For this week’s Friday Five, the subject is Diego Paccagnella, a trained graphic designer and business owner who was born in Padua, Italy, and now finds New York City home. After graduating from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design with a degree in graphic design, Paccagnella went on to launch collaborative projects that were social in nature. By 2004, he was working with Lago S.p.A. redesigning their visual identity and in 2009 he designed an apartment furnished with Lago products during Milan’s Fuorisalone Design Week as a functioning and interactive showroom that was actually lived in during that week. Following the success of his living design experiments, Paccagnella founded Design-Apart in 2012 which follows the concept of being a “living showroom” and helps bring Italian design to an international market. See what this outside the box thinker finds inspirational.

1. Ape van Piaggio
I grew up in Italy riding an old-style Vespa but what changed my life was an Ape van Piaggio in my last year at Central Saint Martins when I traveled form Venice to London with one for my final experimental design project.

I still today find those transport units inspiring, because it’s a combination of beauty, elegance, functionality, and they had amazing engines (for resistance and fuel consumption).



2. Machine Series
Machine Series is a new beautiful project that just launched, and I think it’s great today to have the possibility to make your own products at home thanks to 3D printing technology.

Machine Series is a platform that lives between industry and artisan, producing elegant everyday objects through approachable, open source manufacturing technologies.

Photo courtesy of Dolce & Gabbana

Photo courtesy of Dolce & Gabbana

3. Dolce & Gabbana‘s new men’s concept store on New Bond Street, London
I love the courageous project that Dolce & Gabbana recently opened in London. It’s a space that is a bit like a home, a bit like a gentleman’s club, and a bit like a shop. It has a barber service and bespoke tailoring services and the collection is designed only for this store (like a sort of limited edition). Very similar to what I am doing in New York, with Design-Apart – a cross-activity concept to offer a contemporary experience of the best Italian products.

Photocollage © Gelitin

Photocollage © Gelitin

4. Gelitin Installation
The incredible installation that Gelitin did on the roof of the Hayward Gallery in London a few years ago. How did they convince them to let them do that? This kind of work asks you to see deeper (or wider) then what you see with your eyes. You have to imagine a lot: there must be plenty of interesting stories behind the scenes to make that pool on the roof of the gallery. The comment of the security or the people who went there to make an estimate to realize the installation, I would have loved to see their first reactions. All these “unseen” aspects are, for me, part of the installation.


5. MAI
An example of how you can still imagine and create new design. MAI is an urban backpack 100% handmade in Italy, designed with a functional approach and a contemporary linear design. The classical image of the backpack is deconstructed into synthetic and abstract basic shapes. Almost like an article of clothing, MAI clings to the body shape, is secure, and remains easily accessible only by the owner.