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Interview with Stefano Ivan Scarascia

Home > Designer Interviews > Stefano Ivan Scarascia

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

Interview with Stefano Ivan Scarascia at Thursday 4th of May 2017
Stefano Ivan Scarascia
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?
SS: When I was a child, I was used to draw rough perspectives and sections of weird trains. At the age of five, I saw on the fluent Pendolino ETR 460 the sign "Giugiaro Design" and I found out that this “design” would be my path. In the meantime, I was learning music with the YAMAHA method for kids. I soon started to invent and prototype strange musical instruments made of rubber bands and trash like vegetable packagings. After those experiments, I designed some electric guitars, that I prototyped with the patient help of my father during the middle school holidays. Between the design and music increasing careers, musical instrument design started to be the main way to not confuse the others too much. I studied Architecture and Design at the Artistic High School and I later got the BA degree of Industrial Design and the MA Degree of Product Design for Innovation at the Politecnico di Milano. In parallel, I went on increasing my musical competences among playing, improvisation, harmony and composition. I took jazz piano lessons and attended to more institutional courses like the Umbria Jazz Clinics by Berklee College of Music and the Civica Scuola di Musica Claudio Abbado. My Master Degree thesis was a call for the awaited equal rights for black and white notes in the keyboard instrument's interface design.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
SS: I like how today’s world is becoming flexible and multidisciplinary. The aim of my fullrange studio is to cover every creative need, from the whole classic product design to the complete product presentation among visual and motion graphics, audio and soundtracks, exhibition and show. I also offer this single activities as stand-alone services. My design projects have been exhibited at the Fuorisalone in Milan, Ventura Lambrate Fall Edition, London Design Week and XXI Trienniale, reviewed by magazines like Domus, Interni, Case e Stili, Corriere della Sera, and Ottagono.

FS: What is "design" for you?
SS: Design is shaping the artificial environment. I’ve always been convinced that the strange experience of Life is "just" a precious travel-gift we all have been lucky to receive. The only responsibility we have is doing our best to fully enjoy it and to let other people fully enjoy it too. Nothing else. We always interact with two kind of environments: a natural one and a wide artificial one. Among products, songs and civic administration, the artificial environment is fully Designed by us (or people like us) and it can be shaped and re-thinked. Especially when it’s not exactly human-friendly. First of all, it's time to subvert irremovable dogmas and outdated habits, in order to flip upright-down, in an illogical way, an illogical world. Undressed of conventions and worries, we finally can directly go to the real essence of Life, focusing our energies to just search beauty, peace, happiness, love, smile and all of the noblest manifestations of Humanity and Joy. I think the best way to support this aims is to BE a Designer. I said BE and not just DO it: In fact the classic Product Design activity, with Music and Show are just some of my current favorite tools of the wide Design Approach. When I can, I also like to merge them. In the future I’d like to extend more my specializations also to other “Design fields" - as well as cinema, acting, scripting, screenplay composition.. - in order to shape more of the artificial environment.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
SS: I mainly like to merge my product design and music careers designing musical instruments. Design generally works on the interaction and the interface between people and things. The musical instrument is the exemplary interface between the physical human dimension and its most ethereal artistic communication. Following my childhood passion, I also like to work in the public transportation design, in particular trains, trams and metro. In general, I prefer to focus on performative and dynamic devices, everyday objects with any kind of function - hopefully a surprise.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
SS: My first mass realized work was the new external graphic color scheme for the MM2 green line underground trains of ATM Milano. In the 2010, I completely conceptualized and designed the external livery in a revamping project of a quite big design studio: I was so surprised to see dozens of restyled metro trainsets with my livery running everyday under the city of Milan! The same emotion was for the following revamped Jumbo tram ATM 4900.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
SS: I use to mainly focus on the simplification and to maintain a complete and a widely coherent vision. We are surrounded by a lot of inefficient solutions due to shortsighted innovations, obsolete habits, approximations and stratified editing. This makes day after day our lives harder. Even after weeks of exhausting thinking, I always continue to look for a better solution that can be universal and simple in every aspect and clean design language. As well as in music, there’s just the need of well composing with proportions, rhythms, profiles and harmonies.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
SS: I’m really satisfied only once my projects have a kind of impact on the society. In this moment the invention becomes innovation.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
SS: I think that the point is understanding if something is designed or not designed. A lot of bad items that seem bad designed are just not designed, at least in some “forgotten" details. Personal tastes and styles could be really different and subjective, but the minimum is to design everything of a product, and possibly with the same language.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
SS: Between electronics, software and digital networks, the biggest part of our artificial world is becoming immaterial, and I’m happy about that especially in terms of environmental sustainability. In the material world I hope we’ll come back to interact more with the nature, while we’ll gradually move the most of the artificial environment to the software immaterial world. There will be less traditional industrial design and the designer will finally be interdisciplinary and flexible with his unique approach to the whole creation method.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
SS: I last exposed the first prototype my new UpLight Bass string instrument in the Interni Headquarters of the Statale University last April during the Milano Design Week 2017. In the context of the "Fabric-Action" exhibition, there was exposed the special CanaBass version of UpLight Bass, completely made of hemp.

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?
SS: I was born in Milan, proud of my sunny and joyful Salento’s roots. I’m happy about my education in Italy, mother of culture, art and creativity, despite of its diseases. The Politecnico di Milano - in the world-known design capital - gave me a critic and scientific design method, rare to be found in other fashionable design schools in the world. I mostly work in Europe, hoping it will soon become more unified and simplified in administration and bureaucracy.

FS: How do you work with companies?
SS: I mainly work for companies as a freelance professional, managing entire projects or offering specified services from the most abstract and creative - like concept and visioning - to the most technical - like 3D CAD and reverse modeling. I work for the representation and the advertisement of their product. I also propose them new products I develop my myself.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
SS: Don’t look for specialized designers, fanatic just of product and shape, but search instead complex creative professionals with a wider vision. They can however offer highly specialized services, thank to their essential passion and deep care. Do not rely on quantitative data like age and years of professional experience, but consider the wisdom of the person from his sight.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
SS: A Valentina typewriting machine, a Fender Rhodes electric piano, a Vox amplifier, an old trombone I brought from New Orleans and a loud drum I brought from the Rio Carnival. There are two more great artisanal objects not exactly classifiable as design items: a baklava string instrument I found in Istanbul and an essential guiro i brought from Havana.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
SS: Each day of my life is a surprise: I can work with the computer at my desk or in an airport, I can be busy for days with music recording sessions, I can be photoshooting a big vehicle for its 3D reverse modeling, I can continue to sleep after playing in a tiring music gig the day before, I can meet some customers or appear at a vernissage with elegant clothes, I can separate the plastic from glass trash or feeding the seagulls. Everything with the same design approach. Everyday is both Sunday and Monday. I know it’s so a messy life, but I never need to dream the awaited weekend, the short summer holidays or the far retirement.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
SS: Working as teaching assistant and university lecturer, I like to suggest to my students to imagine the present - with our objects and systems - as if it was already past. Or future. They have to not take things for granted and they can critically talk about a smartphone in the same way they talk about an old typewriter. For example, “Do you remember when we were used to take the plane from the far airport instead of from our living room?” They have to focus on the essential results we need, forgetting the current technologies and arrangements. They have to just think to their impossible desires: they will become possible sooner than we expect! Many years ago some friends were kidding me because I was fantasticating about cars that don’t need to be owned neither parked for days. You would just find a car in the street, you could drive it and leave it where you want to some other driver. This is today the successful car sharing. The same was for the free streaming music industry. I propose to completely re-think not only the products but also the calendar, the tax collecting, the family, the work, the free time, the necessity of money. Try to flip everything upside-down. As the turntable-car that spins on the fixed vinyl.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
SS: After learned that a designer is not necessarily a painter, the first thing that people ask me is “and WHAT do you design”? I’m always without words in front of this silly question, as like as when people discover I’m also a musician, they soon ask “and WHAT do you play?” I play Music! Unfortunately we always need to tag people with specialized activities and things, possibly just ONE.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
SS: Especially after an unforgettable product design experience at the YAMAHA Design Studio in London, I’m happy to work mainly for musical instrument companies. Especially after winning a design contest of BOMBARDIER Transportation in 2010, I continue to work as transportation designer for railway companies or detailed train scale model companies, following the passion of my childhood. I manage projects for diving equipments start-ups and office forniture companies, as well as installations for events and exhibitions. The interdisciplinary approach for example allows me to design even scene objects for people of the show business.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
SS: I generally like to personally follow all the design aspects by myself, looking for the maximum coherence and clean language. I also like to set collaborations with other professionals and visionary people from other artistic fields.

FS: How can people contact you?
SS: I’ll be happy to be contacted through my website http://www.siscarascia.com and my FB page: http://www.facebook.com/siscarascia.


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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