Ermanno Aparo

Good in Musical Instrument Design.

About Ermanno Aparo

My specialization is working with a network of companies, creating sustainable and high quality production systems through design. At the academic and research level I have already worked with territorial networks in innovative projects. One case to mention is the tricycle for the city "Raiooo" (published in the magazine Domus). Another case is the Nmettoon wireless kitchen, a self-contained, wireless, unplumbed space that can be assembled in just 3 hours, used for food preparation (this project was published as a scientific article at a European Association for Architectural Education event). This trumpet demonstrates that a business network system create complex products with a high level of aesthetic, functional and performance quality. These projects allow companies to initiate collaboration among them, creating innovation and developing new projects compatible with their potential.

  • Winner of Musical Instrument Design Award.
  • Specialized in Musical Instrument Design.
  • Original Design.
  • Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Musical Instrument
Almada Bb Trumpet

Almada Bb Trumpet

Musical Instrument Design


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Interview with Ermanno Aparo

Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
I have a degree in architecture, I have a master's degree from the Domus Academy, a Doctor of Architecture and a post-doctoral degree from the University of Lisbon. Since I was a child I liked to disassemble objects and build my toys, probably my passion for design was born from there.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
I am a professor in Design at the Polytechnic of Viana do Castelo and researcher at the Center for Research in Architecture Urbanism and Design of the University of Lisbon. I deal with Design and networks of territorial production systems.
What is "design" for you?
Design is a creative discipline that brings knowledge to society, in the sense that it considers and crosses practical, aesthetic, ergonomic, use, imagination, construction, prototyping, market, sustainability and innovation issues. The design can be revolutionary and quiet, practical and effective, without having to be exuberant or glamorous. Like any good story, design should always teach something. For design it is the choice that transforms old concepts into new instruments, using them with a new efficacy according to the current reality.
What kinds of works do you like designing most?
For me, every project is a challenge and every challenge has its own charm. I love all the challenges.
What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
My favorite design is the one that manages to interpret the project taking into account space, time and circumstance. My favorite design is the one that speaks to places, to people, which helps people to be happy.
What was the first thing you designed for a company?
My first product designed and built was a line of brochure holders for a travel agency brand.
What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
I don't have a favorite material, I like all organic materials and I mainly like, when I can and I when it's need, to design the material.
When do you feel the most creative?
have to work with other people to be creative. For me, the creative is the one who is able to develop innovative processes enriching them with knowledge. To enrich a project we cannot isolate ourselves but work with other people and share with them what we know by building together. This is be creative for me.
Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
All aspects of design are important, such as ergonomic, technological or aesthetic aspects but also social, production or market factors. It is the perfect symbiosis between these factors that creates the perfect object. It is clear that it is a difficult process, but not impossible, it is necessary to work hard and and well.
What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
Design is a challenge and as such it always excites. Sometimes it gives us happy feelings sometimes less, but for me there is no project without this being the result of an emotional process.
What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
When I see something I designed I always have a strong emotion, even more when I can share this emotion with the people I worked with.
What makes a design successful?
Success for me is being recognized for what we do. From my point of view if we have done a good job we are always successful.
When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
For me there is no good or bad design, but good or bad designers, good or bad creative processes. Design is not born by itself, it is the people who make the design. Each designer is an individual who is part of a community, every designer has to think about this before you begin project.
From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
Design has a great responsibility for everything it designs and no one can get out of this situation. If we want design to play an active role in society, we must also accept the responsibilities we have in society.
How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
Today, thanks also to the work of the media and some institutions, design has increased its role in society. I hope that this process can continue to grow in the future and that design can be active in other fields of development, research and people's lives.
When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
The last exhibition I attended was that of some of my students' projects. The exhibition was linked to the April 25 revolution in Portugal and took place in Lisbon, in the Chiado district.
Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
I am a designer, not an artist, but for example I like to look at other forms of design or art as ways to better understand where our society goes. I do not know if I can speak of inspirations or about references, however the signals that arrives to the senses of a designer are multiple and come from different directions, a designer must know how to interpret them correctly.
How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
I'm not a stylist or an artist that's why I don't have a style, what I have are different methods and ways of developing design processes.
Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
I live in Viana do Castelo in the north of Portugal, a spectacular place, full of history, beautiful customs and traditions. The territory of northern Portugal is rich in companies but also small artisans who work on ancient processes with ancestral techniques, such as the watermark. Living in such a place is fantastic because you can always choose the type of process depending on the type of product we need to develop.
How do you work with companies?
As I am a teacher and a researcher and I work with projects with a high level of innovation. The projects I do are very connected with the creation of new collaborative scenarios between companies operating in the same territory, create new products that stimulates new markets and new business opportunities.
What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
For me what is most important is that companies understand that in order to innovate they must have at least one designer on their staff. It would also be important for companies to understand that design is seen as a process that begins with the creation of a product and not just for the aesthetic touch.
Can you talk a little about your design process?
My processes are different depending on the type of project. As I have already said, for me design is a hermeneutic and cyclical process that advances and when necessary returns back to seek a satisfactory solution. All the hardware are chosen according to the type of project, looking for those that best fit that type of process and that type of product.
What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
My 5 favorite design themes at home are: the relax; the energy sustainability; the light; the sound, the experience of life.
Can you describe a day in your life?
I don't have a routine, because every day is different from the other and for this reason it must be lived differently. I read everything I like, magazine or design books but I also read literature, philosophy, stories and music.
Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
Even I would need some pearls of wisdom for designers. I think that today young designers must try to accompany all the creative processes they work with as much as possible and not just stop at their project. From my point of view it is very important for a young designer to know the whole path a project takes to transform into a product and understand that each product has its own history with different times, different places and different protagonists.
From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
All the works have something positive and negative and the design is not an exception. I don't think that what's positive or negative can be generalized, this can depend on each person or the type of project we do.
What is your "golden rule" in design?
I don't think I have a golden role in design, I am a teacher and as such I have many responsibilities. What I learned about my projects I teach my students by making them available to those who teach me to be a good designer.
What skills are most important for a designer?
For a designer there are many skills that must be had, some of them are learned during the academic course, others during the career path. In many cases the designer decides to work with external specialists and collaborates with them in order to better respond to the needs that the project requires.
Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
My process relies on always different supports and hardware, which are chosen according to the type of project and that go from low to high technology. I don't rely on a routine, I develop drawings, physical models and prototypes, but the sequence of the process is more circular than linear, the result of a hermeneutical methodology that has neither principle nor end but is cyclical.
Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
I've never been good at managing time, the only thing I try to do is not stealing time to my family life.
How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
There is no specific time, every project has its time. The time depends a lot on the circumstances of the project, on the situations, on the type of project, on the partners .... there are no rules on the timing but forms of better use of the time we have available.
What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
Sadly, many people still ask me what a designer does. Many people still do not know what our profession is.
What was your most important job experience?
My most important work experience is teaching, because for me this is a laboratory in a process of constant development, a good place to create new ideas, new concepts and new design processes. Teaching is a design laboratory in continuous transformation, so the most interesting place where you can work on new design concepts.
Who are some of your clients?
My clients are companies that are interested in new development and innovation processes. They are companies that believe in processes of co-creation and want to collaborate with other companies to grow to develop new markets and new products scenarios.
What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
I don't prefer one design area or another, I prefer one type of project or another, but even this is very relative. When I can, I like to choose to design in new areas or new project scenarios, I like to change and not get used to a certain type of process.
What are your future plans? What is next for you?
I don't prefer one design or another, I prefer one type of project or another, but even this is very relative. When I can, I like to choose to design in new areas or project scenarios, I like to change and not get used to always doing the same things.
Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
For me design is a collaborative process, as long as there is a project on my table, the same project is on the table of those who produce, on the table of those who distribute and, sometimes, even of those who can use it.
Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
Yes, right now I'm developing two projects in the area of music but I can't say anything more.
Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
Yes of my family that helps me and supports me in my projects, my gratitude goes to them.

Extended Interview with Ermanno Aparo

Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
2019 Post PhD in Design at Lisbon University (POR) 2010 PhD in Design at Aveiro University (POR) 2001 Master in Design at DOMUS ACADEMY (ITA) 1998 Architecture Degree at Palermo University (ITA)
What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
I became a designer because I always liked the world of objects, how they are made and why they are useful.
What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
I am a design teacher and a researcher, I don't choose my project challenges, it depends a lot on what comes before me.
What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
I don't feel like a legend, I'm just a person who does what he likes. And to do what we like we have to work a lot.
What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
I don't know, maybe the great designer is just the consequence of a good designer.
What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
Good design is the one that responds well to the questions that are proposed to it, good design is the one that knows how to give a design dimension to the reasons of a project.
What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
Design is always important and its value is a reflection of the value that the product or service will have for the people who use it.
What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
I design what presents itself to me as a challenge and for good challenges, time is always there.
What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
A cure for cancer, but I'm not a doctor, just a designer ... maybe, maybe one day I'd like to be able to create something to help these people, creating a synergy with a team of doctors and researchers. Yes, I would like.
What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
I don't think that I have success, I think I do what I like and that's why there are no ingredients or recipes, just a lot of work.
What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
I can't answer this question because I like a little bit of everything. There is a lot of good people who make incredible things in design.
What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
My design has no particularity, mine is a method based on the creation of territorial networks. it is more a strategy than styling.
How do you define design, what is design for you?
Design is a creative discipline that brings knowledge to society, in the sense that it considers and crosses practical, aesthetic, ergonomic, use, imagination, construction, prototyping, market, sustainability and innovation issues. The design can be revolutionary and quiet, practical and effective, without having to be exuberant or glamorous. Like any good story, design should always teach something. For design it is the choice that transforms old concepts into new instruments, using them with a new efficacy according to the current reality.
What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?
There are no obstacles, only challenges, and these are made to be accepted or rejected.
How do you think designers should present their work?
I think that designers must dialogue with companies, with people and know the market.
What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
My next project is in the area of musical instruments. In the future I expect new challenges, new goals, new projects.
What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
My goal is to respond to what is asked of me as a designer, as a teacher and as a researcher.
What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?
People expect me to be good at what I do, expect effective and innovative answers, expect good design.
How does design help create a better society?
Design can improve society by designing for society, knowing companies and the territory and accepting the challenges that arise.
Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
The trumpet, because it was the most difficult project I've ever done.
Where do you think the design field is headed next?
I don't know yet, the world is constantly changing and we must be ready to design in a continuing mutation process.
How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
I do not know, it depends on the project, it cannot and should not be generalized.
When you have a new design project, where do you start?
I begin by reading the premises and studying the areas that involve the project.
Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
I think the truth is in the middle, design influences the trend and the trend influences the design. But people, yes people do trends and need design.
What is the role of technology when you design?
Technology is as important as everything that involves the project, technology is also important but not fundamental.
What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
It depends on the project, from high to low technology, from hammer to CNC.
What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
Color is as important as shape or as patterns or textures, all important parameters.
Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
Clear, I really believe in co-design, my partners are chosen depending on the type of project but mainly they are people who believe in design and in the project in which they work.
Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
All the books, it is not important what we read but how we read it.
Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?
I would like to travel through time and talk with Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Beethoven
How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
They are important but not fundamental, in design people are the most important thing.
What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
It depends on where I am, who I am with and what I mean. Each scenario has its own reason, every food is the reflection of a culture, every form is the consequence of a function. We need to look at things in a "bigger way".
Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?
The first time I designed a product, when they asked me for the product name I decided it would be my wife's home address ... I couldn't explain why, I liked it as an idea. The name was not important for that project but then it turned out to be decisive in the marketing campaign .... don't ask me how it happened because neither I know it.
What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
I don't know what a designer is great but what motivates me: my children.
When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
No, as a child I liked to take things apart, build my toys, maybe I didn't know it but I was already a designer.
What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
I do not know it and I do not know if I would like to know where the world also goes because I probably won't be already here.
Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?
I have no fans, I hope my students can say that I was a good teacher.

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