A TALK WITH DANIELA FANTINI
Photography by Matteo Pastorio
Fantini Rubinetti was born in 1947 in Pella, near Orta’s Lake. Nowadays, Daniela Fantini runs the company as an innovative and socially conscious entrepreneur, with an energetic and spontaneous personality, remaining deeply bonded to her roots. It has been a pleasure to meet her and talk about the history of the company and the area where it is located, the sustainability importance and the new Casa Fantini project in collaboration with Studio Lissoni.
Which values characterize Fantini Rubinetti?
Our company has the peculiarity of being a typical ‘Italian design factory’. It’s a place with a strong creative intensity that leads to the creation of innovative products, which often anticipate trends and become international benchmarks. Fantini’s history is based on some fundamental values: passion for work, ethics, fair play and respect for human beings. The water is the common thread of our activity, that combines great craftsmanship skills with technology and industrial processes in the taps production.
Would you briefly tell us its history?
Fratelli Fantini is a family business founded in Pella, near the Lake of Orta, in 1947 by Giovanni and Ersilio Fantini, my dad and uncle. Design is a part of its DNA from the very beginning, and the strength of its products lies in the combination of technologic innovation and the designer’s creativity. For over fifty years, Fantini has created increasingly sophisticated products, with an endless research of quality and a constant evolution of production processes, that make it an international benchmark in the design field. Nowadays we’re located in more than 50 Countries and we have showrooms in Milan, New York, Zurich and Moscow, designed by Studio Lissoni Associati.
How much are ethics and sustainability important in your work?
They’re more and more determinant and essential values, not only for companies. Ethics is at the heart of human relationships and every facets of business activities, that’s why sustainability must guide strategic choices, productive processes and the environmental impact of the production itself. People’s well-being must always be the first concern.
How does Fantini promote these ideals?
First of all, in our everyday life. With big and little decisions focused on protecting the consumer—such as the production of lead free and steel tabs—and through social responsibility projects, such as ‘100 fontane: Fantini for Africa’, the waterworks that we built in Burundi, or ‘Sailing’, a Verbania’s CNR project for the monitoring of the water of lakes Maggiore and Orta.
How did ‘100 fontane: Fantini for Africa’ project start?
After taking part in an humanitarian action in Masango, I decided to involve the whole company in a corporate social responsibility project. In two years we built a 27 kilometers aqueduct that brings clear water to an almost 25.000 people community, 12 captage sources directly in the rock and 130 fountains at a maximum of 10 minutes walking from the houses. Before our intervention, more than one or two hours were required to go taking the water, which was often polluted. Furthermore, the task was mostly assigned to children, who are now released from this duty and allowed to go to school.
Casa Fantini, designed by Piero Lissoni, has been inaugurated this year. Which is the connection between the structure and the surrounding area? How is the building related with Orta’s Lake beautiful environment?
Casa Fantini derives from the love for this place’s spirit, for what is authentic and handcrafted, and it represent the Lake of Orta culture, where my roots lay. The Lake has a slow rhythm and a mystic aura, also given by San Giulio’s Isle nuns. There’s a magic quietness and the time seems to stop. These elements inspired the project. In this place, you’ll live a deeply emotional experience, finding yourself and your own rhythm and balance. Casa Fantini Lake Time project also had a profound impact for the enhancement of Pella, where there wasn’t any hotel accommodation, and all the Lake of Orta area. Lissoni’s contemporary architecture perfectly integrates into the landscape, it has an international appeal and it’s a reference point for the entire area.
You used some of the Mutina Collections for Casa Fantini. Why did you chose them?
I love Mutina’s products, they’re beautiful and high end. That’s why, in agreement with architect Piero Lissoni, I thought that they were perfect for Casa Fantini.
There’s a singular relationship between your company and the territory where it is located. Would you tell us 5 unmissable things to see in and around Pella?
The Lake is extremely special to us, it’s a source of inspiration, peace and serenity. I’m deeply attached to this place, so much that, even if I travel a lot, I couldn’t live anywhere else. Among the unmissable things, I’d say: the San Giulio’s Isle; Sant’Anna’s Church, from which you can admire the whole stretch of water; the boat ride to discover the most beautiful and hidden corners of the Lake; a walk in Egro, from where you can enjoy an amazing panorama… and a cup of coffee at Casa Fantini, on Pella’s square!
We visited San Giulio’s Isle together, a place full of spirituality where there’s one of the most important Italian monasteries: Mater Ecclesiae Abbey. Why is this place so special to you?
I believe that it has a positive influence on people’s everyday life and peace of mind.
The legend tells that San Giulio lied his mantle on the water and sailed on it, because he couldn’t find anyone who was willing to ferry him from Omegna to the little island whose rocks were infested by snakes. After having defeated the dragons and the snakes, symbols of pagan superstition, he lied the foundation of the Abbey.
The 31st of January, people from the whole coast celebrate San Giulio’s feast. The nuns have lived on the island for decades: originally, they were just six with Mother Annamaria Canopi, but now there’s a hundred of them under her guide.
The relation with our company is an established friendship. Would you like to tell an anecdote that you particularly remember?
I’ve known Massimo Orsini of Mutina for years and I think that we’re very similar: dynamic, but always authentic in our behaviors. We’re spontaneous whoever the interlocutor is, with a famous client or architect as well! The first time I bought Mutina’s tiles was to use them in my bathroom and then he bought the whole company… I’ve always thought it was a nice coincidence!