Creative.5 - Pietro Verona
A frenzy of creativity for your next project.
Greetings space travelers and welcome to our brand-new intergalactic interview! Today’s guest is surely from outer space as he is the owner of a very iconic personal branding that stands up perfectly to his creative work.
Perhaps the best way for me to introduce Pietro, a long-time friend, is to tell you the story of the day when we were still in high school because on this very specific memory, as I remember it as a survivor, we were in the interval of a class waiting for the professor to arrive and there I was, close to the chalkboard talking to some friends when out of nowhere, a white projectile trailblazed through the room like a perfectly aimed lightning bolt and hit me right in the teeth in the exact moment that I was breaking a laugh. As I saw the projectile shattering into pieces, I couldn’t tell what could have possibly happened for me to get hit by a piece of chalk in the teeth until I saw Pietro at the very back of the room with the mischievous smile that he always made when he was up to something.
This is the perfect story to introduce Pietro because it says a lot about how he sees life, as a never-ending game that shouldn’t be taken seriously, it is precisely from that naïve, fun, and naughty nature that his ideas come equipped with the aesthetics and boldness to challenge bland and colorless industrial conventions and designs.
Fortunately, I didn’t lose a tooth and he missed my eye, so I had the opportunity to grow up with both eyes and follow Pietro’s dreamy and relentless pursuit towards a career in Industrial Design. This was a vocation that everyone around him always knew he was deemed to grasp considering that he was always, regardless of the class, sketching his drawings with the persistent goal of improving his lines and techniques in order to be able to create absolutely anything with a pencil and a paper.
Fast forward in time, Pietro has had the opportunity to work on many inspiring kinds of projects, from agricultural vehicles and a prototype for covid masks to luxurious furniture and even his own collection of products tailor-made by him!
Enough chatter though, let’s meet Pietro!
Let’s get started Pietro, where do you come from, how old are you and what languages do you speak?
I'm from a small town in the west of Santa Catarina, where there are beautiful settlements and small towns where Italian and German immigrants settled in the late 19th century. I grew up in Foz do Iguaçu, I'm 26 years old, and I can communicate in English, Italian, French, and German.
Now tell us a little bit about your academic journey, when did you realize that nothing could better fulfill your aspirations than being able to design and create new products through inquisitive and creative industrial design. How was the process of getting your bachelor's degree?
I have always been extremely restless and curious, excited about everything as if living in a frenzy. I have always been a creator and a designer, never quite accepting how things were presented to me. So, as I grew up, I constantly questioned why things were the way they were and always came to the conclusion that nothing needs to be as it is; there is always another alternative.
I remember that one of the first projects that you published was a prototype for a COVID-19 mask for a very necessary project amidst the pandemic. Who was the facilitator of the project and what problems were you trying to solve? Can you attach some pictures?
I participated in this project with extremely competent individuals. I had just finished my industrial design degree and hadn't found an internship in the field yet, so I was available when a doctor and friend approached me to join an extension project at UNILA (Latin American University) where we collaborated with materials engineering students to create a mask for the frontline workers battling against COVID-19 in hospitals. The challenge was to design a cost-effective and fast production mask that was also aesthetically pleasing and ergonomic. We successfully achieved the objective and even won awards in the field of engineering (Brazilian Materials Research Society 2021). It was an experience that greatly enriched my portfolio.
The biggest challenge for many designers who come out of academic life is entering the market, tell us how the process of getting your first position in a design studio. What tips could you give rookie designers who are ready to embrace the world with bold ideas?
It's always challenging for industrial design students to secure an internship in the field. Many end up transitioning to graphic design due to the difficulties of breaking into the market. What I can say is: Make the most of your time in the course to create projects and build a portfolio. Learn as many tools as possible and work on valuable conceptual projects. If you can, get involved in projects as an assistant, even if it's unpaid, just to build your portfolio. A well-presented collection of projects, even if they are conceptual, showcasing the tools you know how to use, is what will help an industrial design student land a good internship. As an example, the project from the previous question was exactly that. I had just graduated and needed real product projects, so I joined as a collaborator in the mask project, which allowed me to build my portfolio and ultimately find work in the field.
It is time to talk about UOB, your own design studio. When did you realize that you needed your own brand to launch your products in a perfect scenario of creative freedom for you to explore your ideas?
My life philosophy aligns perfectly with what I believe in design as well. I always knew the time would come to create my own products. My process and creations have always been disruptive, and if my desire is to apply what I believe in, I knew it had to be on my own terms. You may wonder what this philosophy is that I believe in and defend, and I'll tell you, it's very simple to me, and honestly, I grew up with it. I believe that in life, we should channel our energy and efforts into what moves us, what makes us happy, you know that fire that ignites your soul? That frenzy when you encounter something you love? That's it. Many people end up leaving that behind due to the influence of others. But do you prefer to live your own life, fostering what you believe in, or do you prefer to live up to other's expectations and what others judge as right? To me, this question also applies to design.
Just as you should be original in life, the protagonist of your own self, tastes, and desires, this should also apply to the creative process. I advocate for original creation over aesthetics. The phrase "nothing is created, everything is copied" is nonsense. It is indeed possible to create original objects instead of simply copying references around. In the creative process, it is possible to gather influences, synthesize what matters, and ultimately create a genuine and original piece that still meets market objectives. But people are afraid to think differently from what is considered "correct," whether in life or in design. Life and design are closer than we imagine.
How was the creative process behind picking the name, designing the logo, and turning the idea into an actual project?
One thing I can't complain about in life is having incredible friends who have become great professionals and, consequently, valuable contacts. The creative process for this project was essentially using what I advocate, and what I believe in, synthesizing my personal style and references, and conveying that into a brand design and name. The project is literally and philosophically my personality manifested in a brand, and to achieve that, I had the help of friends like you, who are conducting this interview and are skilled creatives and long-time friends, and André Kochem, another talented creative who assisted me in defining the logo and name aspects. I wanted the name to have no specific meaning; I wanted its abstract phonetics to represent the concept - something original, laid-back, and funny. Personally, I find it cheesy to call a brand that aims to be funny simply "fun." The brand is colorful, just like life and nature. This is, particularly, a statement against the industrial products dominated by neutral colors that are currently in vogue. Historically, in industrial design, colors have always been well-distributed, but nowadays, this has been lost in favor of a minimalist, industrial, and frankly, lifeless ideal.
I heard rumors that you are launching your first proprietary collection of unique products, tell us a little bit about Sassy! Would it be possible for you to ship one of these relics overseas if there is ever a need?
The rumors are true, Thiagão. I'm launching my first collection within UOB studio called Sassy. I start by questioning the reader, what did you abandon when you became an adult?! As we grow up, we leave behind desires, preferences, and even our own essence in favor of an adult life filled with imposed rules, often without concrete or rational reasons. The Sassy collection aims to disrupt this philosophical inquiry about life. The idea is to offer joyful, funny objects that evoke childhood, with organic lines and vibrant colors, encouraging users to touch and even bite the product if they wish. Why not? The collection is not just a call to reconnect with your inner child and disrupt this dull and rule-bound existence, but also a protest against industrial designs dominated by neutral colors, which are often seen as "correct" in the realm of industrial design. Yes! The products will be available for export to anyone interested.
More information can be found in our official website, which is only available in Portuguese for now but I can also be contacted at email@example.com
What would be a dream project for you Pietro? Is there any famous existing brand that you would like to work with or any industry or product that you would like to work with in the future?
The dream job for me would be creating products for the designer and reference, Karim Rashid's brand. His products are truly disruptive and have a strong identity. I greatly admire the originality of his designs and how they are implemented. I see in them retro-futuristic lines and influences from past decades that closely resemble the references I use for my own projects.
Let’s talk about aesthetics! What are some trends or styles that you like to explore in your creative process?
I have a deep love for discussing and immersing myself in aesthetics, which originates from the Greek word "aesthesis" meaning to feel. Human emotions are what drive us, and personally, I am particularly fascinated by the nuances of human relationships, how they unfold, and their incredible intricacies such as mannerisms and behaviors. Now, let's delve into my artistic influences. I have a voracious appetite for history, and as such, I admire aspects from every decade and era. There will always be something captivating to discover from any historical period. However, within the current periods, my main sources of inspiration lie predominantly in the 1950s to the 1980s. This era witnessed the emergence of plastic projects, sleek lines, and designs featuring organic and natural forms. Objects from the 1950s pay homage to streamline design from previous decades, while the 1960s embraced retro-futurism alongside the space race. European designs explored vibrant colors and futuristic organic shapes. The disruptive design of the 1970s and 1980s also piques my interest. However, it is not just objects that captivate me during these decades; I also find inspiration in sci-fi movies, music genres like disco and euro disco, fashion and clothing, architecture, and, of course, the cultural dynamics of societies.
Tell us about some of your artistic references, what are some designers and musicians that feed your creative batteries?
My artistic references always exude a vibrant and often chaotic energy, filled with frenzy, joy, and contagion. The Memphis Group from the 1980s, Karim Rashid, a disruptive designer of our time, Virgil Exner, an automotive designer behind incredible retro-futuristic cars from the 1950s and 1960s, and Verner Panton with astonishing pieces from the 1960s and 1970s, all inspire me. In the realm of music, entire genres serve as my inspiration, especially those that played a pivotal role in shaping contemporary dance music. I even have amazing playlists that will make you want to shed your inhibitions, shake your bones, and sweat every ounce of liquid from your body, which I'd be happy to share. These genres include Disco Music (70s), House Music (80s), Post-Disco (mid-80s), Euro, and Italo Disco (mid-80s).
I just received a transmission from 2025 and exactly 2 years from now, Coffee will be a forbidden drink on planet Earth, what will you do?
As a skilled creator, I would certainly craft a new beverage for my daily routine. It may not be as good as coffee, but it would undoubtedly be original.
If you could only pick one house music to listen to for the rest of your life which one would it be?
All of them, and all of the disco music from the 70s too. And don't question me about the incongruity of the answer, otherwise, I'll brake your neck.
You’ve been THUNDERSTUCK and time-traveled to 2030, what do you see around you? Is it a future with more vibrant colors and pure vitality?
I have staunch philosophical critiques about the future, generations, and technology, and that would make for an engaging podcast. I recommend reading Isaac Asimov's book "I, Robot."
This is a very necessary question and you have to tell our readers… What is the name of your muscle car?
It’s a Brazilian crazy full raw yellow Chevrolet machine! Opala 1976.
(Made in collaboration with
70s Concept Table
50-60s Home Appliances Concept