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Coffee Break #006 — Alessandro Biondo

Over the counter: We took a coffee break and had a chat with the people behind the curtains at uppercase, who they are and why they are there. In this series the employees share their perspectives with you.

Meet our latest addition to the team — Alessandro! Of course he likes Italian espresso, but he said he will get used to our black coffee too.

Q: How did you get to know uppercase?

A: During the final months of my Master, I started making a list of all the studios I could apply for an internship to kick-off my career. To be honest, my two wishes were to find a studio that could give me the opportunity to really grow and improve in many aspects of my profile as a designer, and secondly I would have loved to give myself an experience abroad in a really dynamic European city. In addition, my background gave me a solid confidence with editorial design projects, and even though that was what I’ve liked the most during my years of study, I felt the need to strengthen my skills in digital contexts, especially seeing how the world is moving on today. That’s how I got to know uppercase, and I couldn’t ask for a better place!

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your background?

A: I moved out from home after high school to live a gap year in New Zealand, and I think it’s important for me to mention this period because I’ve always thought somehow that that’s where I started to have the first real and mature thoughts about my future. After those amazing months I got back to Italy to attend the Bachelor’s degree in Product Design in Milan. I really got close to design thanks to my passion about furniture products indeed, and I was sure that was my way. After getting into the very first design projects, I realized how fun it was to me to curate all the detailed aspects of products and services we were creating. That’s how I basically developed my huge passion for photography, typography and graphic design in general. Despite the solid background these three years gave me, I totally felt the need to study what I really liked, and I applied for a Master in Visual Design that definitely helped me to understand what I want to do in my life.

Q: Can you tell us more about how it is to onboard online at uppercase during COVID-19? What are the challenges and what are the benefits?

A: Well, I should probably prefix that this COVID-19 situation still did not allow me to be in Oslo, and truly for this reason I was quite worried about the online onboarding indeed. But everything is really going well, way better than expected! I had experienced some remote work already during my last months of university, but I have to say now things are working even better.

I’m really happy I have the opportunity to talk to each person of the studio every week, also thanks to all the collective meetings we hold. This helps everyone to feel like we’re all being together physically in the studio, which I guess is fundamental for all of us, but especially for those who haven’t had the opportunity to work in the studio, like me. I definitely did not expect it, but to me it really seems as though I have already met each colleague at uppercase in person.

In conclusion, considering this as the first online onboarding for uppercase with a new person, I’d definitely say it worked with success and it’s something that will be possible to easily repeat in future with new people if needed.

Q: What do you like the most about design?

A: Well, it might sound obvious, but design really gave me an instrument to communicate ideas and opinions. The way people express their own point of view through design always really impressed me. Moreover, what I love about design is the sense of beauty it makes you get closer to, and the way it allowed me to take care of the aesthetic image of things and people. It all turns around this, being able to express myself through my photography and my design projects. This turned into something indispensable to me.

Q: What aspect of the creative process do you enjoy the most and why?

A: This has always been quite a complicated question to answer to for me. I think a creative process includes many interesting steps, and as a designer you learn to be curious and have the right approach to any of them. It’s easier for me to say which part of this process I might like the least though, and that’s undoubtedly the research! I never really felt keen on doing deep research before designing a project, but I guess it’s due to my huge impatience. Once I get a brief of a project I always love to start immediately designing and giving a shape to my own ideas, but with time you understand how the research in the middle turns to be essential.

Q: What’s a project you would love to work on in the future?

This is my very first experience in a design studio and I can’t hide the fact that I’m literally looking forward to taking part of any type of project. I really want to reach an appropriate ductility that could allow me to show my skills in any small aspect of design. At the same time all I’m currently doing is fun for me, and I’d love to keep on experiencing this cheerful feeling of doing different things. To better answer this question though, I would love to create a cohesion between two aspects of design that intensely marked me in the last period — editorial and digital. I’d want to combine these two elements in a unique and innovative compromise.

Q: What’s important to keep your creativity flowing?

A: It’s not really a formula, but to do that I try to bring out my curiosity by always looking at news related to what I do — which means online design articles and magazines for example. I’m pretty active on social media too. I follow many studios and people, even not related to design, and that is really inspiring for me. This is only one half of the process though. I believe the rest belongs to something way more personal, which for me often means isolating myself in the most intimate places. I have a few places where I feel my thoughts flow in a different way. And it’s not really a matter of keeping your creativity flowing, but just noticing how intense some things get in your mind — this has often brought me to the right thoughts about projects I was working on.

Q: What excites you the most looking forward?

A: I’m excited about this new chapter of my life which is about to definitely start once I’ll be able to move to Norway. This is really something I can’t wait for. I’m now in that moment of life that pushes you to get excited about moving to a new city, find new people and places to be enriched by. I’m happy I found my way, and more importantly I’m now aware of what I want to get from my future years. And that’s eventually what probably excites me the most looking forward. I hope I’ll keep on being curious about things and let them surprise me, but what thrills me as well is to already know that there will be a moment in which I’ll want to stop and decide to be at peace with myself. At that point, it will be exciting to see where I will be and who I will be with.

Thanks, Alessandro!

We’ll be back next month with more insights into uppercase and how we work — in the meantime, dig into our previous posts here, and sign up to our newsletter here.

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