You’re from Brescia and were in London for many years. Have the places where you lived influenced the products you have designed?
More than what I’ve designed, I would say that these places influenced the way I design, especially London.
My life experience there, including all the people I met, opened up my mind and consequently defined the way I work. I’ve been there for many years, and it’s the place where it all started. I can’t imagine myself starting to work as a designer in a different place.
There’s so much energy in the air that you start thinking that the impossible becomes very possible!
The design approach there is very different and much more open than the Italian one, perhaps because the objects are not necessarily designed for industry. And this is basically the reason why I decided to come back to Italy. My goal is to apply the method I’ve learned there to industrial products…
Brescia is situated at the centre of the third largest Italian industrial area, so it’s like “the land of toys” for a designer. I’m serious; it’s so impressive to see how many factories there are around.
Saying that, you might start imagining a sad, grey, cold city, but it’s not like that. We have 3 lakes, the Alps are near by, and the sea it’s only 3 hours away. The bad side is that there’s not much culture in the air, I mean, it’s not the place where you look for inspiration, but Milan is close enough to go there pretty often.
You work in product design, interior design, journalism and photography. How do you find time for all these passions and does something connect your approach to each of them?
Lately I’ve started concentrating on product design. I’ve never been a photographer but I like to take photos of my projects; being the one who knows them the most, I think I’m able catch their special aspects.
Concerning the writing I like it a lot so for me, yes, it’s a sort of second job, but it’s also fun and a good way to be constantly refreshed by the latest news that can help me to be critical about my own design process.
Regarding my approach, I think you can read it in everything I do, even the way I cook, for instance. My approach is who I am; it expresses my personality, all my limits included.
It seems like the concept of design has grown in the last decade. There are increasing types of design (food, web, interaction, furniture, interior, event…) and there is Design with a capital D (books on Design, blogs on Design…). What is design for you and when did you begin to love it?
I’m not sure if I like all of these capital Ds. As you said, lately everything became a little bit too “design oriented.”
It’s funny because in Italy, with the English word “design” you can define a specific type of object, but this doesn’t work with other languages, where “to design” just means designing something and a designer is just the person who designed it. I like to think of my self as a draftsman or a project manager more than a “designer” with the capital D, in Italy the 2 words have 2 very different meanings.
A designer should be someone who first thinks about how an object can help people, and then makes it beautiful. There should always be a reason to design something.
I notice that a lot of your works are related to the kitchen world, so I guess that you are a good chef too. What dish do you cook the best?
I’m pretty good at making mushroom risotto, but the one I make with prawns, zucchini and saffron is pretty delicious too.
I’ve just been asked to submit my own recipe for a “Designer recipes” book (talking about capital Ds) that will come out next month during Milan Design Week.
It was fun to work on it, I managed to “design” mini burgers made from grapes! Can’t tell you more about it, but I’ll send you the recipe once the book comes out!