According to Italian designer Francesco Bettoni, design requires careful consideration of the ways we interact with the people we work with and of how we build our relationships with them. This design philosophy brings meaning to how we make use of design products and how we establish a dialogue with them. The essence of the design can be understood through the point of view of the designer, the craftsmen, and from the consumer’s perspective in their relation to the product. Discipline and non-judgment are the key principles of Francesco Bettoni’s process, compounded with a great amount of curiosity and experience. Since 1992, Bettoni has been working for a variety of notable manufacturers such as Arflex, Colombo Design, LG, Dada, Toto Design Japan and MDF Italia, to name a few.
We spoke with Francesco Bettoni to get the inside scoop on his work process and design vision.
D: What’s your design process?
FB: Design is a complex process. If we set aside the classic analysis-synthesis-feedback procedure, we soon realize that our work is mainly based on relationships. The collaboration among people inside and outside the firms, the daily interactions we have, it is all part of the process that goes beyond the simple “drawing on paper” and the creative aspect. It involves rational thinking; the capability and availability of everybody to let the concept and the design evolve until it becomes a real product.
D: If you weren’t a designer what would you be doing?
FB: I studied to be a designer and I cannot see myself in a different role.
D: Could you describe to us your aesthetic in a few words?
FB: If by aesthetics we mean a formal aspect then, I do not think that it can be traced back to a predetermined model. I like to experiment, to get inspired by the past, the present and by other industries. Then I like to shuffle the cards until I get a result that fulfills me.
D: Can you tell us a bit about your current projects?
FB: At the moment I am working on a few different projects: furniture, visual, interior design. I like to roam freely between different fields because everything contributes to the growth of my design character.
D: Who were and are your role models?
FB: I find it rather difficult to point out the models that inspire me. I take in everything I see, study, experience. Then, I translate all into the famous aesthetic we were talking about before. Obviously, great designers, as well as cinema, music, theatre and visual arts occupy an important place in my research. They are all part of my baggage and it is difficult to disentangle the various elements.
D: When you run out of inspiration, what do you do?
FB: Phillips Starck wrote in one of his books that one ought to design 20 minutes each day. I am not that rigorous, but I take note of everything I find interesting and have the potential to become products. So I have a storage full of inspiration that I can use when I am designing.
D: How has technology changed your job?
FB: I was initially reluctant to approach technology for my work until I realized that technology is just an instrument, like a pencil or a sheet of paper, only a more evolved one. It makes it possible to interact with a product from the very beginning, it allows us to visualize complex objects and study its reactions without the need to produce a real model. Technology enables us to establish direct connections with the most advanced production systems, which is obviously a remarkable feature.
D: What is your favorite piece you designed?
FB: Always the next one.
D: And the one you have always dreamed to design?
FB: We all have secret wishes and childhood dreams, but I prefer to call them objectives: they stimulate us and make us grow.
D: What does design mean to you?
FB: For me design is a combination of creativity and business. The awareness of the times we live in and the ability to convey it into a project, turn it into a product and make it a marketing success. All this is design.