He studied architecture in Ferrara, specializes in design after the experience of studying in Copenhagen and is professionally based in Bologna, under the brand Urge Design. Gian Piero Giovannini, who won the New Star Award at the SZ DAY 2013 competition iv Shenzen, tells us about his Bologna of design.
There is a peculiarity in him that strikes us immediately, which is the ability to translate thoughts into neat lines, hence interpreting through forms and volumes the fundamental rules of the world surrounding us. As in the case of Ultravioletto and Cactus, collections of jugs that recall the physical principle of communicating vessels. A project that took him straight to Shenzhen and was awarded within the Student Session of the international Shenzhen Design Award for Young Talent competition, thanks to the network of the UNESCO Creative Cities of which Bologna is a member. The awards ceremony was held on 18th March, 2014 in Shenzhen, where projects were presented in an exhibition at the OCT Exhibition Gallery of the city.
What principles do your projects take inspiration from?
Each project was created in a different way. I do not think that one has always to follow one principle in particular. I love to deal with cases in a different way, or rather, different from the usual. Generally I do not care for forms, but rather I am interested in the creative process by which they are born. The best ideas pop up when I am not thinking too hard about it. I like, once a project is born, to understand what is my inner contribution.
Tell us about Ultravioletto and Cactus, the two projects you presented in Shenzhen.
If I had to sum up the two collections in one word I would choose “simple”. First of all, the idea, the principle of communicating vessels (Water did most of the work); and then the material, glass, easily processable without the aid of special tools.
This simplicity has allowed the creation without too many complications and has meant that the project could be easily communicated. It is not a coincidence that they are called “communicating vessels”.
Shenzhen, you went and you came back. What can you tell us about this experience? What has it left to you?
I think the competition and the related exhibition that has already been held in Shenzhen and which will now be carried around within the network “UNESCO Creative Cities” have been organized very well.
I was struck by the huge deployment of forces: the whole staff, the places, the media. It has been very inspiring getting to know different designers from all over the world, each with its own design, each with their own background.
Did you expect to win the New Star Award? What impact do you expect on your work?
I did not expect to win the prize. The longer you wish for something to happen, the more unlikely it is to actually occur. But I knew that the project was strong. Its strength lies indeed in its simplicity. During the entire creative process, everything perfectly slotted into place and when that happens, it is always nice.
I think the most tangible impact is the recognition the project has received and the resulting force that pushes me to do even better.
From where does your design tour in Bologna start? What would you like the other winners to see on a visit to the city?
Most likely I would try to make them appreciate, and I’m sure it would not be difficult at all, what we now take almost for granted, starting from the porticoes to the mortadella. Needless to go look for those organizations that commonly come to be associated with the design, excellence of Italian industrial production, which are often difficult to use in daily life.
If you were to sketch a profile of the type design of Bologna, how would you put it?
Hidden. There are many situations in Bologna we often omit.
“Recovery: the power of design” was the theme of the SZ DAY 2013 in Shenzhen. Do you think Design can make the world better?
Yes, absolutely. Rather than the world, I believe that good design can help to improve the lives of people.
Can Design revive Bologna?
I do not think Bologna needs to be revived, it should first re-evaluate more what is already there. From this point on, it should continue on its way (an not to try to emulate other cities) and make the difference, because it could surely do it, and it might not be aware of that yet.
This post is also available in: Italian