Mark Abouzeid talks with Max Bosio, a creative specialist in the design industry and founder of Nascent Design, the impact Italy’s lockdown had on his personal and professional life as well as ideas on how brand consumers are changing as a result.
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Max is an Italy-born designer with extensive experience as a creative professional. His background includes a diverse range of experiences in architecture, digital media, branding, graphic and visual design. Over the course of his career Max has successfully worked across different media, defining and executing creative strategies for a number of clients both in Europe and the US. Clients he has worked with include Audi of America, Prada Americas Cup, Bottega Veneta, Benetton Group, MTV Italia, Coca-Cola, Flos, Zanotta, Canali, and Beneteau Group among others.
WALKING OUT OF LOCKDOWN with Mark Abouzeid
Every week, Mark Abouzeid reaches out to freelancers, artisans, creatives, culture protagonists and every day people on how they survived lockdown and what the ‘new normal’ means to them, personally and professionally. In an intimate conversation between friends, Abouzeid asks them about the future, what changes they will make to adapt and how they intend to rebuild.
Director: Mark Abouzeid
Producer: Real Lives Channel on youtube
Interviewer: Mark Abouzeid
Editing and Postproduction: Mark Abouzeid
Creative Commons Stock footage:
Woman Washes Hands – Cinesim Media
SFDPH Wash Hands Spanish – SFGovTV
Wash your hands, grab your hand sanitizer, keep Corona and other related infections away – #CapitalFmKenya
200129_01_Medical_4k_005 – Videvo
200314 – Work Life_Hand Sanitiser_04_4k_003 – Videvo
WASH Your Hands Mr Bean! | Bean Movie | Classic Mr Bean – Classic Mr Bean
Music from http://www.Epidemic Sound.com:
“Safehouse (explicit version)” – Iso Indies
Thank you to Zoom for webconferencing and recording.
Copyright Mark Abouzeid, 2020. All rights reserved.
Mark Abouzeid 0:24
Welcome to walking out of lockdown. Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Max bozzio. max is a professional in the creative industry specializing in design. I’ve known max for years. And one of the reasons I’m really excited to have him here today is Max has always had a very specific point of view, a very specific direction. I knew him in the early days of nation design. And it’s always been amazing to me to watch you, Max. Follow That direction, that path and still be able to expand it and integrate other things. I was at PDX fashion when you introduced your line of boots and shoes using old materials, which I thought was absolutely genius, I still want to pair those boots, but we’ll talk about that later. And I think it’s very interesting for us to talk to you today, especially given that, you know, nacin spends a lot of time on corporate transformation. They help people with their brands, they help them direct where they’re going. But also because I know you’re a father, you’re a person who loves the outdoors every year I get jealous of watching your skiing trip photos. So I think it’s a really unique opportunity for us. Good morning.
Max Bosio 1:49
All right here.
Mark Abouzeid 1:50
All right, let’s jump right in. Okay, and the first question I like to ask is, let’s go back to New Year’s Day. All right. What were your expectations for the company? Year, personally professional, how did things look? What did you think this year was gonna be?
Max Bosio 2:07
Well, actually interesting question. I back in New Year’s Day, I was really hoping to get into it. Honestly.
Mark Abouzeid 2:16
I hope we have a pandemic.
Max Bosio 2:21
Clearly I was not expecting anything what it’s actually it’s happening, it’s happening is still happening nowadays. And then actually, I was really looking forward to a great year. You know, I must find it very optimistic. It’s kind of like, the way I try to spend my life generally, especially in a period of life, generally speaking, regardless of pandemic and anything that is very unpredictable by nature. We live in a period of life and history where it’s very hard to make projects and really blinding see the head too far down. But I think you know, having right attitude certainly will help you to kind of embrace you know, the new year is kind of like something really, you know, that’s kind of my attitude. So there were there was, you know, that’s what I was looking forward to. I was looking forward to you know, become a billionaire you know, the same thing.
Mark Abouzeid 3:18
usual things usual things. That billionaire no longer go out lay wake up feeling great every day.
Max Bosio 3:26
You know, enjoy lie. Yeah.
Mark Abouzeid 3:30
Everybody dreams, walk into the office and employees go Oh, thank God, you’re here. We love working for you that kind of thing. The normal,
Max Bosio 3:39
like a normal. You know, dreaming is something that nobody can take these kind of drinks out of each one of us away. Right? So that’s kind of like, you know, where I started from it, you know, at some point know, our lives somehow has changed as we know. All
Mark Abouzeid 3:58
right. Well, first of all, Let’s talk a little bit about lockdown and you are in Milan, Italy was, as we all know, one of the first ones to really effect a lockdown. What happened to you? And then what also happened to your studio? What else happened to the people in your work?
Max Bosio 4:20
I have to say, Yes, we got into a lockdown, basically since the beginning of March. And I have to say, as far as like the lockdown is concerned, both it’s separate the personal aspect and the professional within your country connected, but they’re actually different. And I have to say on a personal level, I like to start with a personal aspect because you know, when you’re when somebody, even for a good purpose is taking away your freedom to go whatever you want to do, do whatever you want to do whatever you want to go is certainly something that is a major change, but I have to say personally And I can talk it about me. I went through this last couple months, kind of a I know my sounds weird, but in a way kind of enjoining is sort of a kind of on hold time that this this because they saw it as an opportunity in a way and you know, and why opportunity. I mean it’s kind of the abroad if you’re in a good health, you know that as important if you’re in a good health, your family, your relatives, nobody’s see it’s in the hospital because odds are that heard a lot of bad stories, that when you go through such life, you know, major traumatic changes in your life. You can see these as a Oh, that’s great, you know, obviously, and we got lucky I get lucky and I try to look into look at this as an opportunity rather than, you know, something that is going to it was going to take away something from me. No. I think if I have to point out when was the major opportunity aspect and personal level? I would say time. Yeah. And you were asked me before, you know about like the beginning of this here, and I was, you know, beside job. So I was actually certainly looking to jumpstart the reading, you know, embracing my life maybe even do better, you know, maybe making, you know, crazy into revenues of the ages, maybe getting new clients, you know, really the classic kind of like, you know, when you’re when you’re enterpreneur when you get your own business, you’re looking forward to expand what you do. Right. And when this happened, I think, you know, in a way, I realized it was a great opportunity to kind of slow down. I mean, I think there is a huge debate has been going on for years, especially in the Western society, about how can we slowing down things and give in, give us a chatter you know, little bit of time to think about to reflect to even get bored, you know, and maybe invent new things and get time to think through it. Also kind of meditating a little bit about where you are in your life, you know, what do you eventually what do you want do going forward. I think this is a great opportunity. I remember a few years ago, I’m 51, by the way, and then when they turn it at 50, when I was actually about to turn 50, I kind of made a commitment with myself to I really want to take this opportunity as it wants to lock the opportunity of celebrate my meet, turn 50 just giving myself like a sabbatical. And you don’t really want to, you know, give myself the gift of some time for myself to travel to do the things that I like to do. I think it’s kind of like, should be personal. I think it should be, you know, something that everybody has to do it has to give as a right in anybody’s life. No, one year just for you. Okay, and that you can really take the time to Do whatever you want to do, you know, I’m going to lose your job, I’m going to go back to school, we’re going to have your life but you still have the time to reflect a little bit about who you are, how you want to work, how you want to move forward. And obviously because of my businesses because, you know, very happy life that we hold, obviously I didn’t take us about
Max Bosio 8:22
because, you know, you get so much tied up into everyday things that can really pull out the plug and say, Hey, guys, I’m going to disappear for like for a while now. So in a way, this was kind of like a, you know, a little bit of like a forcing everybody to get into sabbatical with the advantage that you’re not the only one you know, if your work is forced to be in a sabbatical, so to speak, dramatic as we speak. But you know, I think is always like the way the way you look at things that can make a difference in terms of things are actually acting your life. That’s kind of like the way I’ve seen things in general is more like a sort of like a more Buddhist approach, they can really go against things, you have to go with the flow of things, accepting things that happen to your life, even at the global scale and not fighting. I mean, I’ve seen a lot of people and also getting ready at the very beginning, get a reader preoccupy stressed out, which is totally understandable. You know, it’s completely understandable, especially someone that may be, you know, risking losing their jobs, and they see their life in a way that is not going perhaps or changing the path, you know. Yeah. And but at the same time, you can fight against these kind of things, you know, you can really put yourself against such an event that you cannot really control. You have to accept that anyway. You have to find a way to
Mark Abouzeid 9:52
Yeah, you know, it’s interesting that you say it in that way because I’ve personally experienced that before. also been reading a lot that the first week for so many freelancers was traumatic, almost cataclysmic. But contrary to a lot of other sectors, especially people that were employed, freelancers bounce back, and by the second or third week, were experiencing a lot of what you’re talking about, either because they finally had time to be bored to be creative again, which is what I found, things that I didn’t work on that I pushed aside because I’ve got important work to do. Suddenly. I was creating my mind was writing scripts, I was like, wow, this is actually this is great, you know, but and also, just because we have a tight format, I want to keep this on track. Um, from that, because this is one of the big questions. I think a lot of people have had this experience positive or negative, but now that locked down is starting to release now that we’re starting to go out the door. How much of that do you think you’re going to be able to retain? Or was this a sabbatical and now things go back to the way they were?
Max Bosio 11:09
Well, I don’t think our life both personal and professional is going to go back to normal. As we know, let’s say from the beginning of this here, I think also because this whole pandemic is not over, I think it’s still happening, you know, and it will be happening in some part of the world regardless, even if we’re going to be clean, you know, let’s say if you wish, we hope we all hope everything is perfect and only that way not gonna die, but certainly I don’t think is going to go away anytime soon. You know, the consequences in terms of like, you know, the traveling, you know, moving from one country to the other one, this actually will affect the business to be honest with you. And I think we also haven’t learned and to work also, remotely And we find out that as much as important to you talk to people to meet people personally. But there’s also a good way to be very efficient also, professionally, by using this new technology as we do, we’re doing right now. We also got new clients, you know, 2012, you know, during the pandemic, and because also psychologically for our business, we’re an agency we’re based in Atlanta, we don’t have offices, we’re not a global agency. We don’t have offices in New York, London, Berlin. And before was kind of like, complicated for clients even for you know, even within Europe, it’s reached out an agency which wasn’t, you know, next door or potentially we could meet. Now, we experienced the fact that we can run a business we I, you know, I was running yesterday workshop with this new client based in New York City, and we were in the land. We’re like, you know, radio running the old thing as we’re in the same room and he said, Got it. Like we kind of overcome the these kind of psychological barrier that if we cannot meet in person we cannot work together.
Mark Abouzeid 13:07
It’s interesting because there’s a real split in this culturally. We just had some press today on the Austrian situation and over 60% of the people who were homework and during lockdown want to keep it. They think it really works. It really works in their life. It frees them up. Interestingly enough in the United States, over 80% of the population thinks that home working is impoverishing that they lose their sense of social connection, and that it doesn’t really work as well. Which I find interesting because it also tends to give the idea that a lot of the American culture, their entire community is their workplace. Not just their professional community. Let me ask. Yeah, go ahead, please.
Max Bosio 14:08
I think we need to separate you know homeworking during the lockdown as we all went through which is kind of like, unusual and normal unnatural in some ways. One thing is like find a better balance between you know homeworking and and working the way we used to work. You know, I can tell you, you know, for instance, from my experience when I when I talk with my people, with my guys, my team, and I and I told them that I would love to I would love to and I will try to experiment and going for kind of a mix balanced way of you know, getting to the office working from home, you know, obviously not that you have to stay at your home all the time. No but a you know, one day a week you can you can freely work from home. You don’t have to come to the office. You don’t have to commute Immediately they say we’re locked through this yeah obviously get to find the right balance you know obviously when you go in through like a homework team because in a lockdown you can leave your home except for like buying food and like basic stuff. It’s more it’s it’s unnatural in a way it’s too much. Yeah, yes.
Mark Abouzeid 15:19
Well you haven’t set it up look as as somebody who’s been freelancing either in journalism or in filmmaking or even in culture. I’ve if you want I’ve been homeworking for 25 years, ya know, I always have an office, I always have a part of the house. It’s quite separate. I always have rules like I changed to go to work, I change when works over and things. I have noticed that when you’re in a creative process, that it’s best to have everybody in the same room, that that dynamic of ideas of just throwing things there of feeding off each other. I definitely like to be there. But when it’s time to get work done, I actually prefer the home office because there’s not the interruptions. There’s not the meetings just to have meetings where sometimes happen. But let me ask you one of my favorite questions just because the responses have made me so happy today but alright, let’s say Today’s the end of lockdown. Alright, you’re at your doorway you’re looking out you can go anywhere you can do anything. What’s the first thing you want to do?
Max Bosio 16:33
Since I’m in Italy, I would like to get a nice beautiful coffee from you know nice fantastic coffee bar this isn’t that I can I miss not just necessarily because of the coffee itself is the ritual ality you know of going there and even kind of waiting a little bit, you know, in the morning, or the economic break coffee at home. What is the ritual that is different? You know, that aspect is Something that I kind of missing. And I don’t know how and when we can go we can actually experience the same thing. And perhaps, you know, I that is one thing that I would love to see it has before just different it’s just like it you know, walk into a place you know taking your coffee in a you know in a in a portable cap. You know plastic cab is something that is not the same thing. You know, I want to get a ceramic cup but want to stay on the bar for a few minutes looking out into the people looking at how they dressed up. Yeah, you know, maybe, you know, listen to little people they say, you know, exchanged a few words with a barista. I mean, that’s kind of like, you know, it’s also possible how being a social human being, you know, yeah.
Mark Abouzeid 17:52
No, your your answer is the same as mine. It was the first thing on my list. I just want to go out sit at a coffee place. Have a nice day. So and watch and just participate. That’s life to me.
Max Bosio 18:04
You know, something interesting. It maybe somebody would say, what would you do? Oh, we’ll jump on a plane and we’ll go straight to I don’t know, beautiful island. You know, I think what we also have learned during the lockdown is the appreciation for the most simple basic life that we get from granted very often with things like let’s just have a coffee. But is when something happened like that is your server appreciating like a simple cup of coffee that could go away in a minute? Yeah.
Mark Abouzeid 18:36
It’s very true. Let me ask you. Is there anything looking at today and forward? Is there anything that scares you or makes you nervous about lockdown ending about people going trying to go back to normal or going back to normal?
Max Bosio 18:55
Actually guess one of the thing that we seen happening during To lock them, and in a way, it’s kind of a positive results. And we see, finally our Earth breathing again, which is kind of an interesting, you know, connection between the fact that we’re experienced as a human being a virus, which which can now make your brief while the earth is pretending it’s kind of an interesting, yeah, you know, connection over there, you know. And then so the thing that is scares me the most when I hear people can wait to go back to our previous slides. I think what happened to us as bad as it is, again, it could be also a great opportunity to move forward for better, no better future and learning something and apply some of the things that we we’ve been forced to go through it which actually caused some positive impacts. So the thing that I’m really scared of When I see people I can’t wait to go back into you know pollute the world that you know in the way that we used to before you know that’s kind of because it also our life It wasn’t that perfect and it’s interesting that a lot of people now I was reading an article yesterday I think in the New York Times a lot of people now after went going through these couple of months of lockdown just to see what I mean when I go back to debt normal Yeah, I there’s something there’s a it’s a psychological aspect that’s like going through our mind and which days it’s been studied in bits research I don’t remember exactly name but it’s kind of like a natural thing. They just like you know, get yourself comfortable, the new way of living. So that’s kind of the thing that scares me the most I think we we had an opportunity to fix few things and change the way we live to step two, pause for a minute to look Live and save his own life as before was exactly the way we want to lead to the restaurant life or not. Perhaps a lot of people are answering No, that’s not the way I want to lead my life. Okay, so that’s the thing that’s going to scares me the most to be honest with you.
Mark Abouzeid 21:15
Yeah, I can understand it. And I completely agree I had a moment out in my garden. And my downstairs neighbor is one of these who only talks about chemtrails. Like, every time I walk outside, he’s showing me the plane trails in the sky. And I don’t really care either way, because it’s not something he can do anything about. So I don’t understand the discussion. But I was out there and I was walking during and we have fields by us. So we’ve been quite lucky. I can go walking during the lockdown. And suddenly I had a moment and I looked up at the sky, and it was completely blue. It was completely perfect. There was not a single line in the entire sky, and I had a flashback to my childhood. I realized that I grew up Growing up my whole life with this huge big blue sky over my head that my brain had just forgotten. He just programmed out that this was normal, always having lines in it. And I must admit, if I can keep this sky, I will do anything I can because it makes such a difference. The Lesser noise this morning I was woken up by workman and all these things because they’re back, they’re back, and they’re just going to do things. All right. Let’s talk a little bit. Because we’ve got very little time left. Let’s talk about the future and also the people you’re talking to. And the companies you’re talking to, you know, what is the message that they should be promoting or what is the right message, I guess for brands for corporates moving forward, do you think?
Max Bosio 22:57
Well, I think Companies
Max Bosio 23:03
probably the last thing that they should do is to embracing fear, you know, fear of the future. And companies in general corporations, they tend to, in uncertain times, they tend to close themselves kind of created a rear run themselves and protect himself. And it stopped investing on anything any project they don’t think is relevant, typically are those projects that could affect like their people within the company or you know, developing aspect like so, this is a soft, you know, aspects of intangible assets within a company like their brand, you know, intangible aspects, but when I say tangible I don’t mean necessarily, you know, their branding, even like their people is is tangible, but it’s intangible at the same time. It’s kind of fragile community they they have to protect My suggestion for any company would be, I think this is a time that you have to be courageous. Of course, if you can, if you’ve been hit really badly, because you’re losing, like, you know, 50% of your of your turnover, because of the pandemic, I mean, obviously, you can be so positive, but still, I think the company, they will go through this and they will be even stronger, are those one are actually capable to put in place a very, you know, positive vision and approach, you know, regardless what’s happening, what’s going on and what will happen because I think, from a business point of view, and I would say maybe here, perhaps even the rest of the world, I think, you know, just like it’s not me, it’s not the first wave will make you know, the huge disaster is the second so it could be very off very easily there. We’re going to see the major impact on economic scale of what happened. Not necessarily now, but maybe, you know, few months down the road, maybe like the beginning of fall. And, and and I’m expected that it can be good for us which we were a small business, I’m expecting that we could see, you know, not necessarily positive lookouts, you know, business wise, maybe you know, clients pulling out businesses, cutting budgets and stuff like that. But still, we all have to be positive as an attitude, we all have to look forward and think about that we can totally go over this. And it’s not just this is not just this retiring, I’m like, under debate. It’s not worth one. It’s, it’s more about like, really, you know, believing that this is actually the time to do things just like when you go, you know, when work ends, not going to stay there and crying all the time because you went to a war and you know, you get roll off your sleeves and do things you know, and try to rebuild, you know, whatever. needs to be rebuilt. No. So I think that’s the right time. That’s right. NASA think that eventually, I would I would spread for any businesses, you know, and really trying to don’t stay there and think about what happened, but sort of look forward. What could happen.
Mark Abouzeid 26:20
That’s fantastic. In fact, that’s a perfect way to wrap up our interview. Anything else you’d like to add Max?
Max Bosio 26:29
Well, actually, no, I think it was great to be here. And and thank you for having me and to share my thoughts. I hope somehow this could be helpful for other people as well. And
Max Bosio 26:42
looking forward to talk to you, Mark Anderson.
Mark Abouzeid 26:45
Yeah, well, hopefully, when the borders open up, the idea is to this is the first phase. The idea is the second phase which is literally walking out of lockdown, where my hope is to by foot by public transport, travel through Italy, reconnecting, going through the south of France going through Spain, ending up in Portugal to really see how people on the ground both, you know, tourism sectors, cultural sectors, artisans, sectors, some of the sustainability projects that were going so well or even some of the cultural tourism projects, where they are and how things are for people. I believe we have a situation where we’re going to be we’re going to need this kind of coverage because the major media channels are all going for the global stories, the big stories, the locals are just gonna be doing their own stories kind of I’ve been to Japan in order for the population, but we’re going to be missing a lot of information and that’s why I’m reaching out to as many people as I know, to get a real you know, survey, if you Like starting survey the situation where people feel and then I’m hoping to you know, visit you in Milan and we can on the ground, look at a few things and really talk through some things
Max Bosio 28:11
anytime you want.
Mark Abouzeid 28:12
Okay, I would love it. Thanks a lot for your time. I appreciate it, Max
Max Bosio 28:16
problem. Thank you for reaching out.
Mark Abouzeid 28:20
You stay safe and let’s help the next wave doesn’t come soon. Give me time. Bye.
Max Bosio 28:29
Max Bosio 28:31
Break it up, break it up. I got a bit of a bank to make me a safe house. Shake it up, shake it up. She got her hands on her knees that she bringing a case out. Look it up. I got some get some packs up in the greenhouse. Pull it up. I’m like again, we’ve taken shots off the rebound.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai