Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Ana Piazza ("AP") 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?

AP : Before taking my first jewellery design course in 2004, I worked in an investment bank in the international area. While taking the course, I decided I had to understand deeply about gemstones because I have always had a passion for them. This passion has to do with my father, who is a geologist, and I grew up listening to him talking about minerals. Pursuing this idea, I took gemology courses in Brazil and in 2007 started the Graduate Gemologist (GG) course with the Gemological Institute of America (GIA-USA), which I finished in 2009. Worked in the gemstone department at Sauer, a Brazilian leading jewellery company, which helped me fine-tune the technical aspect of assessing gemstones in terms of cut, clarity and color. However, besides this gemmological expertise, I always imagine a jewellery piece when I see a gemstone I like. After moving to Sao Paulo, I decided in 2010 to focus in the jewellery segment by taking courses on design, silversmithing and creative development in design. Along with that, I started working issuing Identification Reports on special gemstones for jewellers. Later, I became a gemmology teacher at the Brazilian Institute for Gemstones and Metals, function I still have. By the end of 2016, I decided to launch my jewellery brand, Ana Piazza.

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

AP : Creation moves me and makes me feel alive. The reason I became a designer was the desire to create jewellery pieces with natural gemstones that conveyed poetry through the stories that inspired them.

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

AP : I chose to be a jewellery designer.

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

AP : Since I have a passion for natural gemstones, I enjoy designing jewellery.

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

AP : Be genuine and authentic in your creations. Design with your mind free of judgments.

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

AP : In my opinion, a good designer fulfils the needs and desires of the client. A great designer goes beyond, enchants and surprises the client with a creative product.

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

AP : What makes a good design a really good design is the capacity of causing customer enchantment.

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

AP : Each person values different things, however a product with design has value for itself. The client perceives as worth paying a higher price and this perception is shared by society.

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

AP : If I had the time, I would design home decoration products with natural gemstones just for my brand.

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

AP : My dream product is to design a big sculpture with natural gemstones.

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

AP : I do not think there is a secret recipe of success in design, only a recipe. The recipe is to free your mind of all judgements you have and be open to feed your creativity with experiences, exhibitions, buildings, art, dance, music and by observing nature, people and feelings.

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

AP : Oscar Niemeyer and Zaha Hadid are legends to me.

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

AP : My favourite designs are Contemporary Art Museum in Niteroi, Brazil by Oscar Niemeyer and Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku, Azerbaijan by Zaha Hadid. Both projects are breathtaking, provocative and organic. They challenge gravity and their constructions depend heavily on mathematical calculations.

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

AP : Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku, Azerbaijan. The design is breathtaking, organic, sensual and its construction depends heavily on mathematical calculations.

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

AP : To improve as designers it is necessary to be in a continuous learning process and always be open to feed your creativity with experiences, exhibitions, buildings, art, dance, music and to observe nature, people and feelings. All these listed points help your creativity to flow.

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

AP : Before being a designer, I worked in an investment bank in the international area.

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

AP : Design for me is to deliver a creative product that a person needs or desires. However, you can do more. You can enchant the client.

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

AP : All my teachers helped me reach the way I design today.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

AP : Feeding constantly my creativity helped me improve my design.

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

AP : The main obstacle I faced was to free my mind of judgements in order to be open to feed my creativity.

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

AP : Designers should present their work by telling all the stories used as inspiration to design the product. People connect with stories.

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

AP : I am already creating my new collection called Nest, inspired by the feeling of being secure and embraced.

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

AP : My goal is to have a jewellery piece I design displayed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

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

AP : People should expect my designs to touch their hearts and stimulate their imagination through the stories that my jewellery pieces convey.

DL: How does design help create a better society?

AP : When the product designed improves the way people live and do things.

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

AP : I am currently working in my new collection called Nest. I am especially excited about it because the inspiration comes from the feelings of being embraced and secure.

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

AP : The design project that gave me the most satisfaction is the Gabo ring because it has almost all the characteristics that I value the most in a jewellery piece. The ring conveys a story, it has movement, volume and offers interaction. It was inspired by the wish that people experience again the playful side of life.

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

AP : I would like that the design industry educated people on the importance of design, showing them that design might change and improve the way they live and do things.

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

AP : The design field is getting more important day after day because of its relation to creativity. In a world where Artificial Intelligence (AI), technology based on machine-learning algorithms, is growing very fast, being creative makes the difference. Designing a creative product can change and improve the way society does things and live.

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

AP : It depends on the complexity of the jewellery I intend to create. Usually, it takes six months for a new collection to be ready, beginning by choosing the theme until all the jewellery pieces are finished. If it is a custom jewellery piece, the whole process would take 45 days.

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

AP : Since I design jewellery, I start by choosing a theme. Out of the theme, I pick the elements I am going to work with and represent them in my designs of the jewellery pieces.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

AP : My life motto as a designer is to be authentic by not copying other designers. You accomplish this authenticity when you filter everything that you see and experience through the story of your life. What you create and design has to mean something to you. This makes a product different and special.

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

AP : I think design sets the trends.

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

AP : Technology is very important when I design jewellery. The reason is that after drawing my sketches, I design the 3D model using a CAD software to be able to check on any flaws of connection among all the parts or the design itself. After fixing all the problems, this 3D model is used to print a 3D wax model. The 3D wax model is then casted in gold. Most of my jewellery pieces go through these steps. However, there are some that are hand made from beginning to end.

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

AP : I use Rhinogold, a Rhinoceros plug-in for jewellery. I use the software in my Rhinogold classes with my teacher.

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

AP : I think all three of them feed the imagination and creativity of the designer interfering in the outcome.

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

AP : I would like if people asked two questions: what is the story behind my design and what inspired me to create it.

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

AP : When I see a great design, I want to understand what inspired the designer, what is the story behind it. A great design also feeds my creativity.

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

AP : I do believe in co-design. However, I work by myself and design just for my brand.

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

AP : There is a special teacher that was very important to me. She helped me unlock my creativity, free my mind of any preset beliefs and judgements and see everything, things and feelings, as input to provoke my mind to create.

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

AP : Da cosa nasce cosa – Bruno Munari and Criatividade e Processos Criativos – Fayga Ostrower.

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

AP : I developed my skills as a designer taking courses in different areas such as hand drawing, creativity, Rhinogold 3D modelling and gemmology.

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

AP : Zaha Hadid.

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

AP : This is my first award of many to come.

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

AP : My favourites are: color is blue, food is a Brazilian dish made with shrimp, yucca, coconut milk, and palm tree oil, season Spring, thing is a ring I designed called Vido with a central gemstone with an exclusive cut, Brazilian brand Gloria Coelho.

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

AP : I do not have any funny thing I have experienced as a designer.

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

AP : What makes my day great as a designer is when what I imagine creating is possible to produce. I motivate myself by being grateful and feeding my mind with new and different things, experiences and feelings. This way I can deconstruct what is inside my mind and try to create innovative designs.

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

AP : I have always loved to create and enjoyed doing manual art work when I was a little child. However, I ended up working in the financial area, which I also enjoyed. Later in my life, I decided to relive my childhood abilities and invest my time and effort in the jewellery design business. It feels like I am living a dream.

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

AP : I think technology will be so advanced and innovative that humans will be able to wear small powerful wings to fly short distance anywhere. Laser technology will be used to set up the lanes and traffic lights in the sky. All the glaciers will be melted, many places will be covered by water and people will have to live in suspended houses in the air. Humans will be able to be in many places at the same time as holograms. They will be able to live in any planet and visit any galaxy. Design will also play a very important role in the future.

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

AP : I want people to know that I design jewellery with natural gemstones that conveys poetry through the stories that inspire them. Stories based on experiences, feelings and so many things I have ever seen. I love what I do and this positive and vibrant energy goes into any jewellery piece I design.


Gabo Ring

Gabo Ring by Ana Piazza

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