How and Why We Connect Designers and Engineers

Technology is becoming a commodity: the new future products will be made of emotions. Nowadays, you don’t buy products by their specs anymore, but because of their beauty and the experience they provide. Our founder Marco Trombetti outlined this scenario to Pi friends, creatives and professors from the top Italian design schools at the Italian Premiere of Design Disruptors, which we hosted at Pi 5 at the end of September.

Europe, and in particular Italy, has a great opportunity in defining how art, design, and lifestyle will power upcoming technologies. That’s why we have been enthusiastic to accept the invitation from the board of the Art Directors Club of Europe (ADCE) to deliver a speech in the closing keynote of the 3rd edition of the ADCE European Creativity Festival, the Champions League of Creativity, that celebrated the 25th year since the ADCE foundation. We even hosted a startup-style hackathon with designers and engineers, that was named Pirates Hackathon after Steve Jobs quote “It’s more fun to be a pirate than to join the Navy.”

ADCE’s Festival, held at Disseny Hub in Barcelona last week, was a unique opportunity to create connections with some of the top European creatives, such as Marc Wirbeleit, Facebook Creative Strategist, Jamshid Alamuti, former Berlin School of Creative Leadership managing director, Ferran Pruneda from Elisava, a Spanish pioneer school in studies of design and engineering, and Aral Balkan, founder of, an initiative that promotes ethical design and technology. Some of them will be visiting Pi Campus HQ in Rome during the upcoming months.

The Pirates Hackathon Startups and the Winner

Commenting on the startup projects pitched after the hackathon, Mercè Segú, Executive Director of ADCE, said: “It has been a fantastic first experience to have the people from Pi Campus organizing the first Pirates Hackathon during the Festival. The teams had a short amount of time to work, but the output has been amazing”.Three startups were born during the Pirates Hackathon:

Three startups were born during the Pirates Hackathon:

  • Lighter, a service to communicate and locate friends via Bluetooth at festivals and conferences when there is no Wi-Fi and phone connection available;
  • Faro, an app that allows users to recognize heart attacks through fitness wristbands and alert the nearest people;
  • Power Box, a monthly subscription plan to receive a custom selection of nutrition bars at home.

Ligther won the competition with a team composed of two creatives and two engineers: Antonio de Dios, art director from Spain, Carlos J Navarro, creative strategist from Spain, Carl Blockås, developer from Sweden, and Cyril Clochard, developer from France. We’ll be hosting them for a week at Pi Campus to develop their minimum viable product and test the market as a reward for winning the hackathon.

We Are Investing in Startups Co-Founded by Designers

Both the ADCE Festival and the Pirates Hackathon confirmed our vision and the connections we established there, together with those we tight during the Italian Premiere of Design Disruptors, will help us enrich our network and involve more and more designers and creatives in the startup ecosystem.

We will even consider investing in the newborn “pirates startups” as part of our plan to invest one million euros in startups co-founded by designers in the next three years. So, if you are a designer or a creative, please come to visit Pi Campus and meet our engineers.

Review the fireside chat with Ariel Poler at the last #pinetworking.

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