Interview- Mauro Lecchi

Mauro Lecchi
Product Designer

Born: Milan, Italy

Tell us a bit about yourself...When did you discover 3D? What programs do you use?
My experience is somewhat particular. I had a stationery shop.
But my main job was to create shop windows for stores and various other activities. Some architects and teachers have seen my work and they told me more than one time to attend a school of design.

Three years ago, I attended the Scuola Politecnica di Design in Milan. During the first year I followed the Product and Interior design.During the second year I did a Masters in Transportation Design in collaboration with Lamborghini. Now I'm working in an important design studio in Milan, over all about industrial products.

During the free time, I work with 3D softwares alone because my aim is to create a design studio with a range of services for customers, starting from the sketches of the idea and coming to virtual visualization.
Your experience focuses on auto industry. What attracts you to this industry and do you want to make it a permanent career? 
The cars included in my portfolio are an exercise in virtual modeling. In particular, I use Autodesk Alias Studio.
I use different software also, like 3D Studio Max, Keyshot, Showcase, Premiere and After Effects.

I am passionate about geometric shapes in general. My first passion is the car and the transportation design. But the industrial field is very interesting and variegated. I think there are more opportunities in this field, in order to open a studio alone.
How does your style compare to the best you’ve seen? Which are the most common mistakes you seen in the modeling of other artists?
A common mistake is the lack of details. With all details, the virtual model is very realistic, very close to the real object. Many guys do not have patience because take a long time to create the details.
Often, they want to do immediately a rendering with materials, lights, reflections and shadows. But using different softwares, to create a good rendering is very easy and fast. Is much more important to spend time about the model and to refine it with all details.
You did your Master Transportation Design with Lamborghini. What can you tell us about the challenges?

The Master with Lamborghini was divided into two parts. In the first semester I created a concept yacht.
It seemed curious and interesting to imagine, in the nautical industry, a similar situation as that of an automobile: the same amazement at seeing a Lamborghini in a parking lot could be reproduced seeing a Lamborghini yacht in a harbor.
I had never designed a boat. Buying several magazines I realized that, not knowing much about boats, I couldn't recognize the boats immediately, but I had to check the make and model, except for certain cases. The first idea was to create an object that was completely out of the traditional stylistic norm but still feasible and realistic: in fact the hull recreated in 3d already exists.

The rest came from the analysis of Lamborghini cars: the air intakes have always been accentuated, so, starting from the side view of the Reventon, I transformed the intake behind the door into a huge window, so characterize the boat with a single large element.
This, besides illuminating the interiors, could divide the side view of the yacht into two parts optically, making it recognizable even from afar. The yacht expresses dynamism and motion, using clean and tight surfaces, and the cut that runs along the side ensures a strong identity and readability. In the second half, the car was very close to production and in this case I had several constraints, first of all respecting the Murcielago package. The idea was not to distort the language of the company, but to use simple and realistic surfaces, creating a form recognizable as Lamborghini, even without a logo on the hood.

The car does not seem like a deliberately stylistic end in itself, in a spasmodic search for futuristic forms never seen before: it is a more realistic interpretation of an object that must still be sold to the public.
The attempt was mainly to create a different front, retaining some characteristic features of the Gallardo and Reventon: in particular, the air intakes are turned outwards while the headlights follow the same horizontal development as the entire front section. Another characteristic feature is the negative cut of the roof near the bonnet, with the transparent part that creates a kind of continuity with the latter.

Compliance with the ergonomic standards and equal realistic attention to the interior, although it has not been developed in all its details.
There aren't many preparatory sketches because, once certain passages were finalized on paper, the definitions of the forms and proportions were made directly by working the clay in scale 1:4.
How do you start working on a form or a surface? Do you use exact references or just imagination? 
When I create an existing object, I use specific references or some Jpeg with orthogonal views.
But when I create a new object, I fix a few ideas on paper, then I create the virtual surfaces directly in Alias using the immagination and immediately controlling the real proportions amongn the volumes. I did it because I would like to propose a redesign of the Citroen Dyane 6 electric.

What new projects do you have in 2011. What can we expect? 
In 2011 I would like to refine the yacht Lamborghini style in collaboration with an Italian shipyard. I have a collaboration with this company to develop a yacht concept with very high quality and high personality.

The concept is based on the conviction that "luxury" is not only size and precious materials. It is the excellence of the object, with a strong personality, able to offer a strong alternative with its decisive and readable forms .

Everything started with a personal imagination, with the belief that there is a big chunk of customers looking for products with excellent personality, ever-increasing build quality and style. The purchase of these items is something very emotional, to the point that the customer no longer feels the danger of approval but increases his affinity with the product.
I hope to start new collaborations with some East'companies about the boats but this is not so easy. I continue to work in the design studio in Milan. At the momentt, unfortunately, I can not show anything to the public. I would like to present some new models also.
What is the typical starting point in a 3D project? How long does it usually take? 

The typical starting point are biggest and important surfaces. They are the surfaces that can define the volume and the proportions of the object. The modeling time depends on the accuracy and quality details.
For example, the Ferrari GTO took about 3-4 weeks.

Fun fact: my teacher told me to put in the porfolio some 3D models about existing objects so the people have a reference point because they know the objects.
This allows to understand the real modeling capabilities because they can check the right surfaces and proportions.

We know the “ups”, but tell us about the “downs” in your career.  Was it an easy ride? 
The career is very difficult. There is not a lot of space. Above all, it is very difficult to find the right people. I'd like to have an experience abroad, just in America would be nice.
The main skill is the ability to understand the customers. Not only draw futuristic concepts but think that an object must be sold on the market. Is important to create realistic and pleasing shapes.

Another important skill is to know a 3D software, to transfer immediately an idea from paper to virtual space. This allows to fully express the imaginations.
Out of all the projects you have done, which one is your favorite and why?
My favorite project is certainly the Lambo style yacht. I think the concept is very strong and pleasurable. In addition, there are real opportunities for further development.
If you had the opportunity to spend a day with anyone from this industry, who would it be? 
 Chris Bangle .
What would you like to add to your portfolio? 
I'd like to add the project of two yachts in a very complete and professional way. I would like to add some industrial and interior design also. Of course, new virtual models not only existing cars but new proposals.
I really hope in few weeks to show something new.