Maria Bruno Néo
Product Designer, Design Director
Primary design concentration:
Most preferred tools for designing:
“Sophia Sofa” for Munna. Inspired by the 1950s, it features a softened cat-eye wing-back aesthetic.
How and why did you choose to become a designer?
I started to draw since I was really young, and my parents always took me to museums, so I have always been connected with creative fields since an early age. Before attending university, I determined my path by not wanting to put the creative part of me on the side, and use my rationality as an advantage. I’m a very rational—but creative—person and believe that these are two main characteristics to become a designer. That is, I can both draw and dream in a very productive way, rationally and creatively.
“Scale Rug” for Ginger & Jagger. A poetic exploration of the patterns found in scales, it originates distinct landscapes depending on the angle of the lighting inside a living space.
What are some of the challenges you encounter as a designer and how do you deal with them?
An elegant solution is allying the conceptual idea toward making a real product, filtering it through production processes. Some projects are challenging to explain based on details visualized in a drawing. People, who are in production, sometimes don’t appreciate the adjustment and discovery as a result form rounds of prototyping. It can prove very frustrating for them.
From skills to values, what makes a designer successful?
For me, a designer should have and develop: persistence, a will to learn and always do better than previous projects, and, of course, curiosity. These characteristics will help the designer to find the most creative solutions and aesthetics—with the opportunity to surprise oneself.
How do you stay motivated and grow personally and professionally as a designer?
I listen, and I ask what people expect from the designs. To make these expectations tangible is the most difficult aspect to achieve toward the potential success of objects. This drive keeps me growing: to try to realize memorable products that will stay with people. I also try to use materials that are good for the environment and contribute to the user’s emotional and physical comfort.
“Flamenco Stool” for WeWood. Crafted from solid oak, it is a practical and comfortable stool. Inspired by the flamenco skirt, there is the function of a spinning seat, ideal for social settings.
For those aspiring to become a designer, whatever the discipline, what is your advice?
Believe in what you are doing, because if you don’t, nobody will believe in it too.
A friend once told me this, and it changed completely my way of seeing life and its challenges: If you have any doubt about doing something and don’t try, you will receive “No” for an answer, for sure. If you do try, you will maybe have the chance to get a different answer.
“Alice Mirror” for Audiri. Inspired by the classic literature of Lewis Carroll, the shape and door-knob detail characterize it as a portal to the “other side.”
What is your quest in design, from a professional practice, education or evolution standpoint?
Keep learning everyday, and keep getting surprised about how much anything could be a starting point. I believe that knowledge should be shared, because it is the most important act throughout human history—and I hope to be a part of it in the design field.
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