I am Walter de Silva

From car design to the world’s lightest shoe: the designer of complexity recounts a life’s work driven by the wild urge to create and design.

Walter de Silva, sketch

You can read the complete article in Domus July/August 2018 issue.

Walter de Silva Between the wars, my grandfather founded a shoe factory called Calzaturificio Scola, on what was then the outskirts of Milan. The company was close to Parco Ravizza, on the other side of what is now Bocconi University.

Paola Nicolin But you dreamed about cars...

WdS I was born with a passion for automobiles. And I was born with a talent for drawing. At home all the talk was about shoes, but I was always designing cars. Always.

PN What plans did your family have for you?

WdS My father was an architect, my brother was an architect – what was I supposed to do? Architecture! But at the age of 21, I plucked up the courage and told my father I didn’t want to do architecture. My father was a bit upset but he understood. Until the ’80s, car design was always seen as marginal. It was sheer hypocrisy. Whether it moves or not, it’s still industrial design.

PN How did you start designing shoes?

WdS By drawing them. I study the heel. This one is 10.5 cm and there’s a reason. At this height the ankle reaches its extreme tension. The instep is inspired by the tendons. It has a formal look. I’m dreaming of the world’s lightest shoes, the lightest materials possible. I work by reduction. “Less is more.”

Latest on Design

Latest on Domus

Read more
China Germany India Mexico, Central America and Caribbean Sri Lanka Korea icon-camera close icon-comments icon-down-sm icon-download icon-facebook icon-heart icon-heart icon-next-sm icon-next icon-pinterest icon-play icon-plus icon-prev-sm icon-prev Search icon-twitter icon-views icon-instagram