About Ermanno Aparo

My specialization is working with a network of companies, creating sustainable and high quality production systems through design. At the academic and research level I have already worked with territorial networks in innovative projects. One case to mention is the tricycle for the city "Raiooo" (published in the magazine Domus). Another case is the Nmettoon wireless kitchen, a self-contained, wireless, unplumbed space that can be assembled in just 3 hours, used for food preparation (this project was published as a scientific article at a European Association for Architectural Education event). This trumpet demonstrates that a business network system create complex products with a high level of aesthetic, functional and performance quality. These projects allow companies to initiate collaboration among them, creating innovation and developing new projects compatible with their potential.

Interview with Ermanno Aparo

Ermanno Aparo ("EA") interviewed on Wednesday, 15 May.

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

EA : I am Italian, graduated from the Faculty of Architecture of Palermo and with a Master in Domus Academy. I did the Doctorate (at the Universidade de Aveiro) in Portugal and the Post Doctorate (at the Universidade de Lisboa). I worked for Italian and Portuguese clients but in recent years my work has been marked by the introduction of Design (at the Politécnico de Viana do Castelo) and research (at the Center for Research in Architecture, Urbanism and Design of the Universidade de Lisboa ).

How did you become a designer?

EA : Ever since I was a child I have been wondering why the objects, whatever I had on my hands, dismantled them. I built many of my toys or most of the time I played with Legos. Invention and creation have always fascinated me. When I grew up, I assumed that my design dimension was design.

What are your priorities, technique and style when designing?

EA : My project is born from the structure of the process, starting to define all the parts involved in the design process, the companies, the experts or those professionals who can help improve the product. I do not rely on a routine, I develop drawings, physical models and prototypes, but the sequence is more circular than linear, the result of a hermeneutical methodology that has neither principle nor end but is cyclical.

Which emotions do you feel when designing?

EA : I like to see every project as a challenge and all the parts are exciting, the gradual development of the project and taking shape of the product is a unique emotion. I cannot highlight a part or a moment, each of these is important, it is an walk towards success done step by step.

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

EA : Being a designer requires a constant process of research and development, all our experiences, everything we have gone through in the previous processes will be useful for many of the projects we will be doing during our career. My Master at Doms Academy taught me the correct methodologies but my design stubbornness is something that comes to me from birth. Every project requires culture, humility but also passion, a lot of passion.

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

EA : I grew up knowing how to observe the culture around me. I was born in a city, Agrigento, surrounded by history and art. I have always had strong artistic stimuli around me and my studies in architecture and design have taught me to use these stimuli in designing. I hope my students can one day be able to use my teachings and be remembered as a good teacher and a great researcher.

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

EA : I teach design because I believe in design and its role in our society. To my students I say that we must bring design into new areas, into new areas of life to help people even more, to be able to better understand how to plan, how to live. Design must always dialogue with others.

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

EA : I don't feel like a successful designer, but one who does what he likes. I think that those who make designers must do this job because they like it but must be a humble person, with a desire to know and learn, a person capable of working in a team with other people. A designer who isolates himself from the outside will never do a good job.

What is your day to day look like?

EA : I don't have a routine, because every day is different from the other and for this reason it must be lived differently. I read everything I like, magazine or design books but I also read literature, philosophy, stories and music.

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

EA : Trends are important, also because today we all know that those who make trends are people. But it is also important to know how to make our contribution to history and to do this we must study a lot, know well what surrounds us.

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

EA : For me there is no good or bad design but design. People make design, design without people design would not exist. There is the capacity to formulate a question and to know how to build a correct answer to a question, now if the question is bad the answer will probably be very bad.

How do you decide if your design is ready?

EA : My design is ready when, as Nigel Cross states, we approach the one that among the many hypotheses we formulate is the best one. This is the result of a cyclical process, which comes back to correct and improve itself and depends very much on the initial question, that is to say from what we set out to do at the beginning of the process.

What is your biggest design work?

EA : My biggest work in design is undoubtedly the trumpet awarded in the A 'Design Award. This is a project that brings the construction of wind instruments back to Portugal after almost 70 years. The project is the result of a process of almost 3 years done with 12 companies (11 of them Portuguese) that in the majority had never produced a musical instrument. The project, articulated with the help of luthier Rui Pedro Silva, has been tried by some of the best trumpet players in the world who have judged the trumpet as a unique and exceptional instrument. I will never forget the joys and sorrows that this project gave me.

Who is your favourite designer?

EA : My favorite designer is Leonardo da Vinci. my answer may seem obvious but I have always had an incredible passion for this incredible character and his vision of the material world. Not even a greater genius ever existed. I also like other designers such as Alessandro Mendini, Ettore Sottsass or Vico Magistretti, but the one for Leonardo is a passion that I have since childhood.

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

EA : I am a normal person fascinated by everything around me, I am extremely curious. I love the metropolis but I also love the provincial towns. I love music of any kind. Music has always been part of my life, regardless of this project, I play the trumpet (bad) and it's a passion that helps me to do and think in design. I have always believed in the approximation between music and design, starting from the terminology (scale, color, composition ...) and up to the methodologies. At the moment I am developing two other projects related to music and I believe that this type of experience is also helping me with other projects. I love teaching design and being able to transfer my experiences to my students to help them work in the world of design and be able to contribute to building a better world.

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

EA : I am a person who loves to work hard, every project for me is like a challenge to live intensely and, above all, to win. I always work in multidisciplinary teams, this helps to better understand all the aspects related to the project. I always like to listen to the opinions of the people I work with and take advantage of the different opinions that may exist on certain themes/areas of a project. I try to convey this mentality to my students because I believe that today it is important to instill in future designers the importance of collaborative creative processes.

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

EA : I always try to work with the community and for the community. Already with my students and some of my colleagues we have developed humanitarian projects giving our contribution to various causes. This kind of project are as important for external communities as it is for our students, who learn to work with the values that must make the difference for our society.

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

EA : An award is always a recognition of our work for the community. In my case it was very important because it led the Portuguese media to speak again about the construction of wind instruments in Portugal. This award is important for all companies that have worked with me, to thank them for their commitment to this project. He offers me notoriety but mainly gives me greater responsibility as a teacher and as a designer.

Ermanno Aparo Profile

Almada Bb Trumpet

Almada Bb Trumpet design by Ermanno Aparo


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