Interview With Anna Borla From Italy

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Anna Borla

Anna Borla connects her passion for Yacht designs to her life, surrounding herself with elements of nature and experience.

Interview With The 2022 New York Product Design Awards Winner – Anna Borla

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your background.
I graduated at Politecnico di Milano in product design and then I did the Master of Yacht Design (MYD, Politecnico di Milano). I grew up in Piedmont, Italy, close to the mountains but my passion about Yacht Design was born in Sardinia during all summers. My parents and my grandparents, have always loved the sea. After the MYD, I started to design Yachts in a design studio in the centre of Milan. Then, I took part into Boat International and Oceanco Shipyard contest and I became one of the six finalists of the Young designer of the Year. After that, I designed other yachts as Hide, that received a lot of important press like CNN Travel, Business Insider, Daily Mail and so on.
2What made you become/why did you choose to become a product designer?
I am a product designer and a yacht designer. I love designing products because I like to discover what people need. For example, I designed Hook, a tool that help us not to touch any surfaces with our hands. It was very useful during the pandemic. ( At the same time, I really love boats and the sea. I feel free when I am sailing surrounded by the nature and I love designing new Yachts that are not only products but they represent a new experience on board.
3Tell us more about your business/company, job profile, and what you do.
I founded my design studio a few years ago; Anna Borla is a design company that is able to design products, yachts and interiors. My last design product is Hook, the tool that help us not to touch the dirty surfaces of the underground, doors, ATM machine and so on. The same product is also sold by Alessi (one of the most important Italian design companies) and the name is StaySafe. I also have many Yachts design projects, new constructions and refit projects. We design every single detail of the boat, from the sketches to the shipyard.
4What does “design” mean to you?
I think "design" is all that surrounds us and of course, it is the way to improve people life. I usually observe every detail of our life and I try to design the best way to improve our world.
5What’s your favourite kind of design and why?
I love minimal style, clean and straight shapes. My projects are always inspired by objects, architecture and Yachts that have a simple design and full of contents. I like focus my design on every single detail to give the right attention to the project.
6To you, what makes a “good” design?
I mean a good design when I think about something that is able to improve people's lives with the most simple and clean shapes.
7Describe your design style and its main characteristics.
I focus my design on minimal aesthetic design in which every single detail is able to improve the project. I love traditional materials combined with new ones. I like adding the right technological and futuristic aspect to projects and I always focus my attention on a green and eco-friendly design.
8Tell us about your design process.
First of all, I focus my attention on people's lives aspect. I love pay my attention on every single detail of client lives. That is really important for my design projects because in this way I can “mold" my products and Yachts to find the perfect bond with the clients. Then, I start drawing sketches and everything needed to find the right way to design what the client wants.
9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your design process?
Of course, Italy is one of the best country when we talk about design. I studied all the design process of designers like Giò Ponti, Achille Castiglioni, Bruno Munari, Alessandro Mendini and so on. Also, I am form Ivrea, a small city close to Turin, in the north of Italy. Here, there was one of the most important innovation about design. Thanks to Olivetti, the city has always been focus on design and innovation process to improve everyone's life.
10Congratulations! As the winner of the 2022 NY Product Design Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?
It is always a pleasure received a prize for one of your design but I chose to attend to NY Product Design Awards because I am really in love with this City and one of my goal is to introduce my design there. I have the opportunity to stay at New York Yacht Club when I go to NYC and it is always beautiful to be surrounded by the energy of the City. I really appreciated that the jury liked my design "Aria" and I am so grateful for this amazing prize.
11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2022 NY Product Design Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?
m/y Aria is the new way to sail on a Yacht. The Owner can relax and find a comfortable area that improves his mental health with the help of the surrounding nature. Owner and nature are the point of the project ARIA. Aria has a clean design and she represents every single aspect of my design process. Traditional materials, combined with new ones, she has a design focus on eco-friendly aspects and I pay my attention on every single detail. I really love the design of Aria and the every single aspect of this Yacht. I thought to attend the contest with a Yacht project because I wanted to share my passion about Yachts and sea with this amazing Contest.
12What was the biggest challenge with this project?
The biggest challenge of project Aria, was to find the right compromise to design a comfortable, beautiful and a new Yacht and at the same time to respect the nature and insert a lot of greenery and eco-friendly stuff.
13How has winning an award developed your practice/career?
For now, about Yachts, I has been one of the finalist of Boat International Young Design Award, in 2020. This prize is one of best into the Yacht World and it was really important for my career because thanks to this contest, I had the opportunity to know the most important Yacht Designers. Can't wait to see what NY Product Design Awards have in store!
14What are your top three (3) favourite things about our industry?

I love to feel free to share and give space for creativity.

I always love design new things and something able to improve our lives.

I am happy to see when my design makes my clients feel good and when they appreciated my products.

15What makes your country specifically, unique in the design industry?
I think the Italian style is very elegant and refined. In Italy, many people appreciate design products and they love to surround themselves with important object that have made the history of Italian design. We all have the "culture of design" in Italy and this is very positive for our designers.
16Where do you see the evolution of design industry going over the next 5-10 years?
Of course, I think the design industry is going to go to a 100% sustainable way. That is a real good point and all of designers and the companies will find the best way to respect our world. Also, another important point about the design of the future, it will be the innovation about materials and technologies that will take part into all our design. I think it will be a great challenge for the next 5-10 years.
17If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring NY Product Design Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?
My advice is always to try designing something new, something able to improve our life in every single aspect. It is important focus our ideas both on aesthetic and functional design. This will make it easier for you to design a great new product.
18What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the design industry?
I think one of the only important thing in our design world, is the desire to always learn something new. Do not stop our desire to learn what we do not know yet. That is the only way to improve our skills every day of our life.
19Tell us something you have never told anyone else.
I would like to improve our world with my design.
20Who has inspired you in your life and why?
Every day I try to learn something from my parents and my wonderful grandmother. She is always one of my best inspirations of the day. I learn a lot from her and from my parents, how is the right way to make a good job, how is the right way to respect the others and how is the right way to get respected by the others. I learn to accept life compromises and I always try to put all these teachings in my projects.
21What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
I think the key to success is trying to stay humble and as I said before, do not stop our desire to learn what we do not know yet. I think this is the only important key to being successful in our work and in our life.
22Do you have anything else you would like to add to the interview?
Take a look at the website and share my contacts! :)

Winning Entry

m/y Aria | 2022


m/y ARIA is the new way to sail on a Yacht, she is the new experience on board. The Owner can relax and find a comfortable area that improves his mental health with the help of…
(Read more at New York Product Design Awards)

Anna Borla

Anna Borla connects her passion for Yacht designs to her life, surrounding herself with elements of nature and experience.

Season 1 of the 2022 NY Product Design Awards has officially ended, view the Product Designer and Design of the Year here.