Hi Leonardo. Do you remember when you felt a crush on creativity for the very first time?
During my entire childhood my parents always instigated me and encouraged me to search for the unknown, to explore different ways of thinking. I always liked playing Lego and drawing a lot, the colors and the strokes helped me a lot to learn how to diversify my vision and way of communicating and I think I’ve been translating, developing this creative side of myself over the years and in the stages of my life.
You said your parents encouraged creativity. Do they work in the creative field too?
Neither my father nor my mother work in the creative medium, but both have always encouraged creativity with drawings, visits to museums and exhibitions, parks, etc.
In general, do you think creativity lies in our genes?
I believe that creativity has been presented to me since childhood, with this and with all the influences and baggage I have been accumulating it only makes me want to explore and discover more about things, animals, humans, landscapes, organic and inorganic. Everything that makes sense or not for us.
Studies & projects
You’re currently at the Arts and Design College of the Pontifícia Universidade Católica of Rio de Janeiro. What studies do you take?
Currently I am studying subjects such as project development, bionics and trends in product design.
How did you choose what to study?
The choice of my course was very much based on the opportunity in which the course could offer so that I could express myself, both in relation to thought and execution. And the methodology of the Pontifical Catholic University allows me to have this dialogue between thought and production, always taking into account issues related to society and the practice of design.
And how would you describe this profession in 5 words so far?
Empathy, planning, creativity, human and collaborative.
What was the first object you created as a student?
I developed an informative zine about the organic foods and organic fairs available in my city that could be shareable. The information side I developed together with my partner and we chose to use paper seed and organic paints, aiming for a material of low environmental impact and that could stimulate its users to behave more healthy producing their own gardens at home.
Must say it’s very thoughtful and nice. Was there any individual projects you had on a side?
From individual projects I have a coffee table and an individual stool in which I presented in the exhibition of new talents of Brazilian design. Each one in a different year and using different manufacturing processes, but the logic of using reused materials I kept in both projects. The coffee table is made from leftover certified wood found in Rio de Janeiro and the individual stool is made from scraps of newspapers for the seat.
You had also designed some jewelry. How did this happen?
I particularly like to be directly related to the production of my projects. The possibility of working with jewelry arose from a curiosity in giving forms to rigid materials such as metals so that you can work with the limitations of the material, but also can express through it. That way, I believe that the universe of jewelry can bring me this experience.
Most of the students builds their portfolio of the projects they created for the studies and during the practice. Do you think it is enough to prove the skills?
Yes. I think every project I develop within college is a good way to understand the steps and how to think in design. However, because the school year is always running, it is important that the student devote himself to the point of understanding the potential of his project and continue it even if the school term has ended.
However world is changing fast. Do you think studies can teach you everything you need to know to successfully live from what you do, or you need to do your own studies on aside?
I believe that my profession will always need dedication and study beyond colleges and diplomas, precisely because the world faces ever faster changes. That way we have to adapt and know new things voluntarily and always remembering that we learn and find knowledge in the other, the experience and experience is something that we should consider as a source of knowledge as well.
What do you think is the best path to your profession?
I believe that the way to creativity, to design is through curiosity. Be willing to learn always and embrace the opportunity to learn from other people in the middle, or even with people who captivate you. From this will, things and thoughts come to be realized in their way, every thing in its time. And the possibility of exploring various fields of this profession is of utmost importance to me and it is what makes me learn more and more and absorb knowledge to serve as background and help me in my training.
In retrospect would you choose internship instead of studies? Why?
As a study in Brazil, the teaching here is a bit different. In this case he allows me to go through internships while I am studying in college. That way I can have both experiences. But for the question I think one complements the other. Although we have design projects and practices within the university, we only realize the real world when we work for it. So the internships are to complement this practice within the university. And on the other hand, only having the internship, practice also encourages us to study and improve our knowledge about concept and context.
Methods, lessons & success
May I ask what are your work methods?
I first observe what is around me, I perceive the situations of the day to day, the actions and the nature, like form of inspiration. From this I begin to develop a thought about what I have observed and relate to recent events and even future projections. From this, ideas are emerging, whether for concepts or commercial projects. Step for generation of alternatives and I am improving according to the analyzes made regarding the drawings, until arriving at an object that meets all the characteristics and parameters proposed. Currently I have developed some more conceptual and always in collaboration with some friends designers who share the same experience and willingness to learn. I believe that this profession is very directed to the sharing of ideas and concepts always working together with the exchange of experiences and values, increasingly making the process of creation richer and more pleasurable.
So you do feel more confident working with a team rather than creating everything by yourself?
I feel more comfortable creating and designing in groups. With the presence of people and work partners I can express myself so that I can exercise my individuality, show my style and trait, but at the same time I have the possibility to interact with other looks and points of view, after all I believe that design we always do for each other in the first instance.
How much the final results are different from the very first ideas/sketches in your experience?
As the process is a very organic thing and it is changeable, sometimes I have to rethink, go back a few steps, reevaluate ideas and go on again. From this, ideas change. In the first moment, the sketches serve to give a dimension and represent values or actions. Aesthetics, within my process comes as a complement to the object, so it is very related to function and dimension. What makes the sketches change gradually.
Inspiring list of a successful people. In your opinion, what are the main 5 things a successful project should have?
Opportunity, purpose, planning, communication and execution.
People say ‘fake it till you make it’. Would you agree or disagree?
I believe that this phrase can be applied in projects that do not imply an effective change of behavior but rather in more aesthetic projects that work more with the form and plasticity of the material. The use of simulation of materials or simulation of scenarios and is valid in the demonstration for a client, but it is important to emphasize that once approved the project, it has to remain faithful to the proposal, without simulations or farces.
Do you think it’s good or bad to showcase photos and videos of how the product was made?
I believe that documenting the creation process in a general way is beneficial to the designer, since he can show his process without denouncing some process or function without much detail. But the more specific documentation of prototype and products is essential for production and quality control once the products made are low scale and handcrafted.
In your opinion, how much of the success goes for a packaging and product presentation?
The photos and mock-ups that I make with the digital and physical models are of great importance when I present some project or idea to the public or the client. The photos can convey everything I need to understand the product, so it is very important to be able to produce images and explanatory videos with a good quality, because they are one of the means in which I introduce and introduce my ideas and projects to the my client. It’s the way I have to translate my personality into my projects.
What about pricing? Most people find it difficult to say how much their creations are worth to make living from it. How do you decide what to charge for your work?
As most of my projects were not for industries and did not arise from customers, the price of each varies according to the time of production, outside material costs. I believe that each project has its own particularity and complexity. As I am currently a freelance designer, I would charge my jobs based on the production price. The idealization and every part of development would be according to my availability, so this would vary. But in fact it is necessary to have a dialogue between client and designer to decide this in the first moments at the briefing table.
What is the biggest challenge you face at this profession?
When work with client or a company is to satisfy what was requested and deliver the best possible result without stressing during the process. But when designing for an opportunity the great difficulty, but what is the great pleasure of this profession, is to connect with the next, establish connections that sometimes go beyond the projects. The important thing is to have the exchange of knowledge, to have empathy. The difficulty lies in finding out the best way to connect with your target audience.
Speaking of audience, do you use social media, media and/or exhibitions to showcase the projects you created?
Yes, I started using the Instagram to show my projects, ambitions and processes, even going through the moments of relaxation between creations.
What you think are the top 5 traction channels for your profession these days?
Internet – Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and design blogs. Magazines and national and international events such as design week, to exchange experiences in person.
What are the best lessons you had learn so far?
I learned a lot about project planning, empathy, representation of ideas by drawing, working with materials, and dealing with clients / project groups.
What are your top resources that helped you at your profession?
Drawing techniques with pencils and pens, volumetric representation with fast prototyping materials, and virtual modeling programs for CNC machines and 3D printers.
Where do you want to go with your career? Are there something you really dream of creating?
As I believe that the design is multidisciplinary and can be introduced in different spaces and places, being able to adapt to different scenarios, I would like to work and experience different experiences in design offices that are linked to social actions or sectors of innovation as well as offices architecture, and intelligent solutions, but I also long for the development of a design collective in the future. In which we would discuss the design, what is, for whom, and would make our conclusions and processes available so that interested people can inform themselves and if possible be part of the family.
Thank you, Leonardo, for sharing your inspiring story with us.
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