We, as the Designer Interviews ("DI") had the distinct pleasure and opportunity to interview award-winning, most creative and innovative Alberto Ruben Alerigi ("ARA").
Alberto Alerigi is a 68 years old mechanical engineer, he was born in Buenos Aires-Argentina and is living in São Paulo-Brazil since 1975. Professionally works in the oil and gas constructions industry up to 2015, actually is retired from this profession. The interest in art and design wake up when he marriage with a sculptress artist in 1976. He is the assistant and the worker of his wife art work. In this way, he accomplished his wife works with the technology that employed in the oil and gas industry and, vice versa, he looks for aesthetical concept when developed the construction projects. He believes that life is simple, and so, all around must be in order that the humanity can evolve in peace and prosperity.
Alberto Ruben Alerigi Designs
We are pleased to share with you original and innovative design work by Alberto Ruben Alerigi.
Designer Interview of Alberto Ruben Alerigi:
DI: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
ARA : In my youth, I was an enthusiastic for cars design, and so, I was a passionate of Pininfarina cars design, like the Alfa Romeo 1600 Spider “Duetto”, the IKA-Renault Torino of 1966 which was produced in my country, Argentina. So, I dreamed to became a car designer. There was not a designer career in my country, so, I decided for Mechanical Engineer career. As there was not Design career in my country, also, there was no place where to get knowledge and gain experience as a car designer, in this way, I begun to work in Construction Industry Engineering for Oil and Gas Industry. In this area, it was possible to apply a little of creation and some inspirations for the development of the industrial plant. When I decided for living in Brazil, I married a sculptress artist. We began to set a studio/workshop for her art work production, where I help with my knowledge and experience in construction industries, looking for the structural point of view of her projects. Since one year ago, I am retired of my profession as Mechanical Engineer, and dedicated my time and experience to Design.
DI: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
ARA : Even though the long experience with every kind of materials and manufacturing process, as a Design Studio we are in the beginning of a new career. In this way, we have a big differential, because, this experience helps to define very quickly the right material and manufacturing process for the development of an inspiration. In our studio/workshop we have all the necessary resources in order to produce a design project, from the concept to the its final conclusion. It is equipped for working with every kind of material, metallic, plastics and woods. So, we have not barriers for the inspiration and creativity. Also, this allow us to make all kinds of prototyping works.
DI: What is "design" for you?
ARA : Design for me is to find the best shape for an object in order to fulfill its functions, so light and simple as possible, with aesthetic, elegance and harmony. Design is not only for the object itself. Design have to think in the entire cycle of life of the object. From the concept to its final disposal, Design has to be worry about the impact for the environment of the new object.
DI: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
ARA : Home products, doors, lightings, tables, stairs and so on.
DI: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
ARA : My favorite design is the Altar of Capela São José. Developed in the last year, the challenge was to create a chapel in a very little room, where would be possible install the art work performed for my wife. It is very pleasant to work in a complete project, from the concept to the final installation. The little room was not the only challenge; it was necessary to attempt the Catholic Religion Liturgy. Thinking in the principal symbol of Catholic Religion, the Cross, it was placed in one corner of the room, and from this point, all the components of the chapel were disposed in concentric rings. In this way, the attentions of the people in every place of the chapel is directed to the Altar and to the Cross, is to say, the function of the Chapel, the Ceremony that glorifies Jesus Christ.
DI: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
ARA : Up to now, we didn’t work for a company. As we say before, we are just beginning in this area employing all the experience in materials and manufacturing process accumulated in my mechanical engineer professions and the esthetical knowledge acquired from my wife.
DI: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
ARA : My favorite materials are the metals, aluminum, brass, stainless steel, and so on. We begin making some drafts in Corel Draw, after this, we transform the concept in the ArtCam or Fusion 360 in accordance with the object and the solutions requirements of the manufacturing process. In our work there are not a favorite technology, each project requires a specific technology, or a combination of technologies for being performed.
DI: When do you feel the most creative?
ARA : There is not a special period, creativity and inspirations come during the work. Experience shows that the first idea never is the best, you have to work in several drafts, and prototypes in order to obtain what you are looking for.
DI: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
ARA : Function, which is the purpose of the object being designed.
DI: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
ARA : Is a compound of enjoyment and worry; enjoyment for the possibilities of work in what we love, and worry in order to obtain the desired solution for the project.
DI: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
ARA : Again, you don’t feel just one emotion, you feel full of joy and happiness, a feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment and, also, gratefulness for the inspiration and the possibility of making it.
DI: What makes a design successful?
ARA : I don’t know. We employ our best every time during creation and production of an object, doesn’t matter its value. Somebody said “if the perfection exists, we have to look for it”. During the work, we don’t think in the successful of the piece, we think and look for something that match with the request and function, with simplicity and aesthetical sense.
DI: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
ARA : The Louis Sullivan phrase, “Form follows function”. The form is suitable for the object function?
DI: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
ARA : Design can contribute significantly by taking a responsible and impartial stance with positive society trends. Designer is responsible for entire life cycle of the products; he must be a little timeless thinking in the future and in the welfare of society, developing simple objects, low maintenance, long-lived, reliable, specially in terms of people safety. Design has to be developed in order that the impact to the environment will be as minimum as possible, since the material choice up to the final disposal.
DI: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
ARA : I think that the society is evolving to a simple way of life, in some way, this new trends are influenced by the design. I think that Design is evolving to a minimalist, a simpler way of life. Furthermore, since the time when designing was the last part to incorporate, design is evolving dramatically. Nowadays design is the primary strategic part for everything, actually, with the introduction of UI and UX, design is the tool that increases any product’s credibility. In the near future design will tend to a great responsibility to society, because the day after the pandemic crises we will wake up in a new and unknown world. The world will be much different after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be up to the design to adapt the products to the new reality and way of life of society. I hope the design will be ready for that.
DI: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
ARA : Inspiration comes from the observation, particularly, nature observation, its beauty, simplicity and unity. But, inspiration is not an automatic process, it is more a process of patience and persistence. You are looking for something, so, you must be obstinate and perseverant, you must have a very high critical sense for judgement your work in order to achieve the desired design. The surrounding feed our creativity, the observation of people’s behavior, its desires and necessities. It is possible to learn about society trends walking in the streets, taking a bus or metro, of course, in the internet and so on.
DI: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
ARA : We look for a minimalist style. Simplicity and essence are the guidelines in our work. With this in mind, you look for the best material, an adequate shape, the simplest production process and a very low impact to the environment. The belief that life is simple and beauty made us explore this style. Designers have the responsibility of bringing up this nature concept to the society and not only a new shape. Our approach to design begins by question: What is the purpose of the intended design, what is it going to accomplish? With this answer, we begin to think in different ways to make it. Experience, several drafts and prototypes are involved in this process up to the point in which our critical sense says go ahead.
DI: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
ARA : We live in Sao Paulo, Brazil. São Paulo is a cosmopolitan megalopolis, where coexist side by side the native inhabitants of the city, people from other states of Brazil and immigrants from over 200 countries. That is why our cultural heritage not only comes from the Portuguese colonization, which is strongly present in the architecture of the downtown, but also, we end up being influenced by the different cultural expressions brought by immigrants, especially Europeans and Japanese. Living in a multicultural city contributes to creativity, inspiration and awakens an innovative spirit. We really have to do more with less, since it is difficult for us to have access to new technologies, so we have to employ more experience and creativity in carrying out our work.
DI: Can you talk a little about your design process?
ARA : We began by reflecting on the object and its purpose. We started scribbling several sketches thinking about the alternatives and the possibilities of execution. We then make the first sketches in the 2d software and with this defined we start for the 3d study. With this in hands we proceed to prototyping or modeling, depending on the object. With the prototype or model ready, we analyze its appearance, correct it and change it where necessary, until we are really convinced that we get what we wanted or discard it and start the whole process again.
DI: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
ARA : Love your profession, be patience and perseverant. Inspiration is around you; creativity evolves with the work. Continuous learning and research are a must. Don’t think in success, looks for perfection. Don’t be afraid in fail, every time we fail, we learn something new.
DI: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
ARA : I wouldn’t say that there are some negative in being a designer, when you love your work, the possibility of create something is always a positive, even when you fail.
DI: What is your "golden rule" in design?
ARA : The first idea is never the best. It is only the first draft.
DI: What skills are most important for a designer?
ARA : Critical sense.
DI: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
ARA : Our toolbox is compound in two parts, the soft and the hard. We call soft the IT ones, here we have a good PC with a graphic motherboard, one 28” display and a 30”, a pen tablet and a 24” pen display, one notebook, one photo video machine, scan and so on. 2D and 3D softwares. The hard toolbox part, is our workshop, there we have and CNC router, a manual router, several kinds of sanders and drilling machines, mechanical and electrical tools and so on. Sometimes design requires mechanical tools, sometimes electricals tools or carpenter tools, workshop must have tools as requested for the creativity.
DI: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
ARA : There are not a rule. You have to manage time in accordance with the phase of the work being done. Normally, We go for supplies, materials, tools, during the morning in order to work in the studio or the workshop after lunch, so, we avoid breakdowns during the creativity or producing process.
DI: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
ARA : Again, there are not a rule. It is a functions of the project being developed. For example, Luminada Project spend 45 days more or less, Capela São José Project spend several months.
DI: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
ARA : Time and budget. Normally, clients have no idea what means develop a new object.
DI: What was your most important job experience?
ARA : Capela São José. Religious, architectural, mechanical and electrical knowledge was employed in this project. Also, it was necessary to develop new partners for the work.
DI: Who are some of your clients?
ARA : Architects and people looking for something different, suitable for their needs or available room and could not find it in the market.
DI: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
ARA : Normally we develop all the work, for some specific activities we count with the services of some partners as in the case of foundry services and forming of big parts in metallic plates.
DI: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
ARA : We are trying to develop a way to reuse what we already have in our homes that has been worn out by use or simply want to redecorate. Currently for this, we exchange what we have for something new. With this, we generate a huge amount of waste to be dumped in the environment. Our proposal is to take advantage of these objects and give them a new look, replacing part of them or adding a new element, making them more updated. This way, we would be reducing not only the impact of dumping the old object, but also the impact of producing something totally new.
DI: How can people contact you?
ARA : People can contact us by the e-mail email@example.com , by phone 55 11 3743 2067 or cell number 55 11 99159 3956