This is how car and Shoe designer Walter de Silva is coping with Corona #togetherWeAreEurope
Outstanding Italian designer Walter De Silva has worked as head of Volkswagen Group Design until 2015. Before that he was in charge for the design of SEAT, Audi and Lamborghini brands. In his younger days he also leaded design teams at Fiat and Alpha Romeo. Some of his famous creations are the VW Polo, the Audi A6 and the Alpha 156.
Today the 69 year old form perfectioner is doing shoes, brillant classy evening shoes! He always knew that he would do them once he is retired – he grew up in a household where everything was about shoes as his grandmother did women's and children's shoes. He is producing his one of a kind heels in partnership with no other than Gianvito Rossi.
MADAME: How are you doing recently?
Walter De Silva: I am well despite the current situation, thank you. Considering my age, I am taking the regulations very seriously, being respectful of the sanitary advice and staying at home to avoid any harm to myself and others. I follow closely the news from different countries, from Italy my motherland and Germany my country of residency and I hope that a vaccine will be found soon. Luckily enough, as we are living in Munich, a green city, I am witnessing the beautiful spring blossoming trees and flowers are changing every day. It makes us rediscover the seasons, to watch them more closely, to enjoy them more intensively. Today, the crisis seems to be asking for a quieter rhythm and is making us rethink what really matters. I hope people, on a personal level as well as on company level, will take this into account. A sector which should rethink its seasons is the fashion industry. As Giorgio Armani shared recently, brands should adopt a slower fashion philosophy. With my footwear brand we will be part of this movement by doing only one collection per year.
M: Are you working from home? How is it going?
W.D.S.: My team and I are working from home, pretty much all our work can be done from laptops nowadays. My team is concentrating on our digital strategy as we want to expand our e-commerce to allow worldwide delivery, and we are keeping up with our online community through social media. The most important thing is to keep a good line of communication within the company while the team is apart, but we have many great tools to do so today. On my side I keep on creating, I have a strong desire to produce completely sustainable shoes, therefore I’m doing researches into materials and possibilities.
M: Did you learn anything new, maybe a skill, during this crisis?
W.D.S.: While a crisis like this one is often a moment of hardship and struggle, one must remember that it is equally a time in which opportunities emerge. As you may know, I am a designer with many fields of interest, with projects involving creation, design and engineering. This new situation and perspective on our societies needs have given me a lot of ideas, unfortunately confidential for now. Also, as I have more time, I’m drawing more than usually and I’m writing my second book.
M: What does solidarity mean to you?
W.D.S.: Solidarity is a strong word and it is amazing to see some very human reactions from companies, governments and people in general. I am currently experiencing it on two ways: on the professional and on personal level. With my concept design company we are contributing to the improvement of health care by working on upcoming projects in collaboration with hospitals and external businesses in Italy. I’m glad to be sharing my skills and engineer mind on meaningful projects. On the personal side I am strengthening my familial relationships, doing my best to call and support my loved ones so as to get everyone through these hard and in some cases lonely times.
M: What are you most looking forward to after shut-down?
W.D.S.: When the crisis will be resolved, I will drive to my motherland Italy, my personal paradise. I will contemplate the beautiful sight of the blue Mediterranean sea, the scent of orange trees and the sounds of my reunited family.