Interview with Roberto Sacco
Roberto is known on our forums as ‘speedline’, but I refer to him as speedy. Roberto was the Grand Prize Winner of our ‘Architectural Wonder’ Contest and has been a valued and prolific contributor to the forums.
TheAllusionist: Roberto why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself in a brief bio.
Roberto: Of course. I was born in New York in 1970, but past 5 years my family came back in Italy, to the Southern. Since 1990 I'm living and residing in Rome. I did classical studies and I attended the Faculty of Architecture of the University "La Sapienza", where I graduated with first class honours. I did the public qualifying examination to be an Architect two years ago. Now I'm a freelancer.
My irresistible passion for the car design starts when I was 15 years old, drawing strange car concepts.
I tried to do an automotive design school in the Northern Italy (Modena), but I had not the requirements and the money to get in, even if the school was very far from my little town. My father that was a surveyor and a little builder, conveyed me the passion for the Architecture and the constructions too, so then I decided to attend the Faculty of Architecture. I love to create 3d models, both in CG and in clay or balsa; sketching, listen to good music, read frequently and write something by myself.
TheAllusionist: I think you have an amazing talent in both architectural and automotive design, what is your educational background and is it related to either of these fields?
Roberto: Thank you for this kind consideration of me, I'm flattered. The course of my studies was oriented on the technological direction, only for the architetctural field. I did many exams in Industrial Design too and my thesis-project "Birail" was in this trend, but I never studied Transportation Design, if not like an autodidact. I think I have many gaps to fill in. The thesis was the starting point to analize better how should be a concept-car project. My supervisor, a Yacht Designer, gave me the possibility to do principally an automotive thesis and he sent me to a Fiat engineer, near Neaples, who suggested me many solutions for the technical part. I thanked them both for this opportunity. I think that create something that would be architecture or a concept-car for me is a constant pursuit.
TheAllusionist: Are you currently working and if so what do you do?
Roberto: I've changed my kind of job about eight months ago. Before I've worked in little firms like a draftsman and I did many collaborations with and for my colleagues, but all this was not gratifying and enough remunerating. So I decided to stop a little bit and try the freelancer activity. In the meantime I've considered to improve my skills in CG, partecipating to many contests. Now I'm more satisfied about my work and I could see more results. My aspirations are getting experiences whether in a firm-study, even going abroad, or have a little study by my-self with other designers and/or architects collaborators. So I will decide and will choose the opportunities in front of me. I want to be able to reconcile the work-production with the creativity-research. I know that could be difficult, but I want to try. Right now I'm working on a project that consists in a changing destination of use, a transformation of a rural depository in an habitation. A good test for myself skill valuation. You could see the work in progress on this site. Parallely I'm trying the Evermotion's contest with an auto design entry. Little things, I know but very instructive.
TheAllusionist: Can you describe your average day?
Roberto: It isn't something rigid or inflexible, but I generally wake up in the morning at six-seven a.m, sometimes five a.m., when I'm under pressure. I like so much the daybreak and sunset atmosphere. I get the breakfast and I check my e-mails on internet. Then I see some CG posts on my favourite forums for news or new entry concepts. I do a little resume of what I must do in the day and it starts. In front of me there are my workstation and lots of sheets of paper and a pencils. These are my main instruments of work. Sometimes I sketch quickly anything that flashes me in my mind, also words for the name of my concepts. A break for lunch and in the afternoon I choose to read something or watch the news on TV or search on internet or go for a walk for about one hour. Then I restart the work till about eight-nine pm. Something for dinner and then if I haven't something to work I like to watch a DVD or a film on TV or talk with friends by phone. The day ends generally at about twelve p.m.
TheAllusionist: I believe you use SoftImage XSI, is this correct and do you use it exclusively or do you use it in conjunction with other programs?
TheAllusionist: This is one of my favorite questions to ask, what is your process for creating such great work?
Roberto: It's very simple to explain. The first step is the idea. This sometimes comes instanctly like flashes or visions in my mind or by reading-watching on architecture or design works, viewed on magazines or directly: this provokes a "planning stage reasoning". Also an artistic and architectural conference or exhibition often gets the same effect. Then starts the sketching phase: I try to find lines or shapes for the function of the idea, I work with the space, the dimension or with technical solutions. I do feedbacks from the large to the smaller scale and vice versa. If you see I like so much the dynamic sketches! Sketching for me is essential, an exercise that "opens my mind". Sometimes I use my extemporary sketches when I see the right opportunity: this happened with The Guardian, where the initial different sketches were joined in the same concept. All this phase I like to call "Pre-Forma", because the result is a first proof of the concept. A little trick is to leave the idea/sketch alone for a little while and then instanctly retake it for a suitable testing of conviction. If it is good I go ahead, otherwise it will be rejected. Next step is to scan the main sketches and start the modelling process, where I setup the object/s dimensions and proportions. Now the idea takes the shape that I want, matching with the technical solutions. Somethimes I see that what I've sketched is not so good in 3d, but only in a 2d view. In this case I modify partially or totally the initial shape, changing the main lines of the concept. I plan directly on the 3d model and it is an exciting exercise for measure it by sight. When I'm totally satysfied by the model, I finish it with renders and post-production.
TheAllusionist: What do you see as your strengths and what are you currently working on to improve?
Roberto: The passion on what I conceive is my most important strength. Also the perseverance, the patient and the constant pursuit of improvement are my special qualities. Always we test many changes to improve our skills. The best think is, for me, the consciousness to need improvements and this pushes me up to test new things and methods. This incites me a lot to get better. However I wish to: render better my sketches in Photoshop, someone are very ridiculous for me; conceive a car like a pro and learn better the softwares that I'm using. In the way of thinking, I would to explore the architecture and the design, automotive included, not in the academic manner but through aimed experiences and in-depth studies. This is never simple to do.
TheAllusionist: What is your favorite subject matter to work on?
Roberto: In architecture I like to work on the "feeling of the space", either on a small scale (houses) or in a big scale. The space, for me, is the first material of an architect, I mean a "measured space" inside or outside. I like to show an "architecture of significance" with the "value of the signs" and the frame support. I aim to obtain the lightness in the plastic shapes. In car-design my favorite subject is the "dynamism", that I would to attach importance to all the shapes, and the hi-tech showiness.
TheAllusionist: Who do you look up to and who has influenced you?
Roberto: There are lots of architects that I look up to, from a remote past the Emperor Adriano, Bramante, Michelangelo, Raffaello, Borromini, Bernini....from a recent past Louis Kahn, Le Corbusier, FL Wright, Mies, Aalto, Terragni... nowadays Tadao Ando, Peter Eisenman, Richard Meier, Zaha Hadid, Alberto Campo Baeza...the list could be very very long, because the Masters are always a good reference for everyone. I think that each work of them could influence us directly or indirectly, but I want to answer at your question. I think that 3 architects I could mention: Wright for the energetic lift of the shapes, Kahn for the expressiveness of the signs and the poetics of the "light and the silent", Tadao Ando accordingly for the light and the wall consideration. In the automotive field I look up to Giugiaro, Bertone, Pininfarina, Chris Bangle and I admire so much the Harald Belker's and Hussein Al-Attar's concepts and renders.
TheAllusionist: Is there a question you wished you were asked or anything you want to say to the community?
Roberto: I could say: "feel and believe on your own skill and your talent, anyone has lots of, with good will, you will see the results come out". Passion, practice, exercise and an open mind could help to increase these (skill and talent). I wish you all the best!
TheAllusionist: I am sure you will have a great career, where do you hope to be in five years?
Roberto: Thanks a lot for that, but I should be also content with a normal career: I like to "keep my feet on the ground" and be concentrate on "how could I express my works". Should be good if sometimes I will have little satisfactions, like I had in this last years. Yes, I hope to work in a little automotive firm, but this is a little impossible, I think, because I haven't the right background, but who knows? I continue to hope on my dream. Really I want to enlarge my experiences or in a firm-study or by myself like a freelancer, we'll see! Be sure that in five years I wish to be also a member of your site as Speedline!