UNSCRIPTED with Fabio Novembre: Celestial Musings and Maestros

Convinced of his ability to seduce everything that surrounds him, the Italian architect and designer fuses his infectious energy into this week’s UNSCRIPTED episode.

by Anmol AhujaPublished on : Aug 27, 2021

"You know, lots of times you don’t meet your maestros, but you choose them. You pick them and connect them".

-Fabio Novembre

My first brush with Fabio Novembre's enigmatic self was for him authoring a part of the tripartite tribute to the Italian design legend, Enzo Mari, who passed away of COVID-19 complications last year. Terming Mari the Jiminy Cricket to his Pinocchio, nothing better encapsulated his eclectic, uninhibited sense of expression for me better than his tribute to the “Grandfather of Italian design”. Though strictly parting at a fork in terms of design philosophies, even disagreeing often, Novembre bore immense respect for Enzo Mari, admitting to “jealously” keeping a book of his work in his personal collection, autographed by the late stalwart. Novembre’s almost spiritual romanticism for all things design also spilled over onto this UNSCRIPTED chat, wherein the Italian designer and architect let us in on his solemn will to breathe till he choked, and love till he died.

  • Brought up in the south of Italy, Fabio Novembre claims to have had a simple childhood with a simple family | Unscripted with Fabio Novembre | Interviews | STIRworld
    Brought up in the south of Italy, Fabio Novembre claims to have had a simple childhood with a simple family Image: Courtesy of Fabio Novembre
  • Novembre graduated as an architect in the city of Milan in 1992 | Unscripted with Fabio Novembre | Interviews | STIRworld
    Novembre graduated as an architect in the city of Milan in 1992 Image: Courtesy of Fabio Novembre
  • Novembre with his two daughters, Verde and Celeste | Unscripted with Fabio Novembre | Interviews | STIRworld
    Novembre with his two daughters, Verde and Celeste Image: Courtesy of Fabio Novembre

Graduating as an architect from the city of Milano in 1992, where he found himself by a happy accident and decided to stay for good, Novembre was quick to land his first design commission in 1994. However, an extension of his personality or an interpretation from his dramatic reading of the spaces he designs may come from his training in filmmaking at the NYU in '93. Having studied two immensely demanding creative courses through his academic life, Novembre claims himself to have been a peculiar student, particularly while engaging with the academics of design. The multidisciplinary Italian architect self-deprecatingly chuckled at the fact that he wasn’t really gifted for drawing, but swelled at being a “volcano of ideas” otherwise.  

  • Novembre’s iconic set of chairs, Him & Her for Casamania | Unscripted with Fabio Novembre | Interviews | STIRworld
    Novembre’s iconic set of chairs, Him & Her for Casamania Image: Courtesy of Fabio Novembre
  • HIT Gallery and store for Ittierre, Hong Kong | Unscripted with Fabio Novembre | Interviews | STIRworld
    HIT Gallery and store for Ittierre, Hong Kong Image: Dennis Lo
  • Happy Pills Vase collection for Venini, 2019 | Unscripted with Fabio Novembre | Interviews | STIRworld
    Happy Pills Vase collection for Venini, 2019 Image: Courtesy of Fabio Novembre

It is perhaps for his film studies in New York, and the brief time that he spent there for NYC to become his love apart from Milan, that he stated the Italian auteur, Federico Fellini, alongside his other mentors in the design realm, Ettore Sottsass and Alessandro Mendini, to be his mentors. It’s a curious mix by all means, but a treasure trove of multi-faceted knowledge nonetheless, and completely in line with what he believed about mentorship and its role in the life of a creative professional. It was this discussion about mentors that in fact led to one of the most insightful parts of his UNSCRIPTED conversation, and proved to be a topic of immense connect. Equating his mentors to celestial orbs, he termed them to be stars illuminating his path on dark nights whence he found himself to be alone. The simple maturity, along with a declaration in unbridled innocence in this statement by the 54-year old designer was disarming and life affirming at once. 

  • I Have a Lifestyle, model-kit window installation for Tommy Hilfiger at La Rinascente | Unscripted with Fabio Novembre | Interviews | STIRworld
    I Have a Lifestyle, model-kit window installation for Tommy Hilfiger at La Rinascente Image: Courtesy of Fabio Novembre
  • Adaptation Sofa for Cappellini, 2016 | Unscripted with Fabio Novembre | Interviews | STIRworld
    Adaptation Sofa for Cappellini, 2016 Image: Courtesy of Fabio Novembre
  • A number of works from the prolific Italian designer are considered to be “provocative” and following Novembre’s unusual and unique design language | Unscripted with Fabio Novembre | Interviews | STIRworld
    A number of works from the prolific Italian designer are considered to be “provocative” and following Novembre’s unusual and unique design language Image: Courtesy of Fabio Novembre

Through the remainder of his interview, Novembre established himself to be a man of wild contradictions, striding through life like “pollen in the wind”. From his earliest designs to his most recent ones, including ORG and Adaptation for Cappellini, Italic, Muse, Nemo, Happy Pills, Venus, Robox, and his classics, Him & Her, and the ‘AND’ sculptural seating, the designer’s works are doused in colour, sweeping in form, often provocative, but always evocative. Almost as free spirited as the designer’s products is his sartorial sense that he himself terms is “eccentric”, with his signature leather jacket being his wardrobe staple, and the one piece of clothing that is still indispensable for him. Much akin to the former ‘talk-of-the-town’ nightclub, and now a Broadway theatre in NYC, I found a characteristic definition of similarity between Studio 54 and Novembre, a name that he would also happily give to his podcast if he ever did one. While the world might have found it provocative, he was just doing what he liked, and having his fun.

  • Fabio Novembre with one of his mentors, Ettore Sottsass. Novembre lovingly recalls his mentors as stars illuminating his night sky | Unscripted with Fabio Novembre | Interviews | STIRworld
    Fabio Novembre with one of his mentors, Ettore Sottsass. Novembre lovingly recalls his mentors as stars illuminating his night sky Image: Courtesy of Fabio Novembre
  • Fabio Novembre with Alessandro Mendini | Unscripted with Fabio Novembre | Interviews | STIRworld
    Fabio Novembre with Alessandro Mendini Image: Nally Bellati
  • An evocative portrait of Fabio Novembre by Emiliano Ponzi | Unscripted with Fabio Novembre | Interviews | STIRworld
    An evocative portrait of Fabio Novembre by Emiliano Ponzi Image: Courtesy of Fabio Novembre, portrait by Emiliano Ponzi

In a conversation of only ‘highs’ and higher ‘highs’, the standout, undoubtedly, turned out to be Novembre’s solo guitar performance. Much like the lot of us having our reinvention stories from the global lockdowns last year, Novembre too was reintroduced to his muse in the guitar after 35 odd years, finding true love in the instrument. So much so, that the designer declined listening to music, instead choosing to filter his own music through his guitar and his singing. Starting with the Italian classic Volare, and closing with Cohen’s Hallelujah, this is a person who I would believe if he said he had indeed found David’s secret chord. 

  • The famed Italian designer picked up the guitar after 35 years during last year’s lockdown and hasn’t stopped playing since | Unscripted with Fabio Novembre | Interviews | STIRworld
    The famed Italian designer picked up the guitar after 35 years during last year’s lockdown and hasn’t stopped playing since Image: Courtesy of Fabio Novembre
  • Novembre is also admittedly a huge fan of football and still plays the sport | Unscripted with Fabio Novembre | Interviews | STIRworld
    Novembre is also admittedly a huge fan of football and still plays the sport Image: Courtesy of Fabio Novembre
  • Much like his designs, Novembre describes his fashion sense as eccentric, and the leather jacket as an indispensable piece of clothing for him | Unscripted with Fabio Novembre | Interviews | STIRworld
    Much like his designs, Novembre describes his fashion sense as eccentric, and the leather jacket as an indispensable piece of clothing for him Image: Courtesy of Fabio Novembre

All this and much more: tap on the cover video to view the full conversation.

All photographs © Fabio Novembre. Images may not be downloaded, copied, reproduced or used in part or whole without obtaining permission. The photographs in this video are not licensed for personal, commercial or public use, or use in the public domain in any form.

UNSCRIPTED:
Curated by Pramiti Madhavji (Consultant, Content Adviser, STIR), UNSCRIPTED is a STIR-original series of quick-witted video interviews with 30 leading design professionals who give us an undiscovered peek into their lives. A melting pot of quests, revelations and quirks, the series spans 30 weeks with a release every Sunday as designers reveal unheard and unknown nuggets from their lives, in response to 30 questions.  

Comments

Comments Added Successfully!

About Author

Recommended

LOAD MORE
see more articles
2379,2396,2530,2422,2427

Keep it stirring

get regular updates SIGN UP

Collaborate with us

This site uses cookies to offer you an improved and personalised experience. If you continue to browse, we will assume your consent for the same.
LEARN MORE AGREE