunity to provide a brand for those, rather than just using my name.

What are the most exciting aspects of interactive design right now?
The pace. It’s much faster to turn around a project than it was a year ago because people are continually uploading and contributing free (open-source) code for all sorts of functionality, whether it’s an example of how to interface with a 3D camera or a library for doing stunning fluid simulations.

Raw talent and creativity are becoming less impeded by a lack of technical prowess (or a lack of time), because every day someone creates another tool for the interaction design arsenal and gives it away for free. All you have to do is connect the dots.

Projection mapping has been very popular recently – how do you see that developing in the near future?
People have already started putting interactivity into projection mapping, but it’s usually for individuals, taking it in turns to play. Hopefully in the future we’ll see more pieces where people can interact socially as a crowd. However, maybe people will get bored with projection mapping and move on to the next big thing. Maybe 2011 will be the year of multitouch fireworks or interactive haute cuisine.

You work a lot with ad agencies: what are the main issues that arise?
Apart from the obvious creative ownership and control issues, this interactive medium is a new toy for them and many agencies don’t yet understand how to use it to their benefit. Often, they try to treat it as they would treat the media they’re used to working with, and the whole point of interactivity gets left out.

What’s your next big project?
Something involving skateboard ramps, 3D cameras and projectors. Should be fun!

See more of Bereza’s work at mazbox.com

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