Paola Paolini studied industrial design and is currently working as a communications intern at Roland DG Mid Europe in Acquaviva Picena, a company that makes digital print machinery capable of expressing all forms of creation. While working, she wrote her thesis on independent design, and also combined this with the practical application of designing and producing her own product line. The necklaces in the Analogico|Digitale collection that are for sale on MakeTank are part of this experience, born in Roland, we might say, and applying three important themes for Paola: technology, design and artisanship.

Her thesis, “Autoproduzione. Il ruolo del design tra artigianato e nuove tecnologie” began with an observation that independent design is a logical progression from other creative fields that often get this label, perhaps starting with film and music, passing through editorial production and finally the creation of design objects.

Paola has been particularly interested in how this phenomenon is related to the availability of digital tools:

“It is clear that this evolution was revolutionized by the internet and by digital culture, which helped significantly reduce cultural and productive distances. I analyzed the theme of "independent design 2.0," which uses the new digital technologies for production (like 3D printing, laser cutting, print and cutting) within new production spaces like FabLabs and Maker Spaces, down to the sale of these products on e-commerces."

Not one to stop at pure theory, she took full advantage of being inside a company like Roland, amongst machines and materials. Her jewelry began, in fact, by reusing production cast-offs, a nice way to give new life to materials. “I was always taught to respect materials. For this reason, some of my jewelry comes from re-use, because i want to give them new life through a respectful transformation, by analyzing their characteristics and evaluating the best way to re-use them," she explains.

Self-production, or being an independent, is surely the harder path for a designer to take, but it’s one that often has advantages. “Both independent production and collaboration with industry can help the designer, as long as int he latter situation one works with 'illuminated' entrepreneurs. But what often happens is that within a corporate structure, designers don't have complete freedom, so he or she feels the need to produce something alone - a real creative outlet."

On the other hand, there are risks associated with being solely responsible for everything, from design to production to marketing and sales. She admits that young designers frequently start out this way to promote themselves and get contacts with industry that might hire them based on their experience.

Her own experience so far is impressive, as she has developed a very original and personal collection of necklaces. These were presented at MakerFaire Rome and the designer affirms that the collection is much more than simple jewelry: “it's a symbolic representation of my roots, values and vision.” The pieces, each one unique, combine two parts, an analog and a digital one.

“This project is special because it unites three generations of my family. I came across a crochet design that my grandmother had used to decorate the edges of sheets for a wedding hope chest. Since my mom knows how to crochet too, I asked her to reproduce it. Meanwhile, I made my own digital version inspired by it. I cut it by laser to match the handmade decoration. In the end, I hand-sew the pieces together. It's a story of the symbolic union between tradition and innovation. I am always on the lookout for dialogues between these fields."

Paola’s work perfectly combines technology and handmade, and re-uses scraps in a way that makes them precious, through the use of a very personal process. These are jewels with a story and a history, and also a future in the making as Paola affirms herself as a designer.

Pick a unique piece from Paola Paolini Design collection on MakeTank.


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