Hello Marco Simonetti, it is a pleasure to discuss your AI-driven design journey. Human kind is living in a very intriguing time for the arts. The surge of artificial intelligence meeting design generated by humans. Do you believe there is a bold line between the two realities? Where does one reality start and the other end?
I feel this is an exciting time for artists and designers willing to push the creativity boundaries forward. With AI, each creator has finally the possibility to explore undiscovered fields. I strongly believe merging the human brain with AI could definitely open new opportunities moving forward, therefore I would rather imagine a blend between the two realities rather than a bold line.
What is your personal relationship with AI as a whole? What were your earliest experiences and exposures to it?
I started off exploring AI around May / June 2022, mainly using Midjourney and Dall-e 2. I released the first visuals in August 2022, even though it took me until October 2022 to get to a complete concept called “AI EXPLORATION BACKPACK SHAPE EXPLORATION V.1”, a deep journey into organic backpack volumes that got a huge exposure on IG. Since then, I spent months trying to incorporate AI into my design process and this led me to the “JACQUEMUS x NIKE AI CONCEPT”.
The overall idea behind the project was basically trying to give my own vision based on the fact that, as many people out there, I expected a little bit more from the actual release of the physical collaboration between the 2 brands. I tried to raise the bar by giving the community my own creative perspective. In terms of creative process, the JACQUEMUS x NIKE AI CONCEPT has been based on the idea of mixing up different 2D and 3D techniques as a sort of experiment, with the final aim of improving the standard design flow.
It is stunning to see how surreally realistic your work is, especially as they are presented as fashion conceptualizations. How do you believe style campaigns will become revolutionized if we can now start utilizing AI as a tool to bring about new ideas?
All the major global brands are currently exploring AI and I think there will be a huge opportunity for them both in terms of creative and communication perspective. AI could definitely give them the opportunity of engaging a wider community of potential consumers by creating new fields of action halfway between dream and reality. I think style campaigns will completely change moving forward. We will definitely see a mix of real and unreal, physical and digital. Many brands are already incorporate AI into their campaigns (e.i. Valentino). I guess this is only the beginning.
AI has certainly ramped up its presence over the recent years. There was a time when such novelty was unfathomable. How do you believe you impart your own artistic identity when it comes to incorporating such advanced technology with your body of work?
In terms of creative process, I based off my work on the idea of mixing up different 2D and 3D techniques as a sort of experiment, with the final aim of improving the standard design flow. Before approaching AI, I deeply worked on creating my own process to integrate it as a tool for my creative process. These are my 3 key phases to generate a final output:
PHASE 1 / DESIGNER
Project concept generation
Initial 2D/3D visual design mock-up exploration
Al briefing definition
PHASE 2 / ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TOOLING
Product visual design iteration based on Phase 1 output
PHASE 3 / DESIGNER
Al output refinement
Product visual selection / revision and/or 3D modeling
Final visual fine-tuning / post-production
It’s all about finding a unique way to integrate AI into the creator’s process that will actually make the difference moving forward. Having the know-how and technical experience to reverse engineer a potential AI iterated concept to bring it to life as a physical product will also be a key point, therefore in my opinion the designer will keep on having a central role within the design and development process in the future.
I strongly believe art influences AI. AI is only a sort of “powerful creative booster” to me, giving the artist the opportunity to expand the imagination boundaries. AI will always need to be driven by human intelligence and art.
What ambitions do you have in the future when it comes to combining AI with your work?
This is a key topic to me. It seems quite obvious that everyone will be able to easily approach AI within multiple fields moving forward. Generating quick AI visuals is extremely easy and it doesn’t require any specific background. This being said, I think the way each designer will incorporate AI into the creative process will make the real difference in the future.
I strongly believe that AI will always need to be driven by a human intelligence to contextualize a concept, and I think each AI generated visual should be used as a starting point to be evolved by the creator into a final product, instead of being seen as a final output. The design process is very important to me and I don’t see any shortcuts to get to the final goal.
I think we will keep on having new amazing AI tools to evolve ideas in the future, therefore they way a creator will be able to utilize them will make the real difference. I would not be surprised if AI could generate a proper 3D file of a physical product in the future. I feel we are moving towards this direction.
RAL7000STUDIO is a uniquely creative space that you’re heavily involved in, could you tell us about your role in its design and how the space is able to accomplish this beautifully atypical aesthetic?
I am the co-founder of RAL7000STUDIO, an open-minded creative space focused on creating ideas and transforming them into innovative products and platforms. Mainly focused on footwear design and innovation, RAL7000STUDIO is a collective of talented designers based out of Italy, who function as experts within a field of experts, encompassing brand consulting, freelance design, middlemen and collaborators. I am a footwear designer specialized in the creative direction, brand strategy, product design and development.
The added value of RAL7000STUDIO as a team is that we have different backgrounds and inspirations when we get our hands on a new project. Merging our minds together is the only way to create new opportunities for our clients. Our key points are passion, culture and innovation. We have a clear vision on how to get a new project started, but we love the idea of landing on unknown places. Each project is a one of a kind journey for us.
What ambitions do you have for the future when it comes to sustaining your artful nature?
The JACQUEMUS x NIKE COURCHEVEL POP-UP STORE AI CONCEPT opened up many opportunities for RAL7000STUDIO on a global scale. We are currently evaluating them carefully, as I believe each potential collaboration should have a deeply thought strategy behind it, a strong storytelling and a valid reason to be launched on the market.
I will keep on exploring new way to enhance the creative process, generating new and unexpected concepts. On the other hand, I’m 100% dedicated to RAL7000STUDIO and deeply focused on managing the business with my business partners Michael Cutini and Mattias Gollin. 2023 already brought us incredible news so far and I can’t wait to share them with with our community soon.