Polymathic, Omnipotentialite, Renaissance man, Imagineer.
The creative definitions of talented people that have diverse talents extending beyond the confined boundaries of individual expertise. If we explore diversity of ecosystems around the globe, we find each are unique in how they have evolved in adjusting to the various demands placed on them. Through changes in climate, species populations and their diversities, the macro and micro living environments of nature somehow adjusts to create a sustainable habitat. Today’s 21st century designers must evolve to merge new technologies with traditional processes from the last centuries. Art, design and marketing have been pivotal influences on how we live, eat, what we drink and wear, what we drive and fly in, and the impressions we make to the world around us. Some of the design world is loud and far reaching. There are large design firms that shape the world through mass marketing and highly identifiable brands and logos. Then there are individual designers who work behind the scenes creating specialized works for the wealthiest clients in the world. Most of their work is viewed only by their clients and the closest of friends and associates. Publication is not allowed and agreements with non disclosures are usually signed. Occasionally their work is made public and credit is given. Sotto lives in both of these worlds.After working with Disney for 13 years as a senior VP of concept design, Sotto set up his own shop in Los Angeles ten years ago. His world moves between creative fantasy and over the top realities. When you go to his website, you find incredible creative diversity, from experiential aircraft design, interiors, theme park attractions, residential design, hospitality, bespoke product design, marketing and brand identity. His passion is contagious.
Being involved in the design world for almost 40 years and living and working in the US, London, Milan and Moscow, there was an immediate rapport between the two of us. My introductory phone call for an article turned into an hour and twenty minute conversation discussing design, travel, client interaction and this small creative world that has allowed us to work with great clients, grow through our experiences and create beautiful, and at times, decadent designs. We knew we were brothers from another mother almost immediately. We both have collaborated with some of the finest craftsmen and women around the world that specialize in lost arts, finishes and benchmade creations that are fit for kings, queens and dotcom lords. Ours is a small world and at times you wear more hats than you ever imagined were available to you. You develop relationships with these incredibly talented individuals that would rather spend their time at their craft than dealing with a myriad of sometimes neurotic clients. You learn to speak their language and they almost psychically know what you are looking for. These are like graceful marriages that develop gradually throughout the years,creating bonds and stories shared years later over great dinners or a favorite bottle of single malt scotch.
The 21st century has brought such a plethora of new technologies and materials to the creative palate. Sotto is deeply immersed in computer renderings that look as real as photographs and all that 3D printing has brought to the development of immediate gratification in seeing a product emerge in a short time span. Combining this with a patina 200 years old or moving into the future with sophisticated awareness is often reflected in his design sensibility and finished product. Emotions and passion run deep within all his creative juices and design solutions. Steve Wynn learned this firsthand when he hired Sotto to design the Ferrari with modern day reality in his concept renderings of SkYacht. Lush leathers accompany rich mahogany interiors reminiscent of a Jules Verne adventure in flight. Details of brass chronometers infuse a setting that are surrounded by hidden luxuries throughout the interior of this customized carriage catered to the most discriminating world traveler. If you are looking for beige, you’ve come to the wrong place.
Sotto on corporate innovation, “Creative groups are hard to deal with, as inspiration cannot always be scheduled, so some brands posture obvious product refinements, as “breakthroughs.” Making it thinner, faster, smaller, wider, based on a hit movie, anything but original. Creativity is unleashed in a messy and powerful force. There is room for structure, good research, planning and informed ideation, but it is easy to forget that instinct is what drives the “mind’s eye”.
The combined inspiration of Bernini’s sculptures, so exquisitely lit in Rome’s Villa Borghese to the majestic roar of a Formula One Ferrari crossing the finish line in Monte Carlo for the ninth time, were key to completing one of the greatest automobile showrooms in the world. Sotto lives and breathes in this world but finds the right balance to spend quality time with his family and friends, a balance that staves off burn out and re-ignites the creative fires.
We are fortunate to showcase his experiential designs in his version of how old world craftsmanship merges “When you are the only one who can literally “taste” an experience that has never existed, expressing passion is part of bringing the “unseen” to others along with you”, says Sotto.
Walt Disney said, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” If you are lucky enough to find Eddie Sotto available for a special project you have in mind, and the chemistry works for both of you, consider yourself fortunate.
Passion is worth fighting for…….
– ALLEN McDOUGAL