What drives someone to create something as beautiful and functional as Pebble? We spoke with product designer and amateur footballer Riccardo about design, roaming Rome, and his creative process.
What product or products inspired you to become a product designer?
Of course Apple is always inspiring, especially the first iPhones and iPods. I also find Braun products interesting. I also find other products like the first computers, portable CD players, and mp3 players interesting.
Where do your ideas come from?
I study people’s routines and think about what they do throughout the day. Then I think about what they need to make a task easier. If it’s someone else’s idea that I have to implement, most of the time after reading the project’s briefly I can immediately find the answer, the way to make it work. If I ever get stuck, I go out for a walk around Rome with the dog or go to the beach to clear my mind and re-start my thinking process.
Pebble almost looks like a high-end speaker or an avant-garde handbag.
Every other lunchbox on the market is simple, usually rectangular, usually nearly identical to others except for a splash of color. At first, I considered designing something really organic and totally different from existing products. After countless sketches and prototypes I changed my mind because customers might not be prepared for something this different. So I decided on a simple cylinder with smooth edges and a tactile, textured finish that looked like a sexier version of the usual lunchbox.
You’ve created a few incarnations; take us through your thought process from concept to final design.
When an idea pops up in my mind I immediately have to write something on paper, sketching and writing about the main point of the idea. Next comes the brainstorming part, when I talk with many colleagues and discuss all the possible outcomes of the product. This helps to filter out the ridiculous or impossible ideas and focus on the ideas that are transformational. Once I have a few solid ideas, I start sketching in more detail. Then I begin 3D modeling so I can build a first prototype. These help me to understand the dimensions and where the technology will eventually go. Then I need to define everything for the final prototype and the technical drawing, as those will be used by the production company and they have to easily understand how they can produce the product.
What other creations are you working on?
I’m actually working on many other projects for Foxxil and other clients. I have plenty of ideas about new technology products we can develop after Pebble.
What do you do for fun?
I play football with a team of friends and I like to go to the beach and walk with my dog in Rome’s parks. I also really love visiting museums and going to the cinema.
Other than yourself, who is your favorite person behind Pebble?
That’s not fair! I don’t have one favorite person. We are all working together to reach our goals, and everyone is honest and hard working. Everybody has been critical to the development of Pebble and without all of us we probably wouldn’t be here. We’re also good friends!