A coffee with Francesco Faccin
Words & photos by LAURA DROUET & OLIVIER LACROUTS
We met Francesco Faccin in his studio - a spacious two-rooms office (with workshop!) that overlooks a small, quiet street in the Chinese District of Milan. It’s 9:30AM and he welcomes us with a large smile, with which he immediately excuses himself, saying “I’m sorry, but I can’t offer you a coffee, I still didn’t install a machine…”.
Despite the lack of a nice hot coffee we immediately feel at home. Modest, but talkative, Francesco guides us through his studio. While showing us some of the projects he has worked on over the past months, he also highlights some furniture that he has collected over the years “in the streets of Milan, when Milan was a different city… There was a day in the week - I think it was Tuesday -”, he recalls, “when people would put broken or unused pieces of furniture out of their doors so that the municipality could collect them and bring them to the trash. The town trucks came early in the morning, so people would usually put out their ‘rubbish’ late in the evening. I spent so many nights running around the city to collect my ‘treasures’ !”, he exclaims.
While we are talking some passers-by stop to have a look through the big windows of the studio, probably wondering what this peculiar place is about. “Many - after seeing the machines in the workshop - enter and ask me if I am a carpenter and if I can repair their furniture. It’s funny, but I should definitely put a sign on the door that says ‘Design studio’ or something…” he jokes.
A woody scent emanates from the tiny, yet well equipped atelier that Francesco has installed in the smallest room of his studio. “The machines you see here are a precious gift that one of my maestros, Michele de Lucchi, gave me when I started my own practice”, underlines the designer, pointing at a “Produzione Privata” label sticked on the vertical saw.
Staring at us, is a small skeleton on the shelve - a present from Enzo Mari, another of Francesco’s maestros, who “has charged me of the doubt and the uncertainty that are necessary to tackle this job!” he laughs.
"More and more I mean this job as a pretext to talk about urgent things."
Pieces of the Re-fire kit - a hand-drill fire starting kit - lay on the main table, while, close to the window, the Carry on wheelbarrow patiently stands on its single wheel. We can’t help but to appreciate the humbleness of these objects and the simplicity of their lines. “Each project whether it be an object, architecture or even a musical piece should express a synthesis of many elements (cultural, environmental, etc). I see the quest of complexity mostly as a spectacularization - a way for the designer to be seen”, explains Francesco.
As we continue exploring the studio, he continues: “I feel the necessity to experiment with primary and universal materials, such as wood, bronze, earth. But don’t take me wrong, I am not a nostalgic or a primitivist!”, he adds rapidly. “I am convinced that there will be no development unless we go back to see Nature and Man as one, and in this, we as designers have a great role to play - I'm sure.”
Francesco invited us to come back and continue this conversation to explore more in depth his design approach and his plans for the future. Stay tuned for the follow up by subscribing to our newsletter.