Please tell us something about yourself: who you are, your past and what made you approach the world of architecture and design.
My name is Gianluca Carraro and I obtained my degree in design at Milan Polytechnic in 2012. When I enrolled for the course, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, probably like most high-school graduates who have to decide what to do with their future: my only certainly was that I wanted a degree course which would bring me close to art, at least to some extent. It wasn't until later that I understood the role and task of a designer, and I decided that was what I wanted to do in life. Designing products allows me to satisfy my great curiousity and creative drive, and I don't think there are many other jobs that grant such a similar opportunity.
Do you believe you have a specific style?
I don't think I follow a precise style in my designs and perhaps that's a good thing: I believe it's better to stay open to any potential change. There are countless themes that I try to incorporate into my designs, but it's only possible to explore a few of these at a time. I do believe, however, that a product also reflects the personality of the designer, and as I mature as a designer, it is perhaps inevitable that I develop my own hallmarks.
What are your references in the world of design?
I have learnt the most important lesson from the great masters of Italian design, who have primarily set an example of ethics: their designs contain their utopic vision of the world, that's why they are eternal. I believe this ethical approach to design is the only way to break free from trends, and in my view Enzo Mari is the greatest example of this.
How do you judge modern architecture and design?
What I am unable to detect in modern design and architecture is this utopic tension, there is a lack of any will to design a new, better world. What I find most interesting about the design world today is self-production, above all when it is linked to the recovery and enhancement of traditional craftsmanship. In many cases, this phenomenon has many restrictions, for instance, it is often impossible to create the right price/quality ratio. It is interesting, however, that in a period of economic crisis, this allows the production mechanisms to be re-discussed.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Quite simply, I draw inspiration from the constant research into previous designs. I am very curious and I instinctively try to find out about the most varied of things. I gather all those images that in some way inspire me towards new ideas. This may involve photos, illustrations, sculptures etc., and without realising it, I have created an immense archive that is still expanding.
How did you learn about the Restile contest and why did you decide to take part?
I am always on the lookout for new competitions and try to take part in any which seem interesting. I think they offer a good opportunity to a young designer. Luckily there are many web sites that constantly publish up-to-date lists of contests, and that is how I found out about the Mirage contest, which I immediately found stimulating and serious.
What inspired your project?
I had been fascinated by two techniques in Japanese design: the first is called "Boro", which enhances recycled remnants of fabric; the second, "Sashiko", is the name of the technique used to sew them together. I immediately thought it would have been very interesting to create a cultural contamination between this look and the more technological western tradition of porcelain stoneware. Moreover, the basic look of this Japanese tradition offered me the opportunity to use very spontaneous designs that would maintain a bond with reality and tradition, obtaining a design that is not arbitrary and an end in itself.
What are your expectations for the near future?
I would be really pleased to see this project continue to evolve as I think it has great potential for development in different directions; for me it would be highly satisfying to continue working with Mirage to see my own work on the market one day.
More generally speaking, what are your dreams, aspirations and plans?
Right now, I am only at the beginning of my career and I work alongside more consolidated designers. In addition, in any free time I have left, I work together with a former fellow student, Andrea Balzano. Together we are trying to launch a small studio of our own: we have worked jointly on various design projects and are trying to find our own way in the world of product design. Our creations can be seen on our web site www.balzano-carraro.com