The Nine Passions of 3m's Mauro Porcini

In: Business and Management

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The United States of Design
Photo by David Bowman

Since arriving in Minnesota from Milan last year, Mauro and his wife, Elisa, can't help but stand out. | Photo by David Bowman
The Nine Passions Of 3M's Mauro Porcini

By Chuck Salter

Mauro loves his pink lion. One Saturday afternoon last spring, he and his wife, Elisa, front-runners for the title of Minnesota's most glamorous Italian transplants, stumbled onto an eclectic sale in a parking lot on the outskirts of St. Paul. As soon as he saw the white stone statue of a regal lion, Mauro didn't hesitate forking over a few hundred bucks. He knew exactly what he wanted to do with it. "I painted it fluo [as in fluorescent] pink myself," he says. And he put it in his front yard for all to see.

Mauro Porcini is the resident design guru at 3M, the materials-science conglomerate based in St. Paul. Throughout the company, he's simply known as Mauro--a renaissance man who's transcended his last name. Although most of his Midwestern colleagues pronounce it MORE-oh, it actually rhymes with WOW-whoa, which is also the typical reaction to the flamingo-colored sculpture that now resides across the street from the Oak Ridge Country Club. The club had been lion-free for 90 years until Mauro moved from Milan in 2010 to Hopkins, a Minneapolis suburb dotted with low-pitch ranch homes like his. "The neighbors stop and take pictures," he says, smiling as he gazes at his yard one night in June. In his mind, Mauro says, the beast roars, "This house is owned by a designer, someone who likes to think in a different way!"

"Everything around you, every product, tells a story about you to the world." Mauro Porcini


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