We had the good fortune of connecting with Gilberto Baroni Junior and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gilberto, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I can proudly say I was born in Ponta Grossa, Brazil, a small town, surrounded by a beautiful nature, many waterfalls and the unique Vila Velha State Park, where you can hike among naturally sculped rock formations! To be who I am today, it took a great deal with curiosity, a passion to find the answers I was looking for and understand its processes.
But to begin with, professionally I am an architect, and that curiosity has played a huge role on deciding my career. Since I was child I was attracted to buildings, machines and vehicles, at the time my process to learn about them (besides reading) was drawing them and these ranged from floorplans, sections and perspectives and without proper training, just an intuition.
Also, there were a lot of sightseeing and outdoor activities that I’d enjoyed and still enjoy so much, mostly museums, galleries, houses, parks, hikes and trails. My childhood is full of memories of me either drawing or exploring the outdoors!
After growing a little, I learnt that there were certain professions that would take those challenges forward and make it happen. From all those, my passion for the built and natural environment spoke louder and I decided to study Architecture.
Those same feelings are still present today in my design process, creating the best outcomes, something that each client truly understand that it was tailor-made for him/her. And together, for who I am today, I carry this recollection of my own experiences, which I’ve been drawing and visiting from a young age, like that State Park in my hometown.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
What would set me apart from others is also the thing I am most proud, the collection of experiences I’ve been acquiring until today! Usually, like many things in life, timing (and a little bit of luck) is essential and knowing when to see, create or make a right move is crucial to keep evolving is these careers.
For instance, in 2012 while graduating in Brazil, there were many world events going on in the country, such as the FIFA World Cup and the Summer Olympics and they all needed architects to design every facility that would host and welcome fans. It’s was a rare moment in history in which a 23 years old architect was able to join teams building world class stadiums and international airports and fortunately, these experiences were happening to me!
However, after completion, I felt a disconnection between the things I was doing in Brazil and buildings I was seeing and visiting around the world (specifically in Asia, Europe and North America). I was lacking some mature design experience, and that is why I decided to apply for a Masters abroad, and for me I found an exciting opportunity in LA at SCI-Arc. I got to interact with people from all over the world, learn things that I had hoped and being thought by renowned architects like Thom Mayne and Eric Owen Moss.
And one more thing that might set me apart, is where I’ve been working lately and specifically what we do. Pininfarina is a 360º design house which started more than 90 years ago in Italy designing cars. Even though I am a true architect (and I value my profession too much) it’s exciting being part of multi-disciplinary teams and see a wide array of design process, in different countries for diverse clients.
It is tricky to say if it was easy or not, but every step I was taking felt natural and right one to do it and the happiness I feel when I look back is probably a good sign. However, I believe the best is yet to come and I have to be prepared for it!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Luckily Miami is a city that is always changing, growing and hosting new people and events. Definitely we could create a fun and diverse itinerary, which includes nature, culture, great food and dancing!
Naturally, I would start by the beach, not only Miami Beach, but there are other cool areas worth visiting like Key Biscayne, Matheson Hammock Park, Oleta River State Park and if you want make a day trip, why not West Palm Beach? All these locations we would be surrounded by beautiful landscapes, good amenities and nice restaurants too, especially in West Palm!
In the past years, Miami also has grown its cultural scene, museums like PAMM, ICA, Norton Museum of Art are getting more attention and that is well deserved! Besides them, seasonal events and exhibitions are happening throughout the year, for sure we’ll find something to entertain us all!
As an architect, I’d like to take my friends to visit some historical houses in South Florida like Villa Vizcaya, close to Coconut Grove, where after we would go for brunch at Mr. C and enjoy some Bellinis. And again, suggesting architectural day trips, we would need to visit Hemingway’s House and Flagler House, in Key West and West Palm Beach respectively. Each of these three properties have different styles, have had different owners and have unique characteristics that make the visit totally worth it!
And a visit to Miami is never complete if you don’t experience the night life, which honestly we could find a different style to enjoy on each night… Personally, I’d like dancing and live music and a place that I love to go is Ball & Chain in Little Havana. And from Downtown, to Brickell, Wynwood and South Beach, we’ll find many places that will please everyone! Come visit me and I’ll be a great host, just ask my friends!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Honestly, there are many, family, friends, teachers and professors always come to mind but there are a few moments and books from my childhood that I can pinpoint an architectural connection. Being specific, when I was 7, my parents gave me a book about buildings’ history and there were two that I felt in love with: the Fallingwater House and the Villa Savoye. The first by Frank Lloyd Wright and the second by Le Corbusier, easily two of the most influential architects in the last century. From that age, until I graduated from Architecture School, there are countless little moments like this which deserve a shoutout!
And of course, in the recent years a big player deserving recognition is Pininfarina, where I have been working since 2015 after receiving my masters in LA and I was recently appointed as a Senior Architect. From our US office we work in projects across North and South America, ranging from architecture to interior, industrial and transportation design. In 2018, I took part on our first branded residential building, Cyrela by Pininfarina in São Paulo, Brazil. Our team has given me a great platform to improve my design, management skills and I enjoy the dynamic work we do. I also feel very connected to my home country, Brazil, where we have amazing clients, which I often visit and we continue growing our presence.
At last, a fictional architect from a book which I’ve just finished: Howard Roark, from The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. Despite some very immoral/illegal things he has done (not related to Architecture), his respect for his profession, empathy for his colleagues and intellectual integrity are things that should be encouraged among us.
For image 20479-cy-herit-DJI_0355 – Ana Mello Fotografia