Meet the Industrial Designer: Ruben Perfetti

cabin, design
Written By Lesley Conn

As an industrial designer, Ruben Perfetti has helped design vehicles for Volvo and the cockpit for the ICON A5 light sport aircraft. As a Gulfstream senior designer, he focuses much of his efforts on G650 cabin interiors.

What sparked your initial interest in design?

When I was a kid my dad had a variety of cars. I was the one who would wash them. I was always looking at their shape, their form and observing every detail.

What is the essence of good industrial design?

When you’re a designer, if you’re designing a button that has a function, you think, “Is it intuitive to the user?” As we grab our phones or drive our automobiles, we don’t want to have to put in a lot of effort to think about how that works. A user wants to look at the button and go, “To turn this up I rotate it to the right.”

What is your design role at Gulfstream?

Part of what I do is provide sketches and work with vendors on parts they manufacture to make sure every interior component meets the design intent of what a Gulfstream represents.

How do you determine design needs?

We have to be the visionary user of the cabin in the aircraft or the visionary pilot in the cockpit. We have to ask, “How is the pilot going to use it? How is he going to interact with the technology that is coming?” We also have to be aware of market trends and industry trends and interpret that correctly for Gulfstream.

How does a design evolve from two-dimensional drawing to three-dimensional reality?

At Volvo, we used full-scale clay modeling. Two or three inches of clay covered foam over a steel frame. A five-axis milling machine cut the clay from surfaces we created in the computer. To really experience a design, you have to see it full size. Are the proportions correct? Are the details right? At Gulfstream, we use full-size mock-ups so that you can walk through the cabin, sit inside, see how the table operates, determine if the iPod plug is located conveniently. As real as a two-dimensional image is, you still can’t get your hands on it or interact with it in any meaningful way.

At Volvo, you led design efforts for a new tractor that’s now in use as a support vehicle for Gulfstream’s Field and Airborne Support Teams (FAST). How satisfying is it to see the finished product?

I know the work we did as a group at Volvo to make the truck look as beautiful as it does. The Gulfstream FAST truck just looks fantastic. That is very gratifying for a designer.

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