The designer who deals with product, graphics and interiors has won several awards in Italy and abroad, including the International Compasso d'Oro. Read his interview!

INTRODUCE YOURSELF: the IED School you attended, the year and the Course you graduated in.
I am Paolo Metaldi. I graduated at IED Milano in Industrial Design in 2006.

YOU NOW: your job description, where you work, projects you are working on.
I currently work as a freelance designer and as a design manager for two Italian brands, Viceversa and Excélsa. One of my latest projects is called Ai Mari, a dedication to Enzo Mari and to the seas (the “mari”). The vases are floating bottles, like those crowding our seas. Made by 3d printing recycled materials like reused Pet or Plasmix (a compound of mixed residual plastics), the vases rehabit the form of a bottle, the industrial waste they originate from, and engage in a different mission, that of protecting what is more delicate, a flower. With the recycled material I recreated the original form, and given it a different meaning. With Ai Mari I want to talk about the potential and reuses of waste materials: the floating bottle capture curiosity and drive reflection on to our impact on the environment.

CREATIVITY: IED means creativity, culture, projects and planning. Let us know how both these aspects led you to choose IED and how they helped or influenced your career.
For me IED has meant a constant exchange between professionals and companies; a constant exchange between the different cultures of the students… This creates curiosity and creativity which is then translated and finalized in good projects. I think the curiosity for the different disciplines that satellite around the world of design was fundamental for my training.

AiMari vases

IED LOCATIONS: all our schools are found in some of the most creative and vibrant cities around the globe. Let us know why you choose the city you went to and what role it played in your student and future life.
I chose Milan because I had already done a year of Architecture at the Politecnico. It was already the reference city for the world of design and this choice was fundamental for my training. It’s a city contaminated by all kinds of creative expression, photography, art, history, cinema and music. Milan is the city where I still live and work today.

MEMORIES: let us know of a particular episode during your studies in IED, that you remember fondly and is a moving or funny experience.
I remember very well all the design course of the first year. My teacher was Giulio Iacchetti, I learned many things from him, including the importance of always expressing what you think and the importance of moving forward even in the difficult moments of life and consequently in the difficult moments of a project. A funny moment was when I fell asleep during a design lesson. I was pleasantly woken up by the professor. In those days of deliveries I was awake until 3 AM to finish the design tables... and a nap was justifiable.

CHALLENGES OF OUR TIMES: how have the challenging times we're living affected your professional life?
In these difficult moments you realize how precarious everything you have built over so many years can be. You have to create solid foundations to resist and sometimes awareness is one of those foundations. In the last year I have had more personal time in which I have discovered illustration, a discipline that awakens more intimate sides and reassures me.


ADVICE: your recommendations to future graduates for a bright and creative future in your field.
It will seem trivial but the advice is to try to make a few compromises: to be like “sponges” and try to absorb ideas from other disciplines as well. Contamination must be part of professional growth to find our true direction.

MORE ABOUT YOU: let us have links to web pages where students can discover more about you and your work.
You can follow my Instagram profile ( and my site (

LAST BUT NOT LEAST: what was the activity that you found most valuable to your personal growth? Also, can you tell us about your thesis project?
Certainly one of the most important and training activities was the relaunch of the brand I work with, Viceversa. We have collaborated with great designers and young promises. in 3 years we have produced more than 40 products and In two years we have won many awards, including 1 Compasso d’Oro, 1 honorable mention at the Compasso d'Oro, 2 Good Design Award 2 Red Dot Design Award and a participation in the ADI Index plus other minor international awards. A great satisfaction and a great stimulus. The thesis project was to create a product that contained a new technology that would replace Bluetooth; the technology was called "ZigBee" and to the company that owned this technology we proposed to create a portable object that could revolutionize the waiting system in public places such as post offices, banks etc. The idea was truly revolutionary for 2006 and allowed users to reserve a “seat” in the queue but allowed, thanks to the technology used, to be able to move away until the acoustic call signaled their turn. It is incredible if I think that today this technology is even present in fast food restaurants.

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