…the important moments always coincide with the important meetings
When projects are offspring of custom, we should take a step back
What we still call “Italian design” is nothing more than a system of businesses linked to small numbers but to great quality
Character outside the box and with a strong charisma, Fabio Novembre mixes architecture, design, fittings and interiors in his journey, thanks to the use of a language that is never taken for granted and always looking for novelty. The love for the female body, the vortices transformed into flows of energy, but also a reinterpretation of the architecture of her homeland (Puglia), make each of her projects a “firstborn”, never a child of custom and reproposal.
What are the most important moments of your training course?
In my case the important moments always coincide with the important meetings. Since before the discovery of mirror neurons I have always been a staunch supporter of growth through relationships between human beings. From the parents who built my foundation, to the friends who provided me with confrontation, to the teachers who opened up possibilities to me, to the women who taught me love, to the daughters who gave me wings.
How do you move when you receive a new assignment, or do you approach a new project?
I feel like I’m a snake shedding skin. I always wear a different hat to live the new experience as if it were the first, as if it had no precedents, without any reference cases. Every project, like every love, has the right of the firstborn. When projects are offspring of custom, we should take a step back and let the generational change become the carrier of new instances, with renewed energy.
Is there a mental difference between design and architecture?
“From the spoon to the city” is a slogan coined by Ernesto Nathan Rogers in 1952. It can be said that this definition has characterised the Italian culture of the project from the post-war period to the present day. Italian designers up to my generation were trained in architectural universities, and they faced design with the same critical and technical tools. I’ve always used a film metaphor to compare design and architecture: objects are short films and buildings are feature-length films. The difference is essentially in the budget, because the same level of skill is required. But the whole process is focused on telling stories through space, with a three-dimensional plus that no other discipline allows.
Contemporary Italian design and the relationship with foreign design: what do you think we should focus on and what should we remodel instead?
What we still call “Italian design” is nothing more than a system of businesses linked to small numbers but to great quality, which has innovated the language of domesticity from the post-war period to the present day. But thinking of holding a monopoly on taste is very presumptuous as well as impossible. Italian identity is a concept that we should all ask ourselves to try to redefine it in terms of contemporaneity, without resting on our laurels and becoming complacent. See, when we say French fries it is not obvious to think of France. Potatoes are native to South America and only became popular in Europe in the sixteenth century. What was probably invented in France in the eighteenth century then spread around the world under the name of French fries. Talking about Italian design is the same sort of thing. It is a phenomenon born in Italy after the Second World War in a condition of necessity stimulated by the needs of reconstruction. The famous “art of getting by” led that generation to reinvent itself a world starting from objects for the home, starting again from the spoon to get to the city. That design sensitivity, long believed to be an Italian monopoly, is today expressed by excellence of any origin. Fruits of generations nourished with the same cultural food that produced massive effects, but also stimulated individual inspiration by transforming personal visions into universal icons. The current protagonists of Italian design are French, Dutch, American, Japanese, Australian, Spanish, German and even Italian, but without forms of creative competition. The sense of competition has emptied itself in favour of participation. Even Italian companies cannot think of maintaining this supremacy by natural law, contemporary Darwinism rides the tiger of globalisation and in no sector do position earnings exist. Italian design can no longer belong to a single country: it is a totem, a human right, like a portion of French fries.
Many of your objects have shapes that replicate those of the human body; some traits are captured and reinterpreted. What led you to this choice?
My personal story is marked by boundless love for the female form, a continuous source of inspiration. I recognise perfection in the design of its forms. The body and falling in love inspire whatever reasoning I have to do with the project simply because they are the basis of that unique experience that we call life. Immersed in the constant flow of evolution, we often forget the carnality linked to our feeling. Today the evolution of all my work is being played out between the contemporaneity of the input and the primordiality of the output.