The name, "Ninu Nina" stems from the alien language spoken by Robin Williams in "Mork & Mindy" ( a popular 1970's comedy show).

Optimalist Gianpaolo Pietri

Born, one of two, in San Juan Puerto Rico in 1978, Gianpaolo Pietri thought for the longest time that he wanted to be a filmmaker, so he attended the New York Film Academy and focused on direction. There he learned that filmmaking was merely another language for communication, for telling stories (much like English or Italian, or as he would discover later, Architecture). As an architect his proudest achievement so far was taking Second Prize in the Lodge at Machu Pichu international competition in 2005.  It had everything to do with efficient simplicity, exalting beauty in nature, and incorporating many sustainability strategies that were emerging then, and have become mainstream now. Just recently another project received an American Architecture Award, ( an art storage facility right off of I95 in Miami, where the facade works like a series of canvases that are to be used as an installation to display public art).  Optimal ... or as he calls it ... | O |, is a new brand he is currently  developing with twin brother Alessandro, which brings together many different creative endeavors they have been working on for many years. Centered around the design studio, | O | is focused on perpetuating an infinite process of discovery. They strive to challenge traditional paradigms of invention in order to start a new dialogue about our future progress.

Tell us more about | O | From the scale of the city, to the scale of the Self, we seek out new ways of thinking about our communities and developing new strategies for how we interact with the environment around us. The brand was born, as is often the case with creativity, out of an obsession ... a need to alter the world around us ... to try to make it better ... more beautiful ... more simple. We began | O | the old fashioned way, by working hard and staying true to the dreams we had had since our youth. We hope the effort will culminate in the formation of the | O | (optimal) foundation, a charity dedicated to providing cultural educational opportunities (focused around the humanities) for underprivileged children in underdeveloped nations. Needless to say, it is a long road yet to travel, and we're looking forward to every minute of it.

Your greatest influences or inspirations? I just wrote a post on theOptimalists titled 'Let Nature Be Your Guide'. And that pretty much sums it up. When I am designing, my inspiration comes primarily from nature. But the truth is inspiration is everywhere ... all around us ... we just have to be willing to break down our prejudices and be open to receive it ... I love this quote by Henry Thoreau. "It is only when we forget all our learning that we begin to know."

Favorite artists?

  • Leonardo DaVinci - master artist -This one may be self-explanatory
  • Andy Goldsworthy - artist and naturalistNature is his canvas, and he forces you to look at it in new ways. this guy will spend hours building a scultpure out of branches, or leaves, only to watch it blow away with a soft breeze. He challenges our perception of time and the ephemeral quality of our existence.
  • Richard Serra - sculptorI like the way he manipulates materials to alter our perceptions of an experience. Glenn Murcutt - architectHe once said about architecture, 'Touch the Earth lightly', and that is exactly what I intend to do.
  • Juhani Pallasmaa - theoristI love the connections he makes between architecture and film. Makes me believe I could still make movies one day.
  • Tokujin Yoshioka - designerHe has impeccable taste and a great attention to detail, and works on an impressive variety of different scales, from the very small to the very large.
  • Alexander McQueen - fashionHe can really put on a show, and his work is about more than the clothes. It's about making dreams come true.

Favorite websites, blogs? I'm very new to the online community. I only just recently became aware of the incredible breadth of material, ideas, content that is readily available on the web, and i am excited about the possibilities. It is truly mesmerizing to the point of being overwhelming. But there are a few sites I am currently subscribed to.

  • | For blogging tips | Howtomakemyblog | Problogger |
  • | For architecture | Archinect | BIG | Dezeen | Yatzer |
  • | For design | Notcot.org | Designscene |
  • | For art/music | Ninunina (of course) |
  • | For lifestyle | ZenHabits | mnmlist | Unclutterer | Exile lifestyle |
  • | For truth | Seth Godin |
  • | For fun | MUST | helloooo | Dooce

Dream project for you? I would love to completely redesign the city of Miami, and a great many other cities for that matter. As part of | O| (optimal), I am developing a website/blog titled Optimal Cities in which I will do just that, and publish the results. The idea of redefining urban constructs based on changing parameters is something I find extremely compelling. Much in the same spirit as LeCorbusier's Plan Voisin for Paris. Let's be honest, many cities today are just not working properly.

Favorite cultural city? I have been to a great number of cities in every continent except Africa, but there is an even greater number of cities I have not yet visited, so perhaps it wouldn't be fair to pass judgement just yet. That being said, I love Stockholm. Really it's more like a series of islands, and neighborhoods, but it still reads as one entity. During my stay there I had lunch in a restaurant that was covered head to toe with original Basquiat paintings. You gotta love that. But more importantly, the Swedes and I have nothing in common on paper (I'm from the Caribbean), but while I was there, I felt utterly at home ... and at peace, and that is how it should be.

Anything else youd like to share with our audience?Yes ... There is loads I want to share subscribe to theOptimalists.com to find out what it is.  coming soon:http://optimalcities.comhttp://optimalfoundation.com

courtesy of Oppenheim Architecture+Design


The XX at Bowery Ballroom