Interview: Massimo Battaglia, Founder at GivingShape Design Studio, Italy

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Massimo Battaglia is a product designer running his firm called GivingShape Design Studio all the way from Italy. He has over nine years of experience in automotive, consumer and industrial product design. A lateral thinker, Massimo is always looking for innovative ways outside the box for his clients with his high level of creativity and utmost efficiency.

His field of interests include consumer electronics, white goods, toys, automotive (details and components), industrial equipments, construction yard vehicles, sports & leisure equipments and bio-medical. He has already collaborated with companies like ABB Ltd, ADB group, Briko Spa, Cifa Spa, Fiat Group, GlaxoSmithKline plc, La nuova Faro Srl, Macrom, Planex Communications Inc., Telecom Italia Spa and Vodafone Group to name a few.  Lately, we got an opportunity of interviewing one of the most versatile and talented designer, so without much ado, please scroll down and see what the designer has to say about himself:

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TechieTonics: Can you tell us more about your background? And What brought you into industrial design?

Massimo Battaglia: Since I was a kid, I was fascinated by inventors and by those who can create new things and enhance other people’s life.

I think that today modern inventors are the industrial designers, because our work it is not just a matter of style or create nice things, but to imagine new scenarios and new possible ways to live and enjoy life.

Only industrial designer can create the right mix of human and technical aspects that lead to meaningful and compelling innovations.

TechieTonics: Would you please elaborate on the concept of Hyper Touch Guitar, I mean replacing the strings with multi-touch screen won’t reduce the effectiveness of guitar as a musical instrument? Does it envision, making the strings obsolete?

Massimo Battaglia: Hyper touch guitar (HTG) has only the shape of a guitar, but can be considered a completely different and new musical instrument. Electric guitar does not changed a lot since it was invented about 60 years ago, an instrument with a customizable touch screen it is a completely different paradigm with no comparison with previous instruments or ways to creates music.

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The number of keys, or strings and their tunes are the biggest limits in a guitar, while in HTG you can go beyond these limits by just programming the fretboard according to your needs.Given to HTG the shape of a guitar was just a matter of turning something extremely new in something more familiar and commonly accepted. HTG could be reduced to only the touch screen, but it would look very weird to play on the stage with an instrument shaped like that.

Basically the same concept of replacing the strings with a touchscreen could be replicated on every strings based musical instrument such as violins, cellos, arps etc. I chose the guitar because it is the most common and appreciated musical instrument.

TechieTonics: If Gymbot is an extension of gaming platform in real life, what other similar cool ideas or projects we might expect in the near future coming from your vault.

Massimo Battaglia: Gymbot is a concept of social robot presented to ICSR 2011 award. The aim of Gymbot is to increase your physical and psychological health, teaching you a better and healthier life style. It checks your diet, encourages doing gymnastics and taking care of yourself, a real personal trainer that lives with you 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

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It was not conceived as a game but as a real help for people who have problems in social life because of their body. Latins said “Mens sana in corpore sano” that can be translated in “a healty mind in a healthy body” that it is the main scope of Gymbot.

I do not know what new concept I will create in the near future, today I am very busy working on many projects for my clients.

TechieTonics: With the current advancement in robotics, do you think Gymbot might find a place in homes in the next five years?

Massimo Battaglia: Robotics, batteries and artificial intelligence did great advancements in later years, and many big Corporations such as Google and Honda become more and more interested in these fields. I cannot bet that in 5 years, we will have a humanoid robot in every home, but we will be very close to it.

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TechieTonics: Aesthetics and functionality are intertwined and interdependent of each other as in the case of the Buddhist Yin-Yang symbol, what’s your take on this view of mine?

Massimo Battaglia: In industrial design, aesthetics and functionality are just a part of a bigger problem to solve. In 2015 a designer must take in considerations many other aspects such as:

  • brand values
  • cost effincency
  • feasibility
  • customer needs
  • manufacturer needs
  • competitors products
  • ecology
  • assembling
  • shipping

A product can be beautiful and very functional, but if it costs too much and does not solve any customer’s problem, it will be a failure.

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TechieTonics: I understand it’s slightly difficult to answer this but is there any project of yours that you’re totally in love with?

Massimo Battaglia: Unfortunately, I tend to be over critic with myself, so I consider my best product the next to come.

The good thing about my view about past projects is that I have a strong will of doing better than before because I am always not satisfied by the quality level I reached.

TechieTonics: From your experience, which sectors do you think currently benefit most from ID (Industrial Design) and why?

Massimo Battaglia: We live in a completely artificial world everything around us was designed by somebody. Industrial design in everywhere ! The matter is the level of quality of the design that is around us. This is strictly connected on how much the manufacturer companies want to spend money and time taking care of doing things in the right way. In some sectors because of high competitive market companies are obliged to spend a lot of resources on industrial design e.g. consumer electronics and automotive. But in my opinion the quality level of design should be raised in every sector: prosthetics, school furniture, medical tools, heavy machines etc.

A higher quality of design can transform a higher quality of living.

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TechieTonics: What’s the startup scene like in Italy? In your eyes, what are the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs in the country?

Massimo Battaglia: Even though Italy is one of the eight richest countries of the world, yet it is very hard to start a new business. Economical crisis and heavy taxation are not helping at all who is willing to start a new company.

Moreover, our companies are traditionally small and more accustomed to sectors in which craftsmanship is important like furniture, fashion and jewellery. Therefore, if you want to found a tech company maybe Italy it is not the right place to start.

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TechieTonics: Do you agree with the notion, design will be the key feature in the next wave of sustainability?

Massimo Battaglia: The goal is to produce and live in a more sustainable way, designers can influence positively people to start this sustainable revolution, but not all the efforts can be done only through the industrial design. We must change people’s minds and let them understand what are the real values of life. Buy a new smartphones every 3 months or drive a useless powerful SUV is wrong behavior that can only partially changed by designers.

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TechieTonics: What are the interesting things that have hooked your attention?

Massimo Battaglia: Surely IoT devices are the hottest theme among industrial designers. We must turn our dumb homes in a smart and super connected place to live. This can be scary and amazing at the same time!

TechieTonics: Before wrapping up would you like to share something with our readers?

Massimo Battaglia: Pay attentions to details, watch things carefully and you will understand how much care is required for designing any product.

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Massimo, thank you so much. It’s been an absolute pleasure to talk to you today. We look forward to seeing more of your work in the very near future and before signing off, we’d like to wish you luck and success for all your future endeavors.

About Pooja Kashyap

Pooja Kashyap likes reading and writing on topics related to scientific research and technology. Located in New Delhi, she also enjoys reviewing books and taking interviews of creative/innovative people. She is also on Google Plus l Quora l Twitter or LinkedIn.