Issue #52

Mauro Porcini

Il Sognatore

Mauro Porcini is currently the Chief Design Officer of PepsiCo, in charge of leveraging design thinking to drive innovation across the multiple brands of the American corporation. His journey has started in the late nineties in Philips to then continue in Wisemad, a firm created with the music producer Claudio Cecchetto, and to then evolve in 3M, where Mauro has been leading design for about 10 years before joining Pepsico. In the past few years Mauro has been recognized in a variety of ways by a diversified list of authorities in the field of creativity and innovation. Amongst them Fortune Magazine listed him in the “40 under 40” ranking – its list of “the business’s hottest rising stars”, Ad Age named him in their “Creativity 50” – its list of the “world’s most influential creative personalities” and Fast Company recognized him as one of the “50 Most Influential Designers in America” and “Master of Design” 2010.

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What do you do in your life (work and fun)?

I follow my dreams, in an eternal quest to fill my existence with intense emotions, beautiful memories and fulfilling experiences: that’s the common thread that drives my life everyday, in my professional and private journey on earth. This translates then into my current mission as design leader of a multinational corporation to access and impact in a positive way the life of millions of people, building fragments of happiness, joy, convenience or pleasure in their every day through our portfolio of products, brands and activations. While in my private life I travel, I read, I discover, I learn, I grow, surrounded by family, friends and new people, always connecting with me and amongst them diverse human beings that I meet in my journey to ignite new reactions, new discoveries, new ideas. On top of this I can’t refrain myself by buying with alarming frequency a great variety of shoes, interesting and unexpected shoes of any form and color, reaching the quote of more than 150 pairs in my wardrobe and finding myself becoming a sort of shoes collector.

What made you leave Italy and chose NYC?

A dream. Joining a company that could give me the resources and the access to impact the worldwide society with the results of my creative work. And moving to a city that is the most relevant ‘piazza’ in the planet to mix, connect and blend unbelievable people coming from all around the world and driven by a common passion and willingness to change society and realize their dreams in the most different ways. New York is the city of the endless possibilities, it’s the city of great potential transformed in remarkable actions every day.

Please share your best memory in the City.

I don’t have A specific “best memory” in this city. New York is too intense and too dense to have just one best memory. What I cheer the most in my heart is the access that the city has given me to incredibly inspiring people. Individuals that sometimes have become good friends and other times just people that I have crossed in my life. My best memories are the ones of those moments in which I got to know them and the following times in which I got to spend meaningful days with them, learning from them, exchanging with them and growing with them.

What made you choose this specific location and outfit?

The Brooklyn Bridge and its surroundings have a special meaning for me. They are places that I see almost every day, as I live nearby their location and my itinerary to work often take me in their proximity. But the Brooklyn Bridge evokes also a very remote memory very personal and very intimate, of a time that has gone, the time of my childhood: I remember back then that one of the most popular brands of chewing gums in Italy was the Brooklyn Gomma – La Gomma del Ponte. I grew up with this gum with that Brooklyn name, that bridge drawn on its pack and that bridge part of any advertising of the brand, icon of a world far far away, exotic and mystic, belonging to almost another planet. I never understood the connection between a bridge and a gum and yet that pack of gum in my pocket every day made the sound of the word “Brooklyn” and the image of that far away bridge so familiar in the ears and the eyes of that Italian kid, that then became an adult. And today that bridge is part of the landscape of my neighborhood and it’s for me the beauty of the present architecture mixed with the sweetness of the romantic memory. The outfit instead is simply “ME”: it’s my everyday outfit, my uniform… I may vary the selection of colors, materials, cuts, shapes, brands, but I always wear a jacket – usually well tapered. I always wear a pair of trousers – most recently they tend to be relatively narrow and short on the ankle. I always wear an interesting watch – the one I am wearing here for instance has no hands and no numbers and essentially doesn’t tell you the time (as we are surrounded by time in any tech device that we have so eventually we don’t need a watch to tell us the time anymore!).  I most of the times wear a black neutral V-Neck shirt – that inconspicuously disappears under the jacket and let me play with more freedom and flexibility with the details of the other pieces. And finally I always wear a pair of elegant shoes, that I use often as the element enabling a touch of unexpected extravaganza.

Your thought about this project, ITALIANY.US

I find the idea emotionally romantic and scientifically intriguing. A sort of ethnographic experiment. Is there a common visual thread across this hyper-diversified group of people that just shares culture and location of origin with now location of destination and residency? How much, in the case of New York, this city has transformed these Italians or how much these Italians have been in reality “preselected” by this city through Fate because they matched the city’s criteria and would have been able to embrace her, enjoy her, strive in her without being stretched, chewed and rejected? Is there a special common sparkle in their eyes? A common smile? A common body language? Is there a common mind status that translates visually in any attitude? We will see…

How would you describe being an ambassador of the italian style/culture abroad?

Well, it’s important to find first of all a concise and aligned definition of Italian style and Italian culture. Italian style resides in a form of self-awareness and artistic “curation” of your Aesthetic in the most etymological meaning of the word: ‘Aesthetic as what is perceived by the 5 senses”. I curate my image daily, with fun and spontaneity, effortlessly and with great pleasure, in the selection of the right clothing, through my body language, through the car I drive, through the crafted balance between a proper English and a “proper” Italian accent, through the design of my houses and my office, through the book I read and the objects I use: anything that surrounds me tells a story of conscious and sophisticated Italian style. The Italian interpretation can then be different from individual to individual: I personally search a degree of constant elegance unexpectedly de-balanced by details of extravaganza, typical of me being a designer. The Italian culture instead is something that has been slowly created in centuries over centuries of history by the perfect blend of multiple variables: the amazing Italian culinary tradition, the extraordinary Italian geography and its tourism, the unique art and philosophy, that history of cultural cross-contamination, the powerful mix of design and fashion. Then there is an overarching variable that encompasses all of the above, the blender that shakes and mix them all, and that is the individualistic culture of “l’arte dell’arrangiarsi”, more elegantly translatable in the American expression “the art of problem solving”, and the ability of key individuals to dream and be visionary and then find ways to make things magically happening by connecting, involving, pulling in and pushing out, in a way or the other. That’s the history of our many successful Italian entrepreneurs. I personally try to bring and blend this attitude and the consciousness of our past into my everyday life, in my private moments and in my profession, mixing them carefully with the more anglosaxon culture, driven by strategic thinking and hyper-specialization: and now I know with certainty that what made me reach successfully specific goals that I have set for myself in my life is exactly this blend between our beloved Italian culture and the American one.

  • Shots


  • Time

    150 mins

  • City

    New York

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A visual celebration of Italians working, living and loving in NY and in the US