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Designer Nicola Crea Brings International Industry Experience to the UC Classroom

Having worked in design leadership positions for global car brands like Fiat, Mercedes-Benz, product designer Nicola Crea is now teaching for at least two semesters in the UC design studios.

Date: 3/31/2014
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Provided
Considering the early start he got on a design career, specifically an auto design career, it’s not surprising that Italian product designer Nicola Crea has decades of industry and teaching experience to his credit.

Crea, on the design faculty of the Politecnico di Milano University in Italy but currently teaching as visiting professor at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP), actually began his design career as a schoolboy.
Nicola Crea at right
Nicola Crea, at right, teaching in a UC studio.

He recalls, “It started by my reading numbers on car plates. I got so that I could tell the date of first registration by the plate numbers, and it went from there. I learned to recognize the noise of different cars. At school, my notebooks were full of car sketches. At 18, I started to race cars, and I had car parts everywhere in my bedroom. I started buying, selling, exchanging and collecting cars. I’ve owned as many as 15 cars at any one time.”

And throughout his long career, the designer has held leading design and strategy positions in Europe, the United States and Asia with companies like Fiat and Mercedes-Benz and with many other automobile, motorcycle, boat, furniture and product innovation firms and consultancies. Crea has also taught at universities in Italy, and now, he is leading a transportation design studio in UC’s number-one ranked industrial design program.

That studio course of 14 students is focusing on concept and forms research for future Porsches. The students in the course will exhibit their work including painted clay models within DAAP on next April 15.

And while the students are gaining from Crea’s considerable industry and teaching experience, he is gaining a great deal from his time in such a prestigious program. For one, he is writing a book on design thinking, and his time at UC is contributing to that endeavor.

Crea explains, “The book is the better for this time I am spending in the United States and teaching here. The stimulation and intensity in this high-quality program is only adding to my other work.”

He adds, “These kinds of experiences and challenges keep me young and alert. I like to challenge myself all the time. That’s the way to achieve results.”
Nicola Crea at left

Crea is also visiting the studio courses of other faculty within DAAP, and the UC faculty are also visiting his studio. This allows him to add to his understanding of teaching methods within different cultures and countries, while also allowing others to learn more about methods in Europe.
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