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Interview with Paolo Tiramani

Home > Designer Interviews > Paolo Tiramani

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

Interview with Paolo Tiramani at Sunday 6th of December 2015
Paolo Tiramani
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?
PT: I'm a graduate of Central School St Martins in Industrial Design and Engineering. I've never done anything professionally other than design its all I've known from an early age.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
PT: The parent company 500 Group which I founded is an intellectual property, engineering and design company, we don't charge fees for design it's a License for royalties. In 2008 we sold some I.P and this gave us greater freedom to become 'operators' as well as Licensors. After a period of discovery we decided to pursue habitat and automotive ventures because we felt we could add value and create a new product categories for the customer.

FS: What is "design" for you?
PT: This requires a book! if industrial means commercial and design means art then industrial design means 'commercial art'. That is to say we have a master and that master is the public and is to be respected. I love pure art but that is not my passion because it is too unconstrained for me. For me the challenge of a successful design solution is one that has the most number of constraints yet is still successful, now that is art for me. From another direction I would say great design is what is left when everything that doesn't work has been thrown out, this is called a commodity.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
PT: Anything that can be rationalized, serve its purpose better, make more people satisfied and made to be beautiful, it doesn't matter what it is.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
PT: There are so many probably I would have to say my iPhone because it shouldn't exist yet.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
PT: My first commercial products were cocktail glasses where the stem was a straw that wound back up for the user, we subcontracted to a laboratory and sold millions eventually making then in plastic, it was fun, called 'screwball' and 'la bomba' of the three glassed interestingly they were the 3 basic shapes triangle, square (in our case a rectangle) and a sphere.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
PT: Carbon nano tubes, robotics, A.I. and the blending between machine and organic that we are at the beginning of. I don't understand some of it that well but it is the future for all of us.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
PT: All the time unless I'm watching a movie, but especially in the shower, in the gym or on my motorcycle.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
PT: The big picture and making sure we're asking the right questions before cutting up the design pie so each issue can be addressed in great depth.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
PT: Excitement and a need to hurry when its going well. steadfastness when its not going well and realizing that if the group thinks long enough a solution will emerge, its inevitable.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
PT: Elation mixed with mild panic.

FS: What makes a design successful?
PT: Its completeness in all disciplines.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
PT: What question does the design need to answer.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
PT: I think all disciplines have their encampments and territories. Design like any other discipline can become partisan and territorial. Its designs job to be the adult in the room to tie all the disciplines together.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
PT: We're living through an incredible renaissance, where more people have more access to do more incredible things than ever in our history and this includes design. Specifically I see design disciplines, which were more compartmentalized before, are bleeding into each others spaces more and more. Its a fantastic thing; where architecture meets biotech and biotech meets mechanics and so on.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
PT: We don't have exhibitions.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
PT: I have a theory that creative minds have lower mental 'fences' to keep out extraneous input, especially visual input. Its kept at a low volume so an individual can prioritize the task at hand. Creatives have more of a problem with that, their mental fences are lower so they get flooded with input and make more correlations that lead to creation. So the answer to this questions is what DOESN'T feed the creative mind?

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?
PT: After the right questions have been asked and the task has been organised it about 4 things: 1 Eking out the absolute most value from each slice of that design whether its cost or logistics etc. 2 Being able to justify every keystroke, if you don't know why you did it, why did you do it? 3 I'll confess to a fetish; I am an absolute symmetricist to the point that even asymmetry has symmetry.. if that makes sense. 4 Precision.

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?
PT: I am Italian originally, went to school in London and am now a constitutional American. I was fortunate to travel all over and it think its very important for designers to get up and go and not be parochial. I was fortunate.

FS: How do you work with companies?
PT: 500 Group uses a licensing model, the concept is simple, we prove a design to industry at no expense to them if they like it they pay a royalty. It's fairly high risk but it's served us well. In our new ventures we are operators so the relationships span individuals to governments and are more multi-layered and complex.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
PT: Kiss a lot of frogs. A resume only goes do far, companies need to 'date' services for a while including design before getting hitched, a trial period that sort of thing. And as with any other product or service common sense applies.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
PT: Ask the right questions. Scope out the project and divide it up. Think about each slice as hard as you possibly can. Make it beautiful.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
PT: 1 Supercar System 2 The checker flooring in my garage. 3 The plastic Grafton saxophone with acrylic clear birds wing cover, played by Charlie Parker (not my one). 4 A pair of unbranded cowboy boots. 5 My turbo charged GSXR1000.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
PT: My schedule like a lot of people breaks down into periods; periods of travel, work, great activity, occasional sloth and exercise.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
PT: Go west, there is so much activity on the west coast. that not to say there isn't opportunity everywhere, there is, but the activity on the west coast of the USA is epidemic. As Willie Sutton replied when asked why he robs banks "that's where the money is" I'm not talking about money I'm talking about the opportunity that is generated by cross breeding of ideas that is happening there, although money doesn't hurt either.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
PT: Creation is the positive, its thrilling. I really cannot think of a meaningful negative, except perhaps being critical a great deal of the time.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
PT: Think as hard as you can about every single issue, before you leave it, did you really really think about it as hard as you can?

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
PT: Vision, invention, an eye for order and line and communication, sounds a little trite but its true.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
PT: It always starts with a pen and anything laying around but after doing it for so long the early stages you work through in your head. Quickly it moves to Solidworks and a legal pad, the legal pad is necessary to put down any random thought in order to stay on task.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
PT: Like most of us I manage my time badly.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
PT: It depends what it is, the auto system has taken a fair size team 4 years and were just entering the pre-launch stage now.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
PT: "I have this great invention can I talk to you about it" about once a month

FS: What was your most important job experience?
PT: Occasional failure.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
PT: Currently we are involved in only 3 ventures American Dream Company, Supercar System and our ongoing licensing activites.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
PT: Its mostly enjoyable, ideation at the beginning and the fruition at the end.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
PT: We do 3 things and we'd like to see them all successful, they will then yield their own additional opportunities organically.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
PT: Designs typically need a single hand at gestation, once the design is a 'toddler' the work load can be divided up among various disciplines and additional invention and creativity added.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
PT: none that I would talk about in this context.

FS: How can people contact you?
PT: info@500group.com

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
PT: I think that covers it.


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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