Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Paolo Demel ("PD") for their original perspective and innovative approach to design as well as their creative lifestyle, we are very pleased to share our interview with our distinguished readers.

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?

PD : Design has always been a great passion of mine. I started studying industrial design at the age of 14 in high school at the Pietro Selvatico art institute, until the age of 19. Also in the same year in which I finished high school I decided to continue my studies in Design at the university at SID- Scuola Italiana Design (in Padua in Italy), which I then concluded after 3 years. At 22 I immediately started working as a designer, and currently it's the job I've been doing for 6 years (as product designer and interior designer). In recent years I have worked in several companies in different sectors.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?

PD : I became a designer because it is something that I felt inside me. When I was 7 years old, the primary school teacher asked in a questionnaire how we would become in the future and what we would do. I wrote "It is still early to say why many things can change over time, but I will definitely design furniture." Maybe it's part of my DNA because in my family they are almost all artists.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?

PD : I chose it, nobody has ever chosen something for me. Fortunately my family has always left me the freedom to choose what to do in life .. and so it was

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?

PD : I like to design anything, also because the beauty of design is just that, there are no limits and above all when designing a new product a new world opens up that was not known before. If I really have to give a preference I prefer furniture in general, which is the field in which I specialized (sofas, armchairs, kitchens, chairs, etc.).

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?

PD : To become a legend you have to chase your dreams, only if you love what you do you can get wherever you want. There will certainly be more or less high obstacles in your path, but no obstacle will ever be high enough to stop your dreams. Never stop and never give up.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?

PD : A good designer is satisfied with the result obtained, while a great designer is never satisfied and perseveres in his work constantly improving it, achieving excellent results. For a good designer, design is a job, for a great designer, design is his life.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?

PD : A truly valid design must be something innovative, it must solve a problem by improving its interaction with the user. Good design is what anticipates the future.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?

PD : If you want to progress with evolution you have to invest in "good" projects, otherwise how can we progress? There have been inventions in the past and projects that have drastically changed people's lives by improving it.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?

PD : If I had time, I would design for anyone who needed it and for those looking for a unique and particular design.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?

PD : The project of my dreams that I have not yet had the opportunity to realize is this "Gloria" sofa that I brought to the "A 'Design Award and Competition" competition, my hope is that a company in the sector is interested in my project to really make it happen.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?

PD : I still do not consider myself a successful designer ... the road is still very long, I am only aware of having a lot of passion for what I do.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?

PD : I am very attracted to Japanese Design, in particular from Naoto Fukasawa, Tadao Andō and Tokujin Yoshioka, I highly value them because they are pioneers of a very precise style, and above all they are attentive to cleanliness and innovation.

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?

PD : There are many designs that I like, but if I have to choose one in particular, my favorite design is Le Corbusier's LC4 chaise longue. It is a great icon in the world of Design, and I have always admired it a lot, it was the first product that I included in a rendering during a university tutorial, chosen precisely because it was a product that always impressed me a lot.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?

PD : My greatest design (speaking of the product) is the "Gloria Sofa" that I brought to the 2020 "A 'Design Award and Competition", it is my most important work because I am very close to it. It has a shape that I like very much and that remains etched in the mind. It also has a very strong history linked to the name that I gave to this product and that makes me even more connected.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?

PD : To improve yourself, you must always be critical in your own projects and listen to the criticisms of others, only in this way you get good results, otherwise you never get a good project.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?

PD : I have always had another great passion, astronomy, a few years ago I bought my first semi-professional telescope. Probably another course of study that I would have liked to pursue is astronomy, or always remaining in the artistic field that I would have liked to be an archaeologist.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?

PD : Design is all for me. It has always been everything. To explain my statement I go back to talking about my grandfather, when I was little he gave me a trunk where inside it was full of small objects, pieces of plastic, string, caps etc., I played with those, that is, I built my toys assembling the pieces, then, growing over time, I have always maintained a certain curiosity for everything around me, I took the objects and looked at how they were made. That's why I chose my study and work path.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?

PD : My whole family has always supported me in what I wanted to do in my life, I could never have paid for my studies alone, so I have to thank my whole family. In particular, my mother who has always been interested in my path and has always followed me on my path. During my course of study I had to face very bad and difficult times with my family, but I learned that you must always strive and never give up.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

PD : Passion, curiosity and certainly a futuristic vision.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?

PD : The obstacles are endless, but none of them were high enough to stop me, so none of these obstacles clouded my vision on my way. My goal has always been higher.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?

PD : A designer must always try to present his work with as much detail as possible, because the customer who looks at it will not always reason with the head of the person who thought it. So it is necessary to give all the information, a complete presentation is always important, starting from the research done up to the final concept.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?

PD : I have many plans in mind for the future, I just have to put my ideas into practice and implement them, I will probably register again for the next "A 'Design Award and Competition" competition, or maybe I could try even more than one.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?

PD : My future plan is to found my design studio to then design my products for different companies. Obviously I'm open to new interesting job offers as long as I'm young. But my biggest wish is to see my ideas come true.

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?

PD : I believe that people who truly believe in me and in what I do hope to always see something new that amazes him, and so it will be, I want to keep improving and the road is still all uphill.

DL: How does design help create a better society?

PD : In order to be a "good design", design MUST improve society, it must bring innovation to the field, being close to people, helping them, supporting them and improving their lives.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?

PD : Right now I am a little stuck with my personal works, because of what is happening with the coronavirus, unfortunately I have an old computer that does not allow me to use the programs I know how to use. Right now I'm very active via social networks, I manage several pages on design and interior design for a total of about 5 million followers.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?

PD : The project that has given me most satisfaction for now is the "Gloria" sofa that I brought to the "A 'Design Award Competition", I had never participated in a competition before this, and the result I got gave me a lot of satisfaction. I have to be honest, I didn't expect it to be voted so by the judges. I am very attached to this product, and I really care that it is made, now I only wait for that if some company will take an interest in my product.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?

PD : In my opinion, design has slowed down in recent years, there are few investments in the formation of this "art". There is a need for innovation in all fields, the world needs it, especially now. So we must also start from education. When I attended high school more than 10 years ago there were no schools that dealt with "Design", there was only the course that I attended at the Pietro Selvatico art institute - Industrial Design (and definitively closed from the following year due to lack of members).

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?

PD : The design in the coming years is increasingly concentrated in the automotive field, due to a necessary technological evolution, the transition from "petrol" to electric. It would be a field in which I would like to design, perhaps the interiors of cars.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?

PD : This question is a bit generic, it depends on the subject, it can take a month or years. The factors are obviously different, such as how many components and how many materials an object consists of. For example, if I have to design a plastic cup, it will certainly be simpler than designing a bicycle, since the glass is made up of a material and a production method (injection molding) while a bicycle has multiple components, multiple materials and different methods. of production that will therefore have to match. In fact, for this reason, for more complex projects, a team also made up of designers and engineers is needed.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?

PD : first of all I try to sketch some ideas on a sheet of paper or 3D modeling on the computer, I try to do this without being influenced by any shape, then maybe I am looking for some possible inspiration in the field of classical or contemporary art that can help me to open your mind. Once I have found the right path then I try to find some variations in order to choose the best one.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

PD : "Design is pure art, design is everywhere and in everything, every object has a story and a project behind it. The Designer is the artist, and his works enter people's daily lives silently"

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?

PD : trends are always created by "designers", from whatever field they come from, so in my opinion design and trend have always coexisted.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?

PD : Technology plays a very important role, as technology (if any) is always that added value that can improve the object, both in performance and in interaction with the user

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?

PD : Technically I use many programs with the computer, for 3D modeling Rhinoceros 3D or Solidworks, for rendering Keyshot or V-Ray. For 2D technical drawing I always use Rhinoceros 2D or Autocad (or DraftSight) while for the graphic part I use a lot of Photoshop for post production of renders or for photomontages, I also use it a lot for the creation of textures. Then I use the illustrator for the vector part and finally Indesign for the graphic layout of the presentations and the final books. In my life I have had a lot of base also in the practice of freehand drawing and technical drawing. I also have a lot of manual skills in creating models and prototypes, I have used many materials for my study models: polystyrene, wood, clay, balsa, plastic, resin glass, plexiglass etc. Coming from a family of artists at home we have a library with hundreds of books on ancient and modern art, obviously also many books on Design and history from which I take some inspiration.

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?

PD : The value of colors, materials, and environments in design is very important, it requires special research, you need to find the right combinations, find the right contrasts and give the right weights. Not doing a thorough research on these aspects can compromise the final quality of a product.

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?

PD : I wish they asked what I went through in my life before I got to that result.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?

PD : A great emotion, if a person manages to achieve a "design" close to perfection it is impossible not to recognize beauty. Beauty also derives from universal canons, if a design arrives it means that it can only be born from a great mind.

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?

PD : Yes, I believe it, my ideal partner should be a constantly curious person, who never stops, especially at the first obstacle (but not even after 100). That he is a quiet and available, but above all humble person, who is willing to learn when he doesn't know, and to teach when he really knows something.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?

PD : Certainly the professors I had in high school and later in university. Probably because they are people who have studied this profession down to the smallest detail, and all of their teachings have led me to improve over time and has always sought my own way.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?

PD : Coming from a family of artists, in our house we have an ancient library full of books on art of all kinds and from every part of the world, both ancient and modern. Maybe it was those books that influenced me the most.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?

PD : I undoubtedly developed my major skills with the university that I attended "SID - Italian School of Design", surely they gave me the foundations for what they then managed to achieve in the work. Then when you start working you acquire even more skills, and deepen in practice what you have always studied.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?

PD : Leonardo Da Vinci.

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?

PD : I'm not famous hahahaha =) (maybe we'll talk about it in a few years)

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?

PD : My favorite color is black, I have many favorite foods, let's say I love the cuisine of my country which is the best in the world, so Italian food in general. My favorite place is a place that I haven't seen yet but that I have as a computer wallpaper for 3 years, i.e. a historic street in Kyoto in japan. My favorite brand is Mercedes-Benz, which I consider one of the giants of world design

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?

PD : One day while I was at work (it was my first job), in a large company, I was assigned to the "design" department, so I was a direct subordinate of the owner, after a few months I went to the technical office, there were about 15 -20 technicians and engineers and one of them asked me for advice. So I sat in his position and helped him, at some point the head of the department arrived, a rather surly dictatorial person, everyone feared him in the technical department (but he was not my superior), he stood behind me and he said "come on Paolo what do you want to do? what are you doing? you can't do anything" (just because I was 21 and I had just arrived), I turned to him and looking him in the eyes I said to him: "sit down, do it yourself so, you know how to do it? do you know this program? " he did not know what to answer and went away. Suddenly all the employees of the department got up and hugged me, nobody had ever answered like this .... let's say he deserved it.

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?

PD : My motivation grows when I manage to concretize what I have in mind, then once it materializes the road is always downhill and my passion grows more and more.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?

PD : I come from a family of artists, my grandfather has entered the "top 100 world artist" and is a very influential person in the art world, my father is also an artist in the field of jewelry and creates unique pieces in the world . I have always had a very strong artistic and creative component, already in high school I studied industrial design for 5 years, and then I continued university at SID - Italian Design School for another 3 years. I always knew what I wanted to do in life, at 7 I wrote a letter for a school assignment in which he asked me "What will you do when you grow up?" and I replied: "it is difficult to say because there is still a lot of time, but I will certainly design furniture and objects".

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?

PD : In a thousand years I am sure that with the climatic difficulties that will upset our planet, we will have already colonized another planet, I believe this will be necessary for the salvation of our species, with the hope of not "polluting" and then leading to the destruction of the new planet. I believe that before 100 years this will happen, technology advances and growth is exponential, hoping that it is the same technology and science that will save us.

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?

PD : I would also like all people who would like to know more about my design to contact me, I will be happy to answer any questions, it would also be very nice if among my visitors there was some company or entrepreneur who appreciated my idea and my design and that he was interested in making it happen, it's my biggest dream. So contact me



Gloria Sofa

Gloria Sofa by Paolo Demel

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