LdM Interior Design Department Professor Interview: Giovanni De Stefano

Professors are often difficult for any student to picture outside of the classroom setting, with usually a career and life outside of school. Every once in a while it is good to be reminded that Professors have succeeded in the fields their students are pursuing, and are therefore a huge resource and help to shaping and guiding our own careers.

Giovanni De Stefano is a Professor at Istituto Lorenzo de’ Medici in the Interior Design Department who teaches computer graphics courses such as AutoCad I and II as well as Computer Rendering and Animation classes.

Born in Sardinia, he traveled a lot growing up with a father who was in banking, moving every four years to a new town. This created an adaptable traveler that can be flexible in any environment and have a good attitude working with all sorts of people (which is why he can teach our class). He received his education in architecture at the University of Florence. In 1988 he got his first computer and it was all up hill from there. He said it changed his life, and he started to fall in love with computer graphics. He became a pioneer of a technology called VRLM (Virtual Reality Modeling Language), which was at one point the most popular browser before Firefox, Chrome, or Safari. This technique makes 3D objects interactive on the Internet, which was very innovative for the time. Giovanni was even interviewed and quoted as an expert in the Official HTML publishing for Netscape by Gayle Kidder. Today the book wouldn’t make any sense, but it testifies to Giovanni’s skill in computer graphics. At such a young age, it is an amazing accomplishment that shows how his career began.


Professor De Stefano working on his latest 3D renderings

Though he studied architecture, his passion for computer graphics grew stronger and stronger, and today his company utilises many different fields to do all different forms of projects from 3D rendering and animation to videos, pictures, and communication.

He began his company, 3Dsign, officially in 1994, and now he employees four or five people at once. Giovanni does it all and is usually working on three to four projects at one time ranging anywhere from Florence to France, Monte Carlo, or Switzerland. Since they do so many different things it is difficult at times because there is no set routine, there will always be a new problem or challenge. However, the work is never boring, and he said he wouldn’t change what he does for a second.

Among his cultural heritage projects in Florence and around Italy, one of his earlier, but most notable works is the animation “Through the Eyes’ of Masaccio”. It was made for a 10 year installation at the Cappella Brancacci in Florence and it took one year to be completed. Using 2d and 3d computer graphics, with innovative methodologies, the viewer is able to see through the “eyes” of Masaccio, one of the most important painters of the Renaissance. Check out the video they created for the exhibit: https://youtu.be/9iHUkbKxrQw.

Another of his passions is the sea. He worked doing animation and renderings for a number of yachts and even traditional sailboats for Museo della Marineria in Cesenatico. He has worked on what was the largest yacht in the world, and now, again, on what will become the next largest one. He works with the important yacht designer Espen Oeino, who specializes in the exterior design of super yachts.

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VSY 72 Yacht 3D Interactive Application

Professor De Stefano was able to show me a real-time rendering of a yacht he had built from the ground up, using numerous different softwares. In the computer rendering class I take with him, we render one photo at a time and it usually, for a good render, takes about 30 minutes. In his studio he is surrounded by seven monitors, and what he calls the “washing machine” which is a large hard-drive that powers and connects all the computers, to render his creations in “real” real-time. His full-sized yacht rendered so much faster than anything I had ever seen, I wanted a “washing-machine” for myself.

Never before did I realise how much Giovanni has accomplished and not just in one field, but over many different areas of design. Often, he shows us in class the different projects he is working on to give an idea of the potential work and skill we could each have in the future. He inspired me to start thinking more in depth with what I want to do with my degree of Interior Design and Art history. Professors like Giovanni, teach so their students can become a part of what they know and become impassioned by what they are learning. His success and passion gives hope and guidance to us as his students.

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From of the video for Museo della Marineria “Come nasce un Trabaccolo” (“How a Trabaccolo is made”). This video won the price “Marenostrum” at the X edition of the Festival of Video of Archeology held in Venice at the Fondazione Querini Stampalia in 2009

More works can be found on Giovanni’s company website: http://www.3dsign.it/en/.

julianaJuliana Inglese is a full time student at Marist-LDM in Florence working towards her bachelor’s degree in Interior Design and Art history. Writing for the Interior Design Department blog allows her to not only utilize her passion for design and travel, but also encourages in-depth research and discovery about her fields of study. After graduation, her goal is to work for an established sustainable design firm on projects around the world.