About Franco Pupillo

Franco Pupillo deals with design and communication, the great experience acquired over the years by personally following the projects, gave him a knowledge of techniques and materials and a sensitivity that favors simplicity and concreteness. An important feature is that it gives a complete service, in compliance with the company philosophy it helps to improve the image, to better present the products and therefore to sell more.

Interview with Franco Pupillo

Franco Pupillo ("FP") interviewed on Monday, 21 June.

Could you please tell us about your experience as a designer, artist, architect or creator?

FP : I started working when I was very young, after the art institute I enrolled in the Faculty of Architecture in Florence and at the same time I opened the office together with a classmate. We worked in furniture and advertising as well as studying. From there started the long experience that has grown in several directions, based on the requests and trust of the customers and this made me develop a sensitivity that still allows me to take care of every area of communication. I am convinced that every specialization must be coordinated by a director who knows the company's philosophy. We have often grown together with our customers, one of the most significant experiences was with NOMINATION jewelery, we started with a small project and we managed to manage all the communication both Italian and international. A true complete service, we managed advertising campaigns, media buying, public relations, packaging and stands for all jewelry fairs in the world, including Basel. Another important client was THE BRIDGE bags, we worked together for almost twenty years, starting with a project to renew the identity up to the complete management of the communication. For DESMO handbags we created the logo, a four-leaf clover formed with DESMO's four Ds, which then became a chandelier made up of 370 transparent LED-illuminated plexiglass tubes, in the stores we designed for them.

How did you become a designer?

FP : When I went to middle school, I was attracted by manual work and drawing. During the last year I received an invitation to visit the Institute of Art Policarpo Petrocchi of Pistoia, as soon as I entered the school, with my mother, I saw some works that made me fall in love and I decided to attend that school . I had important Masters, who taught me love for the subject and above all that you learn by doing. Later I attended the Faculty of Architecture in Florence.

What are your priorities, technique and style when designing?

FP : Before starting to design I gather information, I try to get to know the company well to understand its philosophy, what distinguishes it and what it wants to achieve. Then I do research to find inspiration and start evaluating the right materials for the project. Normally I value more than one solution that I visualize with hand-made drawings, this allows me to understand and choose what to draw with renderings. I begin to design considering all the elements collected, then I remove until leaving the essential to represent the idea, the one that identifies it for its uniqueness.

Which emotions do you feel when designing?

FP : I feel important, I know that I can do something special, useful, which allows me to express myself with my experience and sensitivity. A great job then generates word of mouth, because all the jobs talk about us. The most delicate and exciting phase is to find the idea, the one that makes the difference, but I also like the verification of materials and feasibility techniques, where you need to be concrete and humble to interact with those who will then have to carry out the project.

What particular aspects of your background shaped you as a designer?

FP : Surely the curiosity, I like to observe and understand how things are made, see the beauty of nature, learn. I love traveling, seeing new places and getting to know them. It gives me excitement to see the differences, how culture affects the development of cities and what happens in the world. Traveling, seeing museums, art, architecture, are a richness, a stimulus for new ideas and for improvement.

What is your growth path? What are your future plans? What is your dream design project?

FP : My path, from the first steps, was based on the knowledge of the techniques to be able to design in a concrete, practical way, also considering the feasibility and production costs. The skill for me is also in making sustainable projects, without waste. I'd like to design a new, functional commercial environment that can interact with online sales without losing the charm of "shopping". But even finding a solution to solve the packaging problem, we are inundated with waste, we cannot continue to pollute the earth, now even the seas are full of plastic and we have lost control. Another dream is to design a golf course, my sport.

What are your advices to designers who are at the beginning of their career?

FP : In my experience, I recommend having courage to express oneself according to one's nature and try to innovate through beauty. Learning the techniques and understanding why you do something, knowing the materials and following the projects to understand how they are made is a professional value that enriches and makes the difference. It is very important to study the masters, to learn from what they have achieved, this applies to everyone, you never stop learning and it is better to do it with good ones.

You are truly successful as a designer, what do you suggest to fellow designers, artists and architects?

FP : The thing I like most is trying to be unique, giving personality to do something new or to improve and do better what is already there. Evolution has its rules, which go towards simplicity and the use of materials helps to innovate.

What is your day to day look like?

FP : I like to see what happens in the world and in design, through internet and magazines, I am attracted by the new that I need to design. I am greedy and I know many places where I stop for a break when I go out for work, I like this and I ask to know the right ones in every place, this is also culture.

How do you keep up with latest design trends? To what extent do design trends matter?

FP : I certainly like to learn about trends in design, fashion and culture, but I prefer to follow my style. When I design, I go towards simplicity and I like to do something that lasts over time, without following trends. Inspiration can come from anything, especially a light mood, designed to recognize and accept the signals that arrive. Fashion and design look forward, I often carry a new concept from one sector to another.

How do you know if a product or project is well designed? How do you define good design?

FP : Experience and sensitivity make me understand if we are on the right path, from an aesthetic point of view then there is a natural attraction that tells us if a project is well done. The proportions, the material, the colors and the functionality are valid. However, confirmation comes from the consensus of others, if a project is well done, it is successful. The errors to be avoided, are above all to do something that is not needed or that looks like something else, instead of imitating it can be improved.

How do you decide if your design is ready?

FP : I think you can always improve a project, it depends on the preparation, the cultural level and the technology that offers us new materials and techniques. But everything has its time and for me a drawing is ready when I have checked the feasibility and the alternatives. The success of a project can be understood from the reactions of the customers during the presentation, even if it is necessary to wait for the judgment of the public for the confirmation.

What is your biggest design work?

FP : Difficult to talk about one's projects is like saying if one child is better than the other, I prefer to talk about projects that have been awarded by A’DESIGN AWARD. The CROMIA stand at MIPEL Milano was born to give a new identity to the company, to design I started from the inspiration of an iconic bag made with trapezoidal walls. With this concept, I characterized the walls of the stand, which change image at each edition in harmony with the showcase (each time the stand looks new), made with printed fabric and LED backlit. The stand is designed as a shop, at the entrance there is a large window, the interior is divided into various areas that allow the display of the bags divided by lines. Behind the window we have the bar area, the shaped shelves are made of lacquered wood, while the display bases are finished with cement-effect paint. The light colors make the bags presented stand out. The concept of the stand was successful and led to the creation of a second stand for the fair in Germany and above all the shops in Corso Venezia in Milan and in Piazza di Spagna in Rome. The stand of Martini Pio of Lineapelle in Milan was born from the customer's desire to make a stand with a modern identity, to represent the leather products of the tannery. I started from a minimal architectural concept and as a distinctive element I created the illusion that the stand was suspended from the ground. In reality, only the entrance is raised, climb the stairs and then descend inside. The bar and the table with glass top have the structure made of Concreo concrete slabs. Three Quercus suber enrich the interior space.

Who is your favourite designer?

FP : There are so many so good that it's hard to choose, however one of my favorites is Raymond Loewy who characterized the twentieth century, but also Philippe Starck. If I had the chance to talk to a designer from the past, I'd like to meet Loewy, surely it would be very interesting. Among the architects, my favorites are Le Corbusier, Calatrava and Zaha Hadid, while in the communication my favorite remains Armando Testa.

Would you tell us a bit about your lifestyle and culture?

FP : I like traveling a lot and every city has its own way of stimulating, apart from the Italian cities, I feel good in New York, Paris and London. Music helps a lot, because it prepares a mood, the musical frequencies stimulate us, but when I get to the heart of the project I normally need silence. Culture inevitably influences design projects too, that's why we need to have interests, we never stop learning. Right now I started a collaboration with ZAMPIERE, a Spanish customer who produces quality men's shoes. A path with a new identity to enhance the brand and increase international markets. We have developed a strategy that involves the support of a stylist to give more personality to the shoes, therefore the presence in the fairs with a higher image and then the development of single-brand stores in the most important European, Asian and American cities. I think good design helps us live better, gratifies us, adapts to the times giving us new and evolved things, often improves our sensitivity and culture.

Would you tell us more about your work culture and business philosophy?

FP : Hard to say if it's easy to work with me, because when I design sometimes I see things that others don't immediately understand, everyone has their mental and cultural form. I work with my collaborators and normally choose trusted business partners with whom I can understand myself and from whom I have a technical contribution. In the people to be hired, I look for skills, passion and desire to learn to succeed. When I talk about my work, we understand that I try to make an iconic project that lasts over time. The main challenges of design are in achieving the goal, doing beautiful things that work and give results to the client, and I feel that they are also my responsibilities. A good designer should be optimistic, transmit confidence on the projects to be addressed.

What are your philanthropic contributions to society as a designer, artist and architect?

FP : I would very much like to make a real contribution to the community through my abilities, I would be very pleased. I admire those who give a part of their time and knowledge to help others.

What positive experiences you had when you attend the A’ Design Award?

FP : When I was contacted for my projects, I was pleasantly surprised, a confirmation that I had worked well. This is gratifying also for the customers to whom I made the projects, they too were pleased to be rewarded. Having won prizes creates interest around my work, it gives it value. Having to describe my projects made me think about things I took for granted. Surely being awarded in a competition like A' Design Award gives a quality visibility that can bring new customers.

Franco Pupillo Profile

Martini Pio Lineapelle Milano Stand

Martini Pio Lineapelle Milano Stand design by Franco Pupillo

Cromia Mipel Milano Stand

Cromia Mipel Milano Stand design by Franco Pupillo


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