May 6, 2021

Two Alumni from RED DOT BEST OF THE BEST: Rigoni and Urso in the winning Rizoma team with the Stealth “mirror”

The two designers (with a common background in strategic design and innovation) are behind the new motorbike patent that has triumphed in one of the world's biggest design awards. “We have helped design an experience that responds to an unspoken need of the motorcyclist”

It is a journey that began in the IED Milan classrooms in 2016, which led Mattia Rigoni and Guglielmo Urso and the Rizoma R&D team to win the Best of the Best Red Dot Design Award 2021 – one of the world’s most prestigious design awards – in the “Automotive Accessories” category.

The winning entry is an innovative patent for the motorbike world: Stealth, an unprecedented rear-view mirror for supersport motorbikes, convertible into an aerodynamic wing and designed to be almost imperceptible, creating a better grip for improved rideability.

Beyond the functionality of the product or accessory, Stealth promotes a complete experience for motorcyclists, allowing them to learn more about the values of the Rizoma brand and to strengthen or reinforce their bond with it through a path of discovery and use of the product, in a series of steps specially designed to take the user by the hand through a world of innovation and aesthetics.

This reflects the common professional growth path of its creators, with an in-depth study of the “traditional” product design to a more strategic and innovation-oriented vision. After a degree in Architecture for the former and a three-year IED course in Product Design for the latter, Mattia and Guglielmo met at the Master in Design – Innovation, Strategy and Product.  A particularly challenging path for Mattia, who came from different studies and arrived (after an internship in FabLab and a maiden foray into the two-wheeled world with the development of a bike locking system) back in 2017 at Rizoma, world leader in tailor-made motorbike accessories. Here he began working in the R&D Department, bringing a more “holistic” approach to design. Guglielmo Urso, who is already working as a freelance mobility designer and lecturing at IED Milan, both as a tutor and assistant for three-year theses and as a lecturer in 3D Modelling for the Master’s course, will also join him in 2018 to support the strategic and visionary approach.

With the Rizoma team we have tried to revolutionise and redesign the user experience in relation to the product, bringing attention to new communication materials that are increasingly more engaging and impacting. An experience that starts online and ends offline, with special attention also paid to the packaging: the removal of the old printed sheets in favour of a QR code that links to a dedicated landing page complete with video tutorials for assembly,” the two designers explained.

What was your ultimate goal in designing the project?

“To give the riders something they have never seen before: an idea, not just an exercise in style. We aimed to design a product that the motorcyclist needed but could not express. This intuition came about after careful research and analysis in the supersport segment: the user in this case tends not to want to “dirty” the silhouette of his bike with huge mirrors, which could in some way weigh down the overall image”.

Do you have to be a passionate motorcyclist to design an accessory that enters so deeply into the motorcycling experience?

“None of us are… and maybe that is our strength. It helps you to be more objective. A passion for two wheels can often lead you off course (in terms of design). There are so many nuances in this world, clusters and sub-clusters of motorcyclists. For example, the vision of a Harley user is completely different from someone who owns a Ducati, even those who are fond of the same brand may not be aligned, depending on whether they have sport or touring bikes and so on. Not being among them helps us to look at things from a different perspective. It is our passion for design, our obsession with detail, ergonomics and user experience that allows us to make the difference” said Mattia. “The fact that we are not motorcyclists therefore allows us to present a new vision. One of them would find it difficult to find something different within their own sector, a NON-motorcyclist has the difficulty of transferring a vision of another world within the motorbike world” – points out Guglielmo.

What do you still carry with you, as professionals, from your years as IED students?

Perhaps the concept of design is much broader than we normally think, the holistic approach is perhaps the aspect that struck me most. Not just product design, but a mindset that can make a big difference when brought into an industrial organisation. I like to say that the role of the designer is to act as the glue between the different business units of a company. Product design is just the tip of the iceberg: there are so many aspects to take into account in the whole process: everything has to be aligned and designed so that the product is functional from every aspect, and above all strategic for the brand. It’s in our mindset and vision as designers to put the project in a suitable context, environment and time so that it is understood, shared and accepted by everyone” noted Mattia.

And then there are the relationships, the confrontation. “Of my years at IED, I carry with me the people with whom I have kept in contact, we still exchange ideas to gather feedback outside the context that can strengthen the ‘outsider’ vision we were talking about earlier”, concludes Guglielmo.

Click here to see all the awards won by the Students of IED Milan!