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Interview with Emanuele Spano

Home > Designer Interviews > Emanuele Spano

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Emanuele Spano (ES) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Emanuele Spano by clicking here.

Interview with Emanuele Spano at Monday 11th of March 2013
Emanuele Spano
FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
ES: Since I was a kid I’ve been looking for ways to channel my emotions, both positive and negative ones. I also wanted to express my dream to change those parts of the world that I don’t like. With art and design I finally found an answer: create something capable of expressing emotional contents. During my school years I’ve had the chance to meet famous designers, which helped me to find my own way.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
ES: Mine is a “one man company” that includes a wide range of activities: interior photography, interior design, web design, video design & motion graphic. The company is named “I’m where I live” because it is settled in a “Torre Saracena” – a typical architecture of my homeland, the Salento, in the south of Italy. A traditional space that I have powered up with contemporary design objects. As a result, it’s a place for work and relax as well: a balanced mix designed to express my creativity.

FS: What is "design" for you?
ES: Design is a different angle, a peculiar point of view that allows to observe reality in an unconventional way. That is why I believe that initial observation and final result are strictly connected.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
ES: Architectural and interior design projects.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
ES: There is not only one answer to this question. In design I like different styles and specializations: the Elica Design Center’s team for product and architecture (Kappa/ hood Legend Elica); the Bluecadet team from Philadelphia, especially their works related to the online museums management. I also love Segnaprogetto for rendering and Tiwi in the domain of video design.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
ES: On 2008, while I was attending the “Photography and visual Design” master course at FORMA in Milano, I met Marina Carrara, director of the italian architecture and decor magazine “CasaViva”. Marina commissioned my first important job: a photo session in a private house, to be published on her magazine. For that assignment I have also managed the interior design set up for the photo shooting. Meeting Marina has been crucial to define my path as an interior designer

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
ES: I have a preference for the Italian limestone (pietra di Lecce): it has a warm appearance and it’s very adaptable. That said, I enjoy to design by mixing different tecniques and technologies, such as drawing, rendering and photography.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
ES: When I clear my mind of worries, so that I can focus on revealing details in inspirational objects and people.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
ES: First of all I think about the feasibility of the project, assessing its impact on people and the environment.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
ES: I feel like being the master of my own future.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
ES: A deep and refreshing satisfaction, a sense of well-being.

FS: What makes a design successful?
ES: My idea of successful is a 100% eco-friendly project that doesn’t neglet beauty and unconventional style. A balance between goals, expectations and the environment that will eventually host the final result.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
ES: Effectiveness, innovation and relevance with the social and historical background of a specific place.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
ES: To protect and to improve the existing, and to bring new life and function to those objects and spaces that have fallen into disuse.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
ES: The most important aspect is the cross-fertilization of different design specializations and sets of skills, together with the current evolution of the software. Design is playing a crucial role in creating web products.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
ES: My last exibition was at the Elica’s “Designer Lounge”, an innovative stand created by Riccardo Diotallevi for the Salone Internazionale del Mobile (Milano): a multisensorial path where the visitor can see my interior design creations.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
ES: My territory, where I was born and I live, is a powerful source of inspiration with its beautiful nature, the thousand-year history of Muro Leccese, its social context. I read as well several papers of design, always trying to keep myself up-to-date. Moreover, collaboration – with other designers, with public and private corporations and with artists from different fields – is very important to me. It often happens that I don’t immediately have the answer to a specific question or need. The research and problem-solving process itself is a great source of inspiration.

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
ES: Although I often start from an actual detail, usually a naturalistic one, I can’t describe my style with a single sentence. I am certainly open to artistic cross-fertilization and I believe this is very important in our line of work work. Actually I work for a project (workplace and front office of a touristic agency) and my inspiration is by organics shapes. I consider Zaha Zadid's interior design approach a starting point and a crucial model. For what concerns photography, i'm putting into practice Pierpaolo Ferrari's lesson about the use of artificial lights. In any case, I try not to limit myself and to adjust my approach step by step.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
ES: I live in a wonderful medieval town, Muro Leccese, in Puglia. I constantly feel the Saracen and Messapica architectural and artistic influence into my works, crucial references for my visual experience.

FS: How do you work with companies?
ES: By proposing innovative ideas to the company and supporting the customer in every step of the process, from planning to realization. I always try to listen and understand their needs, I don’t take anything for granted.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
ES: I believe that by choosing a designer for a collaboration, a company already reveals to be far-sighted. International contests are a precious tools for such companies, selecting and underlining those designers that would actually provide an added value with their work.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
ES: Let’s sum this up with some keywords: intuition, invention, budget costraints, implementation, achievement. Every single step has several emotional and professional sides, and every time it’s about facing a brand new experience.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
ES: The floor lamp “Cadmo” by Karim Rashid; the “Him&Her” chairs by Fabio Novembre; Pimar objects by Luca Sacchetti; the Cordivari “Hand” radiator by Mariano Moroni; the Jacuzzi wellness system “Alpha” by Pininfarina.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
ES: My day begins at dawn. We could say that 50% of my work takes place in the early morning. I either work in my laboratory (shooting, post production, planning) or attend to meetings with companies, in order to define the projects to come. I usually work until late evening: I think it’s normal when you are really passionate about your job.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
ES: Well, I still feel like being a young designer, with a lot to learn and experience. I think the most important thing for us, young designers, is to propose ourselves not as a simple good or service, but as a necessary and valuable partner. I strongly believe in hard work, because it really makes the difference.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
ES: The most attractive side of the interior designer work is doing a job that gives me a wide opportunity to express my creativity. The deepest limit concerns the economical aspect: we start from an initial project idea that afterwards could be significantly modified or reduced because of budget constraints

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
ES: To always consider myself accountable for my choices and the effects of my decisions.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
ES: An inborn dexterity and a keen eye for details.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
ES: Pencils and pens, sheets of various sizes and weights, photo editing and rendering softwares, camera, lights and a projector.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
ES: In my experience, for a designer is very hard to manage his time: I lost count of the nights spent in the studio and of the business trips set up with just one day notice. But that’s good, because I love what I do, as simple as that.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
ES: Three weeks

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
ES: “Is it very expensive?”

FS: What was your most important job experience?
ES: One of the most exciting work experience I’ve ever had was planning and executing a photographic and editorial project in Africa for Canon. And of course my work for Mondadori, side by side with international names such as Yona Friedman, Peter Gerchke and Pierpaolo Ferrari on the set of Armani, Richmond and BMW.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
ES: I have clients both in the public and the private field. I develop interior design and photography projects with several design and decor magazines: DDN Design Diffusion, Mondadori, Tecniche Nuove Publications. I deal with the design and management of web projects for companies and sports clubs, such as the Betitaly Volleyball, currently in the second league of the Italian national championship; I also make video campaigns for national associations such as the Fratres, a blood donors association.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
ES: I like to design interior spaces that reflect the personality of their inhabitants, because it provides me a better understanding of my clients and their needs.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
ES: I’m taking part in some contests about the workplace issues, hopefully I will realise new projects very soon. I'm also very passionate about photography, by publishing my interior design researchs on Italian and international magazines.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
ES: I single-handedly take care of photographic/video productions, web design and communication. On the design planning front, I work with the graphics and rendering team Segnoprogetto (Udine), one of the partners of my "I'm Where I Live" network.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
ES: I’m currently engaged in the definition of an eco-Museum for Arts and Italian Architecture, a project that I would love to see fullfilled in my region. An innovative structure for architectural, with structural solutions built respecting the environment and non-conventional materials; but it will also be highly contemporary and accessible, thanks to an intuitive and efficient web platform.

FS: How can people contact you?
ES: info@emanuelespano.it - + 39 327 7313923

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
ES: Italian landscape is quite difficult for those who start to career as a designer, in expectation of significant assignments. But I hope and believe that eventually the quality of the work will pay off.


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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