Showing posts with label fabio novembre. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fabio novembre. Show all posts

Jesus? Che Guevara? Nope, It's Designer Fabio Novembre

Above: The artist seated in his 's.o.s. sofa of solitude'

Below is A Chat with Fabio Novembre, Italian Architect, from Icon Magazine, peppered with images I found. “Ever since i was a kid I hated the fact that someone kicked us out of paradise, you know? I wanted to go and squat in the forbidden tree. I wanted to live with the serpent and eat apples every day. Nobody can kick me out of paradise.” Fabio Novembre is sitting cross-legged on a low chair in his almost-complete new studio-cum-house, which is plain and empty and damp from the incessant rain outside. 

It has the air of a chapel and the meeting feels like a private tutorial with some kind of paramilitary love priest. Novembre is wearing a guerrilla-chic jumper that resembles a bullet-proof vest, and an army cap with a red star. His discourse, which invokes Che Guevara, Jesus Christ, sex and transvestitism, is delivered with the fervent sensuality you’d expect of an Italian: “I really live through love,” he exclaims. ”It’s the only fuel in my engine.”


His rhetoric is intoxicating – it’s only weeks later, when transcribing the tape, that the monologue comes to seem faintly ridiculous. But such is the power of charisma. Novembre, 37, is a Milan-based architect whose work – mostly interiors for hotels, bars and nightclubs – features rich materials, such as gold and faux crocodile skin, and highly sensual forms. His style has been described as “narcissistic neo-baroque”.

He has designed some singular pieces of furniture including the spectacular, coil-shaped “And” sofa for Cappellini and until recently he was creative director for mosaic company Bisazza; Novembre uses mosaics with a three-dimensional exuberance not seen since Gaudí.

above: His interior for Bisazza

 He was brought up in Lecce in southern Italy and although, like any good nihilist, he despises labels, he admits that memories of his home town have pervaded his work. “Lecce is the capital of the baroque in Italy,” he says. “I don’t believe in architectonic DNA, but for sure I breathed that atmosphere for 17 years.”

 The studio-house, his latest project, is comparatively restrained, except for the first-floor living quarters, which are supported by a broad tree trunk. At the top of this column, a vivid green mosaic dotted with apples flows out across the soffit and up the walls. A huge serpent snakes amid the foliage, its mouth poised to snap shut on a fat red apple: Novembre’s new house is the forbidden tree of his childhood fantasies.

above: The studio house interior

 The tranquility of the space will be shattered in a few weeks when Fabio and his retinue move in. “The place where I am now, there’s no walls. My bed is on wheels. Everybody has the keys so people can arrive any time of the day, so it’s more like a squat than a studio or a house. This is going to be the same, but even bigger. I really believe in space to be used as the factory of the world, to cross, to intersect, to put things together. That’s really the way I live. There’s no difference for me between life and work. I don’t make any division; it’s impossible.”

A visit to his website ( confirms this: photographs of Novembre in a variety of guises – and states of undress – enjoy equal billing with the images of his work. One photo has him made up like Jesus, complete with fibre-optic crown of thorns, and is accompanied by the slogan “Be your own messiah”. 
What’s that all about?

  “I wrote a little pamphlet called ‘Be your own messiah’,” he says, explaining that the project is a reaction against his staunchly Catholic upbringing. “The provocation was to pitch myself as Jesus Christ. I really like Jesus – I think he’s a good guy – but I hate all the bullshit around him. This is the big problem of our Judeo-Christian tradition: we’re all waiting for the fucking prophet!

As a kid I hated the image of the sheep and the shepherd. In church everybody used to say, ‘Ah, you are the sheep, and the shepherd is going to save you’. Fuck! I hate being a sheep. There are no shepherds. Be your own messiah.”


Over the years Novembre has turned up for photo shoots looking like a deranged kung-fu fighter, a muscle-bound mystic, a louche rock star or, today, a Cuban revolutionary. This stream of alter egos is perhaps a way of voicing his anti-establishment instincts without alienating himself, or revealing his vulnerability, in a deeply conformist country. It’s not me criticising the church, he seems to be saying, that’s just a character I was playing. “I like to think of heroes as the stars of our darkest nights,” he says. “There are moments when you feel so lonely and you have a lot of trouble, but when you think of people you adore like Federico Fellini, Carlo Moldino, Che Guevara, Jesus Christ as well; they had the same troubles, but look at them! They really did what they wanted to do.”

Novembre studied architecture because it offered him the broadest possible education: architecture schools in Italy teach students about philosophy, sociology, literature and art. “In Italy, you choose architecture just to open your mind, not to have a profession. It has never been oriented to how to build buildings. When I came out of there I couldn’t put one brick on top of another.”

Above: his interior for the Shu restaurant in Milan, 1999

Italian architects are uniquely disadvantaged since besides the peer pressure of working amid the world’s richest architectural heritage, it is difficult to build anything remotely adventurous in the country.

 above: Hotel Vittoria, Florence

 “Regulations here are so strict; they’re bullshit,” says Novembre. “The Hotel Vittoria in Florence, which opened late last year] I designed – I couldn’t touch the street frontage. I wanted to put something on the street to serve as a sign for the hotel. I fought and fought until the city architectural commission and I were almost kicking each other. But of course they cancelled it. In Italy, to build, is impossible. Im! Poss! I! Ble!” As if to stick two fingers up to Italian conservatism, Novembre filled the hotel’s interior with sweeping brocade-patterned mosaics and spiralling leather, Corian and lamé surfaces.

Many designers are using organic forms and floral patterns these days, but in Novembre’s hands, the specimens have been pumped with fertiliser and have taken over the greenhouse. Novembre’s work is often unashamedly physiological – his L’Origine du Monde nightclub in Milan featured huge murals depicting naked women, a pair of legs straddles the entrance to his Anna Molinari store in London and the ceiling of his Shu Café in Milan is held up by a pair of oversized arms. “My main inspiration is the body of women. All my architecture is very organic not because I decided to be organic but because to me, probably I still refer to my mother’s belly. Our first house is always our mother’s belly. In a way I’m still there; I look for things that are soft and comfortable and curvy and sensual.” Yet, unusually for an architect, he never draws: these voluptuous configurations are instead conveyed verbally. “I cannot draw at all; I am not gifted at all with my hands. I really am not able to transfer my vision in drawings. But I can talk about them and I can write; I am really gifted.”

For his early projects, he would submit proposals to clients as poetry and convey instructions to builders through gesticulation. “I used to call it action designing. I would be on site with the workers and I’d say, I want something like this over there, okay, and from there to there you go like this, drawing with my hands but without actually putting it on paper. Like an orchestra director.” Novembre has now built up a team of architects and designers, so the production process has become a little more conventional. “My staff have become my hands,” he says. “But still when I work with craftsmen, I go to where they are working and try to make them enter in the mood of what I’m trying to achieve.” Now, after around 15 years in practice, Novembre has his first new-build commission: a new headquarters for fashion house Meltin’ Pot in Apulia, southern Italy.

Novembre will build a conference centre and hotel alongside an 18th-century villa owned by the company. Many architects might see a project like this as their big break, but Novembre is surprisingly laid back about his career trajectory. “I don’t have ambitions,” he says languidly. “I don’t want to do too much. I just try to live the best way I can; try to make the best of each day. People always ask ‘what’s your dream project?’ and I say, ‘to get to the end of the day and to be proud!’ I don’t have these kinds of goals. I call it the Renzo Piano syndrome: when you start doing too many things. I’m very self-critical so I accept really few jobs. When I do a piece of design, it’s really a piece of my heart. It’s not just another chair. Otherwise I don’t do anything.”

Fabio Novembre

Hilfiger Fashions Become Model Kit Pieces In This Window Display by Fabio Novembre

Italian designer Fabio Novembre has created a unique window installation in Rome's La Rinascente for designer Tommy Hilfiger's Fall Winter 2013 collection.

Titled “I Have a Lifestyle” the installation is Novembre’s creative interpretation of a man’s wardrobe in the form of those model kits whose pieces are connected prior to assembling, incorporating pieces from the Tommy Hilfiger Men's 2013 Winter Collection. Each piece is coated with navy blue nitro and acrylic paint and affixed to metal tubing.

There are no assembly instructions for our personality. We build our model kit day by day, listening to good advices and following sweet dreams” said Fabio Novembre.

The window display went up mid-September and will come down on October 14th.

images courtesy of Fabio Novembre and photographed by  © Pasquale Formisano

The 2012 Lavazza Calendar Reunites 12 Masters of Photography.

above: cover for 2012 Lavazza Calendar by Ellen von Unwerth

The 2012 Lavazza Calendar

The Lavazzers is the name of the twentieth edition of the Lavazza Calendar, which in celebration of such an important event reunites 12 of the masters of photography that helped to make the Lavazza Calendar such a success over the years: Erwin Olaf, Thierry Le Gouès, Miles Aldridge, Marino Parisotto, Eugenio Recuenco, Elliott Erwitt, Finlay MacKay, Mark Seliger, Annie Leibovitz, Albert Watson, David LaChapelle, Ellen von Unwerth.

They put themselves enthusiastically into play, celebrating their most intimate relationships with the Lavazza coffee through self-portraits. The 12 photographers, just like any closely knit team, were led by the Armando Testa agency, which was in charge of producing also this edition of the Lavazza Calendar and was art-directed by Fabio Novembre. The photographers interpreted themselves in innovative, unusual and imaginative shots.


LOCATION: Studio Erwin Olaf, Amsterdam
PHOTOGRAPHER ASSISTANTS: Wouter van Gens, Alessandro Pisano
STYLISTS: Monica Petit & Maartje Wevers
MAKE-UP ARRIST: Annemiek Bohnenn
SET DESIGN: Floris Vos
MODELS: Tabarra Diop, Irene Hoek, Jason King, Sefton Clarke, Chantal Hanse, Lotte Valk
POST PRODUCTION: Wieger Poutsma, Fisk-Imaging


LOCATION: Upper East Studio, Paris
MAKE-UP ARTIST: Audrey Gautier
MODEL: Sahara Koné


MILES ALDRIDGE (see Miles Aldridge's 2010 Lavazza calendar)
LOCATION: Big Sky Studios, London
PHOTOGRAPHER ASSISTANTS: Benjamin Madgwick, Tom Moran, Daniel Smith
STYLIST: Cathy Kasterine
MODEL: Ruby Aldridge
MAKE-UP ARTIST: Alice Ghendrih
SET DESIGN: Andy Hillman


STYLIST: Maky Hanykova
MODELS: Katerina, Kristina H, Olena, Tereza
COSTUMES: La Perla, Verde Veronica, Verdissima, Via Uno, Mario Valentino, Sartoria De Valle


LOCATION: Eric Dover Studio, Madrid
PHOTOGRAPHER ASSISTANTS: Pedro Galan, Dani Torres, Camilo Germain
STYLIST: Eugenio Recuenco
SET DESIGN: Eric Dover
POST PRODUCTION: Paz Otero, Focal Imagen


LOCATION: Central Park, New York City


FINLAY MACKAY (see Finlay Mackay's 2008 Lavazza calendar)
LOCATION: Film Plus Studios, London
SET DESIGN: Matt Duddleston


MARK SELIGER (see Mark Seliger's 2011 Lavazza calendar)
LOCATION: Mark Seliger Studio, New York City
MAKE-UP ARTIST: Regine Thorre
MODEL: Misty Copeland
POST PRODUCTION: Printed at Norkin Digital Art, Ltd


ANNIE LEIBOVITZ (see Annie Leibovitz' 2009 Lavazza calendar)
LOCATION: Plano, Illinois


LOCATION: 69 Gansevoort Street, New York City
MODEL: Breaunna


LOCATION: Hana, Hawaii
PHOTOGRAPHER ASSISTANTS: Drew Dawson, Tyson Lee Smyer, Jacob Schmidt
HAIR STYLIST: Larry McDaniel
MAKE-UP ARTIST: Sharon Gault
SET DESIGN: Henric Nieminen


Inside back cover:

LOCATION: Chez Regine, Paris
PHOTOGRAPHER ASSISTANTS: Joris Rossi, Yvan Gherman, Jerome Vivet
STYLIST: Joanna Schlenzka
MAKE-UP ARTIST: Cathyanne McAllister
MODEL (COVER): Valerie van der Graaf

Lavazza Corporate Image - Advertising Department
COPYWRITER: Federico Bonenti

ART DIRECTION: Fabio Novembre
PROJECT MAPPING: Apparati Effimeri
PHOTOGRAPHER ASSISTANTS: Nick Rogers, Matthias Gaggl

The Exhibit
The 2012 Lavazza Calendar is accompanied by an exhibition at the Triennale di Milano – Teatro dell’Arte which takes a look at all the Lavazza calendars for the past 20 years:

The exhibit and installation, LAVAZZA CON TE PARTIRO’, was also art directed by Fabio Novembre and includes the following:

all information and images courtesy of Lavazza and Fabio Novembre

View an interactive look at 20 years of Lavazza calendars here

Robox - The Robot-Shaped Bookcase for Casamania by Fabio Novembre.

Looking for a fun way to store the books in your children's room or modern office? Irreverent designer Fabio Novembre's Robot shaped bookcase for Casamania may be just the thing. Presented at this year's Salon del Mobile, the Robox is made of varnished metal and stands 184 cm tall.

Fabio Novembre

Update: Italian Designer Fabio Novembre's Newest Products

In early 2007 I wrote about unusual designer/architect Fabio Novembre and reproduced an interview he did with Icon Magazine. Well, he's been a busy boy since then and 2008 proved to be a prolific year for him that included several lust-worthy items.

His "him" and "her" chairs are made from polyethylene and are available in black, red and white (but not the green). Produced by Casamania.

Above: Her chair in black

Above His chair in white

Above: the designer with his Her chair
Buy them here.

His collection of furniture called Histograms for Meritalia was also introduced this year:

His "slow the flow' water faucets are beautiful:

Above: His organic curving water faucets for rubinetteria stella, 2008

The above faucets are a nice compliment to his bathroom sink, toilet and bidet named the Void System, produced by Flaminia:

His crazy funky Divina sofa is produced in a limited edition by Driade.

The Divina is a reclining female figure built into the leather tufted sofa. Created on a stainless steel frame and stuffed with polyurethane foam.
Buy it here.

He also created this lovely series of 8 silver plated brass trays based on Piazzas (or town squares) in Italy for Driade. below are all the trays in the series which were first shown at the Draide showroom at the Milan furniture fair last April.

100 PIAZZE by Fabio Novembre for Driade

Above: FIRENZE by Fabio Novembre in silver plate L. 25,4 P. 34,5 H. 10,2

Above: LUCCA by Fabio Novembre in silver plate L. 25 P. 35 H. 10

Above: MILANO by Fabio Novembre in silver plate L. 38,2 P. 43 H. 11,7

Above: PALMANOVA by Fabio Novembre in silver plate L. 58,5 P. 67 H. 10,5

Above: ROMA by Fabio Novembre in silver plate L. 29 P. 34 H. 13,8

Above: TORINO by Fabio Novembre in silver plate L. 35 P. 65,5 H. 8,7

Above: VENARIA REALE by Fabio Novembre, in silver plate L. 29 P. 36,8 H. 8,8

Above: VIGEVANO by Fabio Novembre, in silver plate L. 20,8 P. 55 H. 13
The pieces are available for purchase here , here and here.

Above: designer/architect Fabio Novembre.

His website
His blog

Be sure to see my other post on him which shows several of his unusual pieces and interiors as well as a great interview. Read it here.

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