[For Scarpa:] Being a really good climber doesn't necessarily make someone a great product designer. What makes Ueli stand out as a contributor to Scarpa product design?
It is essentially a matter of feeling, and then a lot of experience in mountaineering and climbing. When you feel and use the product as Ueli does, you can also easily imagine it. And what our R&D needs is to make feelings and ideas concrete, and create a product that can be part of the action itself. Ueli has this kind of sensitivity and we firmly wanted him to share it with Scarpa.
[For Ueli:] You've actually been working with Scarpa for a while. How long? How did that relationship come about?
It started in about 2001. It was actually Romolo Nottaris who supported me first. It was not just a business decision; it was also a personal feeling, which was always very important from the beginning.
[For Scarpa:] What does Scarpa expect from Ueli as a design consultant? How do you use his feedback?
His feedback is now extremely precious for us. First, from a strictly technical point of view, we try to create a product which can satisfy the needs of one of the greatest mountaineers ever, and, we also try to understand deeply its sense of speed and lightness. This last point is one of our main goals: if Ueli and his ideas become a sort of icon in the mountaineering world, this is what we would like to have happen to our products as well. Quality and performance of our products and style are great strengths of our brand, and every day we aim to reach the highest levels.
The first prototypes I got were the Phantom Light and the Phantom 8000. Erhard Lorethan and I got the shoes just when we went to the north face of Jannu for the first time in 2002. Scarpa managed to build them after the first Phantom Light and Phantom 8000 for the market, which was based on these prototypes. It is pretty nice to see that many other brands are making these types of shoes now. The first season Scarpa came out with them, everybody told us they're never going to sell, that it's just something for a very special interest. And now lots of people sell them. It is always hard to bring changes into the market.
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