A lifetime of professional experience, always at the cutting edge of innovation. Circle Project Honorary President tells us his story.
At the age of 18 I was hired by Farfisa, a multinational manufacturer of electronic devices, and this was a fundamental life and work experience to me.
Then I had a serious accident.
I was hit by a scrap in one eye while working. After a hard hospital care phase, I lost my sight.
They offered me other jobs which I resolutely turned down as I had a passion for mechanical design.
You worked your way up.
From specialized technician to workshop manager in no time. When my supervisor retired, the plant director advertised for a specialist to fill my role, but the chief executive officer, who was a mechanical engineer, recruited me saying I was fully skilled.
I then became the workshop, prototyping and design manager. All employees agreed.
Farfisa left a great mark in the history of design.
We were responsible for key projects that obtained great recognition all over the world. One in all: the open-close keyboard.
It was like being in the spotlight. I received several important offers for a career in my sector, but I remained faithful to my land.
In the late 70s, early 80s you had an important meeting with a multinational company:
it was about the design of a washing machine for Electrolux. My team succeeded in designing a perfect appliance requiring no further change, saving precious time and delivering a month before the scheduled deadline. The job almost bordered on perfection.
What was the secret of it?
The timely planning of the entire process including the integration of design, execution, industrialization and certain costs. There was no software program for this. We would use sheets of paper stuck to the walls, thus occupying the whole office and then more rooms.
Are you not going to retire?
I retired in 1998, but never really left my job. It is pure fun to me. I kept offering advice for great projects of large multinational companies.
What is it like to work today?
Work has become more difficult. You have to have a strong bent for learning, a culture based on knowledge and enthusiasm for innovation. It is not granted. You have to build this culture.
Create or copy?
All great designers copy and then add something. The basic concept is that what you have done is already old. You have to focus on the new challenges, or the world won’t move forward.
Look at this (he shows me a racing car model he designed at least ten years ago), I developed this spoiler ten years ago. A large car manufacturer has now installed it on its latest model.
Circle Project is a renaissance workshop where to learn design, process management, and above all the taste for beauty, the culture of products that help live better. A sort of school.
School should encourage practical learning more. After theory, it is necessary to put things into practice and see processes in their concreteness. We should train students to develop learning skills.
An anecdote you are attached to.
A new application for the University of Bologna, in the hospital ward where trachea operations were performed. We managed to replace a silver plate in a patient’s body with a plastic one. A painful operation thus became less invasive. When I say that designing means making life better, I refer to facts like this.