Breaking Down Driven by Design with Former Winner Alessandro Melone
Posted on: 18 April, 2019
We recently wrapped up another edition of our popular #DrivenByDesign competitions – where our fans had the chance to design Pascal Wehrlein's race suit for the 2019 Beriln E-Prix. Many congratulations to winner Alex Ware, who will be flown to the race to personally present the race suit he designed to Pascal. This is an experience Alessandro Melone, the #DrivenByDesign 2018 Helmet Edition winner, enjoyed at of the Marrakesh E-Prix earlier this season. He had designed the helmet for Jérôme D’Ambrosio, who donned it during the spectacular race that brought home our first victory of Season 5.
We caught up with Alessandro to get to know the designer-passioneer better and to get an insight into his winning design entry.
DT: Can you tell us about your background in design?
AM: I'm still young, I am 26, and I’ve been drawing since I was a child. I’m a self-taught designer. I loved drawing racing cars, especially Formula 1 cars. Now I study graphic design and it really helps me with my projects for drivers.
DT: Can you break down the process behind designing the helmet for Jérôme and the thought behind the design?
AM: For Jérôme's helmet I used the previously existing design as a base. I wanted to modernise it. What inspired me the most is the technological side of Formula E, which I could take influence from to make the helmet more dynamic-looking. I kept the Belgian colours and I added some little blue stripes to match with the car livery.
As it was for the Marrakesh E-Prix, I added the Moroccan flag on the top and some Moroccan flowers around the helmet. I wanted something beautiful and light.
DT: As a creative, how do you decide when a design is complete?
AM: I am not a someone who likes a lot of effects, as you can see on all my helmet projects. I think, the simpler the design, the more efficient it is, especially now with the halo on the cockpit. Obviously, though, it cannot be too simple. When I make a helmet design, I try to keep a kind of structure that can help a good reading of the design.
DT: What did it mean to see the winning design race to victory?
AM: For me, it means a lot! It was already incredible to be chosen, flown to Marrakesh and meet Jérôme, to see my design on the helmet itself and watch him win donning that very helmet. It was awesome! I cannot express enough how happy it made me, and then, I was also very happy for him – his first victory of the season, and with Mahindra. (shrugs and laughs) It is a lucky design!
You spent some time with Jérôme at the race, what did he say to you about the design and about why he picked it?
AM: "Your helmet!!! It brought me luck!", that is what he said. He was very, very happy! Before that weekend itself, he had told me that he would continue to wear that helmet for the rest of the season, and he remind it after that race.
How does winning something like the Driven by Design competition help you in your career?
AM: The effect immediately showed on social media – a lot of people started to follow me and my work on Instagram. Some drivers asked me to make their helmet design for the season. For now, I’m continuing to design helmets, both professionally, as well as for pleasure. I hope to one day work for a factory like Bell Helmets or Arai, or maybe in a racing team as a designer. Designing is my passion and I will give it my all.
Alessandro Melone, winner of the 2018 Helmet Edition of #DrivenByDesign, is a design student at the Haute École Albert Jacquard in Brussels, Belgium, and owns Alessandro Melone Designs – a helmet and motorsport design startup.
Disclaimer: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author and interviewee, and do not necessarily reflect those of Mahindra Racing.