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Creating Connections-Costantino Papadimitriou
Costantino Papadimitriou is a traveller. He is an ex ad man who turned to jewellery and left no stone unturned to create an exciting chapter in De Beers history. He is a words smith and a jazz lover. Priyanka Desai meets with this treasure of ‘ideas’ and unearths what makes him tick.
By: Diamond World News Service
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Aug 3 2013 5:23PM
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Reference: 8058  

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Costantino Papadimitriou is the Head of Design and Innovation for Forevermark. Costantino is responsible for the product design and development of the ‘Big Idea’programme created to drive demand for Forevermark diamonds around the world. He is also accountable for setting the portfolio and product assortment strategy. So many responsibilities and an unimaginable busy schedule, Constantino is always on a run. We managed to catch up for a coffee with this trailblazer after incessant coaxing and following up and are we glad or what!!! Contrary to our expectation, Constantino is one of most affable industry leaders we have met with. He is friendly, warm and most importantly loves India and Indians, which is evident through his talks. And, his love for our country and many other countries as well, is the skeleton of his design process. He loves languages and yearns to learn more of them. “My inspiration stems from different cultures, observations, social changes and most importantly languages. Learning a new language is the key. Though as a designer it is expected of me to draw or sketch a design but I write my brief and give it to my team who read and understand my brief to come up with newdesigns. I call this as a ‘visual metaphor’ or ‘retro engineering’,” he designer shares.

Costantino joined the De Beers group of companies in 2003 when he was appointed Head of Italian Consumer Marketing and Manufacturing programs for the DTC (Diamond Trading Company), in 2010 he was appointed Head of Design and Innovation for Forevermark Italy.Prior to joining Forevermark, Costantino had a career spanning 25 years within the advertising and communication industry. Starting at JWT Italy he managed multiple clients across industries such as food, alcoholic beverages and photography. For over ten years he managed the JWT- Unilever Innovation Centre for Oral Care and Household Cleaners. Following on from this role he was appointed as General Manager for RMG Connect, a company specialized in B2B and CRM, managing the merger and integration with JWT Italy. From advertising of FMCG products to heading a design team of one of world’s largest jewellery brand, is quite a shift, we inquire. He lets out a laugh at our amazement and goes onto explain, “Oh, I love diamonds. They are magical, aren’t they? I worked with De Beers in 1994 and 1995 for an advertising campaign and in 2003 I joined them. It has been a decade since I have been in this dazzling industry and it still feels as new and fresh as ever. I was lucky to have a surgeon grandfather but jewellerywas his most loved hobby. He had varied machineries and materials and I would spend hours observing him while he madejewellery. I started making jewellery along with him at the age of 12. So you see, jewellery has been a part of my upbringing process.”

Ask any woman of any class or any age and she has heard of Forevermark jewellery. We quizzed him about this huge phenomenon and how he manages to win hearts all over the world, year after year. “When I am designing a collection, my aim is to connect with people. People all across the globe. Not just Hollywood, Bollywood or glamorous divas but women we see around us, everyday. I am a firm believer of thought that every woman deserves the same affection and I believe that is the secret behind the popularity of our collections.”

Apart from a being a complete people’s person and a culture junkie, Costantino, through his experience in advertising and innovation leadership, has mastered the skill of intercepting both consumer needs and global trends. Working with design teams he is able to successfully transform these insights into product and communications concepts.

We tried to probe into the exact design process at the Forevermark design department’s HQ. “I travel around the world and meet a lot of manufacturers and retailers and understand the needs and the trends in those specific areas. This really helps in brainstorming new ideas. Once you see a god idea, it is very easy to understand it quickly. But, tapping onto that good idea needs immense observation and conversation. The design process actually starts from a round diamond and the story is weaved around it.It takes about one and half years for the completion of a design process,” he articulates.

He takes some time and thinks deeper when he was asked about the most difficult aspect of the design process. He then shares, “Starting a new design process with a round diamond all over gain and telling a sensible story around it is indeed an difficult aspect. In addition to this, creating something that the entire world likes and not just a nice clientele is also a challenge. In the end, it is all about the refining process.”

We steer him away from the talks of diamonds and jewellery and try to find out more about his personal life. He is guarded at first but gradually opens up and tell us about his love for jazz and yoga when we asked him about his hobbies. “Yoga has made a huge difference in my life. It gave me clarity, energy and diffusion of anger. But, I had injured my shoulder a while back and cannot practice it anymore. I miss it very much. I feel the static in my life due to the lack of yoga. While listening to Jazz refreshes me. I used to play it when I was young but now I just listen. Jazz is a complicated music genre. It is classical and it is soothing.”

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