Fabio Novembre and the idea behind his designs

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Fabio
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Fabio Novembre is an Italian architect and designer born in Lecce on December 22, 1966. He is known for his eclectic and innovative designs that often blur the lines between architecture, art, and industrial design. Novembre’s work spans various mediums, including architecture, interior design, furniture design, and product design. Fabio Novembre frequently delves into the realms of identity, perception, and the human condition in his designs. His design philosophy pushes against traditional constraints, prompting observers to interact with both spaces and objects in new and thought-provoking ways.

After graduating in Architecture at Politecnico di Milano in 1992, Novembre opened his studio in 1994. Fabio Novembre Studio immediately became an internationally recognized design firm with an iconic and visionary approach. The essence of the firm’s artistic expression lies in the belief that architecture serves as a medium for telling three-dimensional stories in which people can become actors.

Diving into his ideas, in PA Talks 56, Fabio Novembre defines a good designer as being a good person and adds, “You have to have an ambition for changing the world in a good way, not for a personal ego.” He highlights that this ego destroyed this planet, and architects serve the public and are civil servants in a way. Therefore, he highlights that the designer needs to work with and for the public and the planet.

Novembre’s sensitive and deep thoughts on identity, individuality, and the public also have a great reflection on his designs. He says, “We don’t play tennis in our profession; we play soccer. Everybody has a role.” And he underlines the importance of collaboration and teamwork. It is possible to observe the significance that Novembre’s studio places on this aspect in its projects across various fields, scales, and approaches, evident through the growing number of collaborations aligning with his design philosophy and approach.

Him & Her Chairs

Fabio

From Genesis Book, “Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being […] Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man […] Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”

The Him & Her Chair is one of the most known and iconic designs of Fabio Novembre. Casamania introduced Him & Her Chairs by Novembre in 2008. The iconic chairs are made of polyethylene in both male and female form. The shapes were created by a three-dimensional scan of two plaster sculptures. The sculptural and functional design is available in different colors and a matter-of-glossy finish.

Fabio Novembre tells the story behind the design as “Him & Her are born directly from the ideas behind the Panton Chair. An evolution of the hermaphroditic original, declined into the harmony of the two sexes. They assume sculpted forms like naked models of seduction but they are not ashamed.”

The Who’s Who Store

Fabio

Fabio Novembre widely uses human silhouettes in his designs and Who’s Who Store is one of his most iconic and well-known projects. Novembre, who boldly reveals his innovative and extraordinary lines in his designs, has created a design that highlights modernity and femininity, which are the identity of the brand in this project.

The design is dominated by two-dimensional human sculptures, each in different poses. While these figures made from glass divide the cloth racks for the store, they also create a poetic atmosphere. Walking through the aisle, the changing poses of the figures represent a slow movement-like experience. The man and woman figures on each side seem to be walking slowly while their hands search for each other. Novembre tells this design story as “The first setting in which Who’s Who wants to be recognized is the animation of an encounter between a woman and a man; two hands trying to touch each other.” and reminds this poetic encounterment of man and women to Michelangelo’s famous fresco.

Stuart Weitzman Retail System

Another iconic work of Fabio Novembre is this shoe store in Rome for the American shoe designer Stuart Weitzman. The keyword for Novembre to start the design for the project was “desire”. He highlights the desirability of shoes in the lives of many women and points out the elimination of the feelings of guilt in women by iconic characters such as Imelda Marcos and Carrie Bradshaw.

Novembre expresses his approach for the project as “Shoes are the perfect modern project: a product of superb craftsmanship transformed from a mere object into a thing of desire.” and after Stuart Weitzman came with an offer his immediate thought was a wrapped gift box containing the precious product. He accomplished this by adopting the Christo aesthetic, fashioning a flowing ribbon that meanders and twists across every surface of the store, serving as both display fixtures on the walls and pathways on the floor. From the street through the framed window, the diverse color palette of off-white ribbons against a rich cream background creates an artistic visual experience.

Adaptation

“The history of life is the history of the adaptation to a constantly evolving environment.” With this expression, Novembre highlights the sudden changes of the contemporary world. “Often we take the comfort acquired for granted, laying down as if it belonged to us forever. But this is a world where there is no revenue of a position, where is important to always find a new balance.” From this perspective the Adaptation addresses the uncertainties of our era, navigating the instability of structures, implying that even a small degree of adaptability is essential for persevering and maintaining a positive outlook.

The design stands out with an optical illusion coming from the oblique line of the backrest that stimulates a falling effect. Changing leg height on each side and a cushion that gradually grows, in contrast, make the seat level perfectly parallel to the ground without discomforting the user. The Adaptation series includes armchairs and sofas in different colors and fabrics.

IoNoi Gallery

Ionoi is an initiative launched by Fabio Novembre with the objective of exploring the origin of ideas and conveying the connection between individual identity and collective experience, along with their broader cultural implications. The project transforms into the “IoNoi Gallery,” a physical venue curated by Fabio Novembre, showcasing a fusion of industrial products and artistic designs, creating a seamless connection among design, architecture, art, and fashion.

The IoNoi Gallery is the first concept store by Novembre opened on the occasion of the Salone del Mobile 2022. The space, inspired by a distinctly postmodern imagination following the philosophical principles of the architect and his mentors, showcases the key objects developed by the studio over the years for renowned brands like Kartell, Driade, Venini, Villari, Lasvit, and more.

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“… Don’t believe in u-turns in your life. If you change your life even a few degrees, you go to a completely different part. Remember, Christopher Columbus was looking for India, and he bumped into America.”

Fabio November, PA Talks

Fabio Novembre’s inspirational perspectives, his diverse designs, and subjects can show that there is no one true path in one true profession. The following quote from our interview in PA Talks is one of the highlights of his approach and can be an inspiration for many.

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1 thought on “Fabio Novembre and the idea behind his designs”

  1. Thank you for this feature, It’s a very interesting profile; I love some of his work, but not all. He is an excellent example of how architecture as a practice is not linear, and we don’t necessarily need to do just one type of project or building; in fact, we shouldn’t. If we don’t want to die of boredom. Our broad education allowed us to design various things and even products.
    When in an interview, they are looking for someone who doesn’t have experience in one sort of building, but they have a good portfolio and they are engaging in many other ways, and they reject because the mold is not filled.

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