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NXTLVL Experience Design

Episode 44: Gabriele Chiave

Design, Discovery and Dichotomies with Gabriele Chiave – VP GLOBAL, DESIGN CREATIVE DIRECTION & INNOVATION The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.




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Gabriele Chaive spent more than fifteen years at Marcel Wanders Studio becoming the Creative Director in Amsterdam. Together with Wanders, the duo created products and places for some of the most recognized brands in the world. He has created everything from silverware to hotels, crystal chandeliers and furniture to tea services. The work was eclectic, beautiful and ties tradition to contemporary life.

Gabriele struck out on a new path of discovery in September of 2022 to become the VP GLOBAL, DESIGN CREATIVE DIRECTION & INNOVATION at Estée Lauder. Host David Kepron and Chiave talk about his collaboration with Marcel Wanders, the power of design to make beautiful and meaningful objects and experiences and the energy of dichotomies that can make magic happen.

Gabriele’s LinkedIN Profile:

About Gabriele Chiave

Gabriele Chiave knows no boundaries.


As a lifelong observer of the world around him, Gabriele is driven by the comprehensive nature of design and a desire to ignite meaningful interaction between product and consumer. Born to diplomat parents in Metz in 1978, he has lived in France, Dakar, Caracas, Buenos Aires, Rome, Milano and now makes his home in Amsterdam. These diverse resident experiences enable him to bring a global perspective to design like no other.

Gabriele studied at the European Institute of Design in Milan, Industrial Design Academy, French Lycée Chateaubriand in Rome, French Lycée Emile Zola in Buenos Aires, Argentina and French Lycée Collegio Francia in Caracas, Venezuela. He holds a Baccalaureat in Economics and Society.

In addition to spending five years at Marc Sadler Studio / IS European Design Center, he won competitions for Emergency, Rotari, Epson, Toshiba and Pirelli, and worked with prestigious Italian brands such as Alessi (organization of 7 Workshops held by LPWK/Alessi), Dainese, Foscarini and Serralunga. These experiences helped Gabriele master the subtle nuances and delightful balance between form and function, industry and art, structure and experimentation.

Gabriele’s ‘design upbringing’ was inspired by design masters Magistretti, Castiglioni, Branzi, Delucchi, Sotsass and Mari who made Italy the worldwide leader in industrial design. Gabriele exudes this foundation at Marcel Wanders, where he has worked since 2007.

Evolving to become Creative Director, he now oversees all projects in product and interior design, and art direction for some of the most renowned international design brands such as Kartell, Poliform, Flos, Cappellini, B&B, Baccarat, KLM, Magis, MAC, Target, L&V, Alessi, Christofle, Marks&Spencer and many other international companies and hotels.

Gabriele whole heartedly embraces the challenge of combining industry and the arts, blending Marcel’s emotion with Italian industrial tradition.


His vision for the eclectic team at this ever-expanding creative hub is to freely make beauty and technical simplicity accessible to all in order to expand the human experience.


The next level experience design podcast is presented by VMSD magazine and Smartwork Media. It is hosted and executive produced by David Kepron. Our original music and audio production by Kano Sound.

Make sure to tune in for more NXTLVL “dialogues on DATA: design architecture technology and the arts” wherever you find your favorite podcasts and make sure to visit and look for the tab for the NXTLVL Experience Design podcast there too.

And remember you’ll always find more information with links to content that we’ve discussed, contact information to our guests and more in the show notes for each episode.

About David Kepron


David Kepron is a multifaceted creative professional with a deep curiosity to understand ‘why’, ‘what’s now’ and ‘what’s next’. He brings together his background as an architect, artist, educator, author, podcast host and builder to the making of meaningful and empathically-focused, community-centric customer connections at brand experience places around the globe.

David is a former VP – Global Design Strategies at Marriott International. While at Marriott, his focus was on the creation of compelling customer experiences within Marriott’s “Premium Distinctive” segment which included: Westin, Renaissance, Le Meridien, Autograph Collection, Tribute Portfolio, Design Hotels and Gaylord hotels.

In 2020 Kepron founded NXTLVL Experience Design, a strategy and design consultancy, where he combines his multidisciplinary approach to the creation of relevant brand engagements with his passion for social and cultural anthropology, neuroscience and emerging digital technologies.

As a frequently requested international speaker at corporate events and international conferences focusing on CX, digital transformation, retail, hospitality, emerging technology, David shares his expertise on subjects ranging from consumer behaviors and trends, brain science and buying behavior, store design and visual merchandising, hotel design and strategy as well as creativity and innovation. In his talks, David shares visionary ideas on how brand strategy, brain science and emerging technologies are changing guest expectations about relationships they want to have with brands and how companies can remain relevant in a digitally enabled marketplace.

David currently brings his creativity and insight on brand experiences to an international audience as a member of VMSD magazine’s Editorial Advisory Board, as a Board Member of the Interactive Customer Experience Association (ICXA) and Sign Research Foundation’s (SRF) Program Committee.

He has held teaching positions at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.), the Department of Architecture & Interior Design of Drexel University in Philadelphia, the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising (L.I.M.) in New York, the International Academy of Merchandising and Design in Montreal and he served as the Director of the Visual Merchandising Department at LaSalle International Fashion School (L.I.F.S.) in Singapore.

In 2014 Kepron published his first book titled: “Retail (r)Evolution: Why Creating Right-Brain Stores Will Shape the Future of Shopping in a Digitally Driven World” and he is currently working on his second book to be published soon. David also writes a popular blog called “Brain Food” which is published monthly on

In September of 2020, he launched the “NXTLVL Experience Design” podcast which brings listeners dialogues about “DATA: Design, Architecture, Technology and the Arts.” His guests include thought leaders who are driven by a passion to create the ‘New Possible’ and promote new paradigms of experiences into the mainstream.



MasterClass: ‘Re-Sparkling’ Retail: Using Store Design to Build Trust, Faith and Brand Loyalty

HOW CAN WE EMPOWER and inspire senior leaders to see design as an investment for future retail growth? This session, led by retail design expert Ian Johnston from Quinine Design, explores how physical stores remain unmatched in the ability to build trust, faith, and loyalty with your customers, ultimately driving shareholder value.

Presented by:
Ian Johnston
Founder and Creative Director, Quinine Design

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