In the realm of interior design, Fabrizio Casiraghi stands as a beacon of artistic innovation. With a distinctive ability to seamlessly blend classical aesthetics and modern allure, his creations transport spaces beyond the confines of time. Notably, his redesign of the renowned Drouant restaurant in Paris left an indelible mark. This transformation served as the catalyst for a fateful encounter between Casiraghi and Nordic Knots’ co-founders, Fabian Berglund and Liza Berglund Laserow.
As Laserow describes, ”We admire his way of transforming spaces into a world that is so very ’Fabrizio Casiraghi,’ yet feel as if they have existed for a long time. There’s a sense of balance and the unexpected in his designs; his interiors are layered and curated, with just enough pieces to make them feel lived-in, but still modern and fresh.” Their initial meeting resonated with mutual admiration for each other’s work and a shared appreciation for refined and timeless design.
It was only natural that, given their shared passion, a collaboration would emerge. A collection of rugs that embody the essence of Casiraghi’s vision, marrying his signature style with Nordic Knots’ commitment to quality and craftsmanship. To delve deeper into the creative journey of Fabrizio Casiraghi, we conducted an exclusive Q&A session with the designer.
Fabrizio Casiraghi with co-founders Fabian Berglund and Liza Laserow at Restaurant Drouant in Paris.
How did it all begin? What's your background story?
F: I studied urban planning and architecture at the Polytechnic school in Milan. Shortly thereafter, I decided to dedicate my career to interiors. This choice was influenced by my two years spent within a renovation project at Villa Niki in Milan. Afterward, I volunteered for an additional two years on the restoration of Villa Niki, and it was during this period that I made the decision to pursue a career as an interior architect rather than just an architect.
How would you define your style?
F: Describing one’s own style can be a challenge, but I would characterize my style as a blend of understated elegance. I’m not a fan of 100% maximalism, nor do I lean toward minimalism. Instead, my approach strikes a balance between these two opposing design philosophies in terms of materials, colors, and references.
Where does your inspiration come from, and how do you find it?
F: My inspiration draws from various sources, including museum exhibitions, travel experiences, books, and more. However, an essential part of my inspiration comes from my roots, particularly my Italian and Austrian heritage. I often seek references in Milan, where I spent my childhood, and in Austria, where a part of my family hails from. The rich Milanese tradition and Viennese Secession are two primary sources of daily inspiration in my work.
Is there a guiding philosophy behind your design work?
F: Coming from an urban planning background, I view interior design as having a political dimension. In a sense, design choices can be seen as expressions of political viewpoints. Extremes like maximalism and minimalism do not align with the needs of modern life. I tend to criticize minimalism as it can sometimes resemble an attempt to erase individuality, like a canvas devoid of patterns, colors, or layers. My mission is to create designs that are contemporary and reflective of the present while incorporating nostalgic elements from the past. Cultural references are integral to my design approach; without them, design loses its essence.
What was the inspiration behind the collection?
F: This collection marks my first foray into designing rugs and fabrics, and it was an opportunity to explore the creative process deeply. I sought to convey the journey of creation through a series of three carpets. Each carpet symbolizes a key aspect of my daily work: the search for inspiration, a connection to the past, and a vision for the future. These three rugs serve as a narrative for the creative process.
Could you provide more details about the three carpets and their motifs?
F: The three carpets feature human figures encircled by distinct motifs. The first represents a farmer surrounded by leaves, symbolizing the process of sowing and nurturing ideas, much like a farmer cultivates crops from the earth. The second portrays an astronomer gazing at the celestial sky, immersed in constellations and stars, signifying the quest for inspiration from the vast cosmos. The third showcases an archaeologist amidst Greek motifs, holding a vase, embodying the pursuit of knowledge from the past. Together, these figures represent the three facets of the creative process: nurturing, seeking inspiration, and uncovering the past.
Is this theme of the relationship between humans and nature important in your work?
F: Absolutely, it’s a central theme in this collection. Even in this era of ecological awareness, I believe that the most environmentally conscious approach is to create timeless designs that don't require constant replacement. This collection explores the connection between humanity and nature, emphasizing the idea of harmonious coexistence.
That’s why we chose Norrviken Gardens as our backdrop for the campaign, designed by the horticulturist Carl Rudolf Abelin in the early 1900s. In the history of landscape architecture, the French and Italian gardens are known for their human intervention in shaping and maintaining nature. Similarly, our three figures—archaeologist, farmer, and astronomer—represent individuals interacting with nature in different ways, seeking to understand, control, and find inspiration in it.
Details of the The Archaeologist — discovering ourselves by exploring and celebrating our past.
The serene seating area of Drouant Restaurant which Fabrizio redesigned in 2019.
What does ”home” mean to you?
F: Home is more than just a comfortable space; it’s a sanctuary where one can express their unique vision of life. It’s a place where I can gather with friends, family, and loved ones around the fireplace on a winter evening, enjoying a good risotto and a glass of fine wine. It’s where I can curate the ambiance with my choice of music, lighting, and cuisine. Home represents a sacred space where I assemble all the elements that define my life and share them with those who matter most.
Do you have a favorite design object?
F: One of my all-time favorites is the vase series by Joseph Hoffman from the Viennese Secession. However, I must mention another work by him that holds a special place in my heart: a set of drinking glasses. These glasses exemplify pure Viennese Secession design, effortlessly combining simplicity with sophistication and roundness, making them absolutely perfect in my eyes.
Where do you see the future of architecture and interior design heading?
F: Predicting the future can be challenging, but I hope and strive for a future in which architecture and interior design steer clear of passing trends. My aim is to distance my work from trends, fashion, and short-lived design concepts. Instead, I aspire to create designs that are timeless, enduring, and harmonious with the passage of time. The future of interior design, and architecture by extension, should be grounded in timelessness rather than fleeting trends.
Photographed by James Nelson at Drouant Restaurant, 16-18 Rue Gaillon, Paris, 2023.