Designers are currently living in something Italian designer Fabio Novembre calls ‘the age of fear’ which is stalling progress and a positive outlook to the future.
designMENA caught up with ‘rebel designer’ Novembre during Design Days Dubai, where he delivered a keynote speech.
During our interview, he said: “There is something that really annoys, even hurts me about design today, which is that designers are always looking at the past. They turn back and look at what it used to be. It is humanly understandable because it is a time of fear. And when you are afraid to evolve, you look at the past.”
“But we must look to the future. We must stand on our feet and look to the future, because you know what? We are designed to look forward. We have a front, a back and two sides and we can only go on; we cannot go back.”
Italian design, which he earlier defined by its spirit of research and experimentation has also adopted this fearful hesitation.
Novembre mentions some of the biggest names in Italian manufacturing which once brought forward some of the most innovative and biggest names in design, but who have now resorted to either “bourgeois tastes or retro aesthetics”.
“I don’t recognise myself in this retro way of life. Not at all. I am the last of the researchers. I am still the child of radical design and still going in that direction: research or die!”
Last year Novembre created the Adaptation collection for iconic Italian manufacturer Cappellini, referencing the sudden changes of the contemporary world. It was a design born out of pure conviction because the Italian manufacturing company was skeptical about its production.
The collection plays with the idea of optical illusion that gives it a falling effect due to the oblique line of the backrest. It features legs at variable heights and a cushion that gradually grows in size, making the seat base perfectly parallel to the ground level. The collection consists of a sofa and an armchair.
“At this time of uncertainty, it is really a manifesto of what a sofa should be. It looks apparently normal but it is broken. I had to tell Giulio Cappellini: “You must do it,” because he didn’t want to do it – it was too radical, too strong. Because it is all about numbers now. For a CEO or someone who administrates a company, if you don’t perform economically, you are out. But I don’t care. If you don’t take risks, what is the point?”
Read full interview here.