Maker Monday: An ASPIRE Exclusive Interview With Fort Simone

Fort Simone, a renowned furniture designer hailing from Italy, brings high concept ideas to items we use every day. His lamps, furniture, and metal constructions (like stairs, rails, and doors) are unlike anything you’ve seen before. Located in the history-rich city of Venice, Simone crafts new pieces in the Atelier workshop, while several factories in northern Italy create his designs to share with the rest of the world. Always determined, Fort grew up knowing he was meant for big things; now, his studio offers interior and architecture design in addition to their multitude of inventive decor and furnishings. Take a trip to Italy and meet Fort Simone in this week’s Maker Monday.

A gold-gilded floor lamp by Fort takes a new form.

Andrew: Describe your design style as if you were explaining it to someone who cannot see.
Fort Simone: I find it very hard to describe my design style. I believe that each person would describe the same creation in a different way, depending on how interested they are in certain details rather than others. My style is full of small details, so the same creation can be perceived and described differently by different people. Every single detail can pique someone’s interest, depending on people’s unique styles.

Andrew: What’s the best thing that happened to you this month?
Fort: The most exciting thing that happened this month was definitely to complete my biggest project so far. For many years I’ve been working on the Burj lamp (pictured above), a lamp that is entirely made of gold, and studded with diamonds, and definitely my most detailed, complex, and difficult project I’ve ever worked on. You can imagine the enormous satisfaction I felt once I was able to see and touch my creation. The world premiere of this lamp will be presented in January 2020 in Abu Dhabi. Its value exceeds two million dollars.

Andrew: What are three words to describe where you live?
Fort: We have a saying here in Venice: “Venice, you either love it or hate it”. Living here is definitely not easy, it can really test you sometimes. But it’s also always been my biggest source of inspiration, my companion in a path of steady growth, with its history, its people, and its unique atmosphere. I can’t describe Venice in three words, because just one is enough: home.

Andrew: What are your ideal weekend plans?
Fort: Ever since I was a child, my biggest passion has always been motorcycles. My ideal weekend consists of a motorcycle adventure, discovering new roads, new places, sceneries, and views.

Stepping into my garage and choosing the most appropriate motorcycle for the day, among my collection of vintage motorcycles, gives me a sense of freedom and lightness that nothing else has ever given me so far.

Andrew: What’s one thing people don’t know about you?
Fort: Unfortunately, not even the people that are closest to me know many details of my personality. My lifestyle forces me to be elusive, and I don’t have much time to dedicate to the people that I love. Probably the one thing people don’t know about me is that I would love to have more time to spend with my family and friends.

Fort finds a new use for ladders in his signature bookcase.

Andrew: Are you a good cook? If so, what’s your specialty?
Fort: My specialty is called “sarde in saor”, and it’s a traditional venetian dish, made with fried anchovies, caramelized onions, pine nuts and raisins. The best way to enjoy it is to walk around the ancient streets of Venice at night and in good company, and then, surrounded by a magical atmosphere, stop at one of the many “bacari” (venetian wine bars) and taste delicious wines and “sarde in saor” with croutons.
What would your dream project or dream client be right now?

I’ve always thought that there is a strong connection between Venice and New York. I’m not talking about architecture, history, or traditions, it’s about a certain thirst for knowledge and an interest in all art forms, including design. My dream is to open my own atelier in New York, to weave one more thread in this dense web of connections.

Andrew: What are you most proud of?
Fort: I’m most proud of being able to arouse emotions through my creations. Regardless of whether or not people like a particular creation, which depends on taste and personal preference, my biggest source of satisfaction is conveying to the audience what I’m feeling, and what leads me to create my pieces.

Andrew: What might the design world look like in 10 years?
Fort: I try not to imagine what the design world will look like in 10 years, I’d rather not have any expectations, and enjoy its natural evolution over time. The only thing I do hope is that it takes a step back, in order to not lose sight of the value of handmade creations.

Andrew: Best advice you’d give your teenage self?
Fort: I’d tell myself to travel, travel, travel.

You only have this one life, and the world is big and varied, so traveling, exploring new places, meeting new people, and sharing experiences is the thing I like the most. If I could go back in time, I’d start traveling at an early age. You need to learn how to look at things from different points of view to understand whether the road you’re on is the right one for you.

Andrew: How do you define beauty?
Fort: Beauty hides behind every small imperfection created by nature, craftmanship, and time. These flaws are unique, and they result in something that’s one of a kind. After a while, things that are too perfect may feel predictable and boring. Instead, imperfections are like a secret diary, you can see it, but it is locked, and you can’t read it, you can only try to imagine what’s inside. To me, that’s what real beauty is, something that sparks people’s interest and inspires them to dream.

About The Maker | Fort Simone was born in a little town in the North East of Italy in 1983. He showed an innate passion for construction and handmade inventions since he was a child. With a skillset much more impressive than that of most people his age, his passion evolved during university. After his studies, he engaged in a lot of collaborations with different companies, improving on his skills and subsequently pursuing interior design.

He is an ardent believer of success through hard work. He has never lost focus on his goals, by not giving in to any distractions. His ability to take on a design from concept to completion, his dexterity and most importantly, his high-quality standards and attention to detail, are what set him apart from others. As an artist and creative, his core strength is to transform small and simple things into wonderful and unique creations.

Atelier Fort started in 2010. Fort Simone, the company’s founder, opened his first craftsman workshop and design studio in Venice, Italy. Since then, the company has expanded with several factories in northern Italy, but the first, original workshop is still located in Venice, where Mr. Fort produces new prototypes and studies new materials.

As a leading brand in the arts and design industry, Atelier Fort has remained one of the most successful companies with a focus on high-end designs, serving many customers both within and outside the country. Years of experience and passion for excellence allow Atelier Fort to provide world-class services with high-quality aesthetics and design that combine both durability and usability.

Andrew Joseph is a regular contributing editor for ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME magazine. See more of his work here

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ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME is seeker and storyteller of the sublime in living. It is a global guide to in-depth and varied views of beauty and shelter that stirs imagination; that delights and inspires homeowners as well as art and design doyens. Collaborating with emergent and eminent architects, artisans, designers, developers and tastemakers, ASPIRE creates captivating content that savors the subjects and transports with stunning imagery and clever, thought-provoking writing. Through lush and unique visuals and a fresh editorial lens, ASPIRE explores what is new and undiscovered in art, interiors, design, culture, real estate, travel and more. ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME is an international narrative and resource for all seeking the sublime.