Custom designed tv unit to suit the client’s available space and match the CMF of the rest of the furniture. Each component is made in collaboration with local artisans.
Even though I entered the design world from the industrial design door, I’ve always been fascinated with art and graphic design. So from time to time I like to experiment with drawing and painting, as a way to exercise creativity and define my personal style. Here is a collection of paintings made in Illustrator with an old Wacom Bamboo.
LINES AND BLOBS
What can i design for you?
Shangai was born as an exploration in mixing 3D printed parts with other materials. They are a couple of flower holders inspired by the Chinese game of Shangai (or Mikado): the shape comes from the twisting motion of the sticks that is performed at the beginning of a match. They are available in two versions, large and small.
There is a great attention to sustainability: the container for the water is not provided, so the customer can reuse a glass or jar which is already available; the 3D printed part is made of PLA, a biodegradable plastic derived from renewable resources, such as corn starch or sugarcane; the sticks are made of bamboo, one of the fastest growing plants in the world which is also very light and strong; the packaging is entirely made of paper, which is 100% recyclable.
They are provided as a build-it-yourself kit, since I wanted to evoke that certain kind of pleasure that comes from assembling objects, like Ikea furniture or Lego toys. Furthermore, the water container can be changed anytime, so the user can customize the look of the object to suit any interior style.
What can i design for you?
As an exercise in creativity I decided to design the n. 1 most loved objects by designers all over the world: a chair.
The SV18 chair is a tribute to the famous chairs designed by Michael Thonet in the 19th century. The innovative technique of bending solid beech wood is considered a milestone in the history of industrial design.
The goal was to design a chair with the same style and production techniques of the original Thonet chairs, but with a new, iconic a timeless silhouette.
The result is a chair which can be used at home or in a public space, that is simple and elegant to match any interior style. Its elements evoque the classic Thonet style, while sporting a modern and fresh look.
I also added a second version with armrests.
Romia is a piece of furniture designed to create a small herb garden on a balcony or a patio. The idea comes from the need of having the pots fixed in place since I live in a very windy area.
The plants are lifted from the ground to make it easier to water them and pick the leaves for cooking. The drip tray is separated from the pot, so the excess water cannot damage the plant and can evaporate naturally and quickly.
Hand-made in solid fir, treated to stand any weather condition, it doesn’t have any screw exposed to rain that could rust over time. Its simple and minimal design can complement any style while putting the beauty of the plants at the center of the attention; the legs are tapered and lacquered in black to create contrast and make the upper part look floating.
Year 2014-2018 | Client Various
Some of the projects which I worked on during my years at Design Group Italia.
D-Heart is the first smartphone-based electrocardiograph that is simple to use, clinically reliable, portable and affordable. The results are then sent to your trusted doctor through the app via a 24/7 telecardiology service for an immediate diagnosis.
In this project I worked on the product design and the custom cable winding mechanism, on the wireless charging case and on the smartphone app UX/UI.
ABB Basic M
The new offer ABB – basic M – provides a complete solution for use in residential and commercial buildings, including modular circuit breakers, automatic residual current circuit breakers (RCBs), differential current circuit breakers (VDT), load switches, bus wiring and terminal sealing accessories. The design was focused on cost efficiency while giving the product line a modern and clean look.
Trillio is an easy-to-use portable device that reminds people to take their medication and helps them adhere to a treatment program. When it is time to take a medication, Trillio alerts the patient while displaying a reminder. The user can stop the alarm by pressing a button. This device is part of a connected service ecosystem that provides a physical connection among patients, their healthcare providers and pharmacies via a simple device in the patient’s home. For Trillio I designed the UX/UI of the device: the challenge was to create a clear and easy interface for a very low-res e-ink screen.
Blue Lagoon store
The vision for the Blue Lagoon’s flagship store in Keflavik airport, Iceland, was to reflect the ambiance of being in Blue Lagoon Spa. The store was designed to create a nostalgic feeling for past visitors of the lagoon while also providing a fresh experience to new and old clients. The brand was expressed by incorporating physical elements of the lagoon such as the surrounding black rock, which was captured by designing a curved wall built from blocks of locally cut volcanic rock. The environment of rising steam leaving the white water of the lagoon is imitated through the lit glass walls behind the shelved products. Alongside the guidance and expertise of the staff, I designed a space for a sensorial experience with Blue Lagoon products, together with the custom-made furniture used to display the products.
3M CIC Romania
A Customer Innovation Center (CIC) is a space where the public can enter and interact with our client’s brand. A strategic narrative is designed to evoke a dialogue through storytelling and hands-on contact with technologies. Our tailored customer innovation centers are executed in an integrated approach using persuasive design, interaction, and interiors to orchestrate customer inspired innovation and a lasting memory for guests.
Romania’s CIC is the 10th designed and implemented by Design Group Italia. The 3M Romania CIC is an interactive journey for guests to discover 3M technologies, products, and market applications that are found in our everyday lives.
Year 2017-2018 | Client Personal project
To create my personal studio and workshop I led the renovation of a 150sqm space, which was formerly a woodworking workshop.
The space has been divided with a custom made glass wall, to create the office section and protect it from the dust generated by the woodworking machines.
A suspended ceiling has been created to hide all the tubings, while the floor has been mantained as raw concrete, as it was originally.
The style of the furniture is a mix of vintage and industrial: some of the original pieces has been restored, like the chest of drawers below, while others has been custom made, like the pipe shelving inside the office.
In June 2017 I completed one of the most challenging projects of my career in the design field: my own wedding.
The process started one year ago, and it kept me busy during most of my free time outside my ‘real’ design career at Design Group Italia, a design studio in Milan where I work on product and UX design projects. Also, the client was one of the most demanding I’ve ever dealt with: my beloved wife Ilaria.
From the beginning, we decided not to hire a wedding planner and to do everything by ourselves, since we are both complete control freaks. In hindsight it is obvious that we gravely underestimated the task at hand.
To add more complexity, the wedding took place in Liguria, where we are from, and where our families and friends live, while we both live in Milan, so we had to manage most things remotely. Looking back at this experience, however, I can say that I’ve learnt a lot in various design disciplines. Let’s take a closer look.
Experiential spaces and UX design
The first step was to find the church for the ceremony (ours was a typical Italian catholic wedding), and the venue for the banquet. The first was an easy decision, because we wanted to marry in the small church of Campochiesa d’Albenga, the town where Ilaria lived until she left to attend university, and where we stay when we escape Milan during weekends.
The choice for the banquet venue required a bit more scouting. We gathered all the information from weddings we attended in the past, reviews from friends as well as online research, and ended up choosing the Locanda della Torre Antica, a restaurant on a hill near Alassio. We chose it for the amazing view to the sea and the spacious garden, that we could customize with decorations.
After the two venues were booked, we were able to lay down a rough plan for the day and a list of all the things we needed to choose/make/decide.
The style we agreed on was vintage, so every touchpoint of the event had to match that style. With this in mind, we did site inspections for both the locations to start going deeper on the decorations we actually wanted to have.
Since the church is already quite colorful and decorated on the inside, we decided to keep it simple with the flowers and use only white ones with red accents provided by chili peppers. We left it to the florist to decide the composition in details, and dedicated more attention to the decorations of the restaurant. We sketched a map of the venue and positioned the elements that we selected, and at a point became aware that we couldn’t do everything by ourselves, since it was necessary to bring all the stuff to the venue the day before the wedding, and stage everything in the morning.
So we asked our amazingly creative friends Francesca e Giulia (who together run FraGiù) to help, and they happily agreed (and then regretted it).
After all the elements were defined, we all started to look for props to use, like old suitcases from my grandmother’s attic, and vintage mirrors and frames from flea markets. We were also able to get some things cheaply from Amazon, Ikea and Flying Tiger. Some props were made by us reusing old stuff, like the tableau marriage made from old windows frames, hanging candles holders, made with glass parts from a chandelier, and the blackboard-like flavour tags for the confetti (the Italian kind).
Design lesson: When designing an installation or an event for a specific space, make sure to spend time at the location at various times of the day and with different amounts of people in it to make sure you know all the different conditions that may occur.
For instance, the video messages from the GoPro corner turned out to be very dark at night, because there was no light illuminating people’s faces. I feared that could happen but I didn’t get the chance to visit the place at night to verify.
The first thing on the agenda the graphic design of the invitation cards, that had to be delivered about three months before the wedding day. We opted for some classic 10×15 cm cards with main points about the event, and two smaller cards with information about the banquet venue and the wedding list. Since we were already living together and didn’t need anything for the house, we opted for a honeymoon list, so people could pitch in our post-wedding journey to Japan.
I designed three versions with different styles, and asked our best men and bridesmaids for some external feedback, since we obviously couldn’t agree on one proposal. (Surprisingly, I was the one pushing more for the floral-themed proposals). After days of staring at test prints and one iteration, the final design was born.
After that, I designed all the other deliverables for print, always trying to keep a consistent identity: booklet for the ceremony, list of people for each table for the tableau marriage, menus to place on each table, labels to put on the glass containers for the confetti.
Design Lesson: your favourite proposal is almost always not the one that will be chosen by the client. Try not to stick to ideas and learn to know when it’s time to let go.
This was the field where I had the least experience, so I tried to learn as much as possible along the way. Project management of my wedding involved various activities, like:
- Keeping track of expenses and making sure to stay within the budget;
- Keeping track of deadlines, such as to attend the pre-marriage course at the church, to submit documents to the city office, etc.;
- Giving instructions and making sure that all the people involved had the information they needed: the photographer, the band for the banquet (including booking hotel rooms and organizing their travels), the florist, Francesca and Giulia, the restaurant owner, the priest and our families;
- Planning the details of our trip to Japan.
All of this while trying to save some free time for hobbies, friends and families (and sleep).
We didn’t use any digital project management tool except for an old-fashioned paper agenda, so it could always be available for both of us and we could bring it along for quick note-taking during our site visits. We did use a Pinterest board to easily collect and share inspirations for things like the decorations, graphic design, wedding rings, though.
Design Lesson: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong (yes, that’s Murphy’s Law). Try to be prepared and have a fallback plan, and anticipate any possible hitch that may happen along the way.
Luckily for us, we were diligent enough to prevent any major accident that could happen and our special day went by smooth as silk. Ilaria and me were very satisfied with how the whole experience turned out, and our guests were very happy, too.
Looking back, the fact that we spent a year to prepare for just a single day may seem crazy, but it actually taught me a lot about patience, attention to details and caring about other people’s needs. Skills that will certainly come in handy both in my career as a designer and in my relationship as a husband.