IN: Inspiration

Q&A with Giovanni Zambri

Giovanni Zambri, an emerging creative and architectural lighting designer, won the Industrial Design Category prize at the 2018 PPC Imaginarium Awards.


  • Tell us about yourself. Where are you based and what projects/undertakings are you involved in currently?

I am a proudly South African-Italian 27-year-old designer who is passionate about what I do. I am currently employed as an architectural lighting designer at Smith Tait and I am working on various lighting projects in Dubai and South Africa.


  • At what point did you become interested in industrial design? What sparked the desire to enter a creative field?

My Italian grandfather was a master builder and my South African grandfather was passionate about carpentry and art. There is the simple pleasure that you get from creating something out of nothing and the process you take to get to the final design. There is satisfaction in standing back and acknowledging to yourself that you did that, and in looking at something that is there already and seeing it in a way that’s different to how you would if you just did this or that to it…

I was interested in the way you can mould cement like a plastic to produce something functional. I like the industrial design category as it is challenging and interesting.

 PPC Imaginarium

  • Do you have any formal training and/or qualifications? If so, from where?

I have a BA (Hons) in interior design from Greenside Design Centre.


  • Who and/or what inspires you as a creative?

I am inspired by life and what is around us. Take the bicycle, for example: alone it does nothing – it needs the human being to create movement. You can stand back and admire it as a piece of industrial art and treat it like a sculpture that makes a statement about what is historic; however, it takes human willingness and the effort to be involved to create the movement that it was designed to facilitate, and to explore the possibilities that it opens up. I guess it is having the ability to ask the questions “What if…?” or “How about…?” and then having the courage to go out and try the idea. If it doesn’t work the first time, there is always a chance for improvement and trying in a different way.


  • What is your opinion of the arts and design industries in South Africa?

There is incredible talent across the spectrum and I believe that South Africans are very talented as a nation. We are leaders in creative and innovative design thinking and design solutions and this can be seen on a daily basis when one walks or drives in Johannesburg. We have exceptional talent when it comes to young designers. We have a gift when it comes to working with raw materials and what nature provides.

 PPC Imaginarium

  • As a creative, what part of the PPC Imaginarium Awards did you find the most rewarding/fulfilling?

The part that I found most rewarding/fulfilling was the challenge of doing better and pushing boundaries, trying a different concept that has challenged me on many occasions.


  • What role can a platform like the PPC Imaginarium Awards play among emerging creatives in your industry?

It inspires creatives like myself to go out there and do it. It inspires you to go to people in different industries to understand how to approach a concept. We are encouraged to look at the possibilities rather than what others consider impossible. Creativity feeds on other creativity. It inspires you to try something different and will inspire you to collaborate with artists and other creatives. The PPC Imaginarium is a stepping stone to new exciting possibilities. 


  • What are your plans for the future?

Design and more design. I aim to make spaces more welcoming through the use of lighting. I also aim to work on the next version of a limited range of concrete bikes in collaboration with artists and other creatives. I will be looking for the next challenge involving cement and design.


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