An eclectic collection of Sicilian-inspired furnishings, based on the production capacity and traditions of the area. A project open to exploring new and unexpressed potential.
We are talking about Not.O, the new design made brand in Sicily, born from the meeting between the well-known designer Ferruccio Laviani anche the entrepreneur of the sector Felice Rizzotti, who made his debut in Catania where he presented the first collection of cabinet in the sumptuous frescoed rooms of Palazzo Biscari, one of the oldest buildings in the city of Etna, a precious testimony of Sicilian Baroque.
The meeting and the (common) vision of Sicilian design
A project nurtured for three years before coming to fruition, it all began in 2018 in Taormina, with a chance meeting between Ferruccio Laviani and Felice Rizzotti. The first Not.O workshop took place over dinner, during which they both talked about their ideas and projects and discovered shared desires they thought it was worth exploring together. The natural consequence of this was the decision to try to channel their own particular shared vision of Sicilian design into a single project.
The curious birth of the name
They also shared the conviction that the venture had to be highly distinctive and immediately attributable to Sicily, two characteristics embodied by Noto, a jewel of a city known all over the world, whose name could have been thought up by a clever copywriter: short, immediate and easy to pronounce. It also proved to be the right choice because of the possibility of transforming the name Noto into a synthetic definition of the project, transfiguring the semantic spectrum of this traditional local toponym into an international and visionary Not Ordinary: Not.O.
Mix of craftsmanship and industry outside the historically consolidated Made in Italy districts
The first collection by Not.O draws on artisan know-how and expertise combined with industrial production. The idea of producing unique pieces is far removed from the reasons that inspired a brand identified with the inimitable mix of craftsmanship and industry typical of ‘Made in Italy’ design, recognized internationally for its excellence.
Catalyst and propulsive force
Against this backdrop, Not.O wants to be an explicit statement of the national character of Italian design, which is not limited to historically consolidated districts because there is creativity and demand for high quality production everywhere, and often what is needed most is a powerful determination to be a catalyst, organizing them into a business and creating something new.
Potential and evolutions
Not.O takes on the complex challenge of dealing with an ancient legacy and a very different dimension to the one designers usually work in, but which perhaps for this very reason is full of manufacturing and commercial potential.
The project aims to revalue local craftsmanship by inscribing its contribution in an industrial product chain, something that inevitably requires an evolution to showcase its unique features while guiding it towards contemporary languages.
The virtuosity of the workers in the furniture of the first collection
Here are a few examples: Not.O contacted decorators who usually work on traditional Sicilian carts and souvenirs to paint the design on the Ribera cabinet, and it asked the ceramists from Caltagirone who make moor’s head and decorative pinecone vases to express their virtuosity by creating the tiles featured on the sideboard of the same name.
Research, dialogue and amplification
Not.O therefore aims to be the starting point for formal and stylistic research that is nurtured on a daily basis by the dialectic with local Sicilian culture and tradition, and to become its amplifier through the originality of interesting new creative outcomes achieved together.
A Greek or meander, a sign frequently found in Sicilian archaeological finds from both Greek and Roman times, is a decorative border built starting from a continuous line folded to form a repeated pattern.
The family of Avola containers takes back this element by transforming it into a hypnotic pattern, repeated in a sequence that alternates color with black and white. The decoration is screen-printed on glass and covers both the structure and the doors of the cabinet. The choice of this surface finish is also inspired by a tradition: verre paint, dating back to the 16th century and very widespread in popular culture. In Sicily, the paintings under glass are in fact constituted as miracles, sacred apparitions of a divinity that bursts into everyday life. Everything in Avola is decoration, even the base, which is to the ornamental language of this piece available in two versions, vertical and horizontal.
The pictorial culture that has made famous Sicilian carts and puppets is distilled until the essentiality of color is obtained: the family of Ribera sideboards uses the technique of painting traditional combining it with the most sophisticated joinery, to create a surprising piece of furniture.
The essence of pickled oak is grafted like a grid over backgrounds of colors with bright tones that are muted and softened by the warmth of the wood. The package opening of the front doors reveals an interior embellished with the same essence and a functional and versatile organization of the compartments. The cylindrical section of the solid wood becomes the leitimotiv of this container, available in the version both horizontal and vertical, transforming itself into a structure, handles or base.
Qal'at al Ghiran, "Rocca dei Vasi" in Arabic, is the ancient toponym from which Caltagirone derives, a name that proves how much the pottery tradition is here rooted and remote in time.
The family of Caltagirone containers appropriates this millenary craftsmanship away from the usual decoration to direct it towards the Italian artistic culture, more material, expressionist and less decorative , with a processing that refers to some works by Lucio Fontana or Fausto Melotti.
The Caltagirone sideboard comes to life from the aggregation of simple volumes embellished with hand-modeled ceramic tiles one by one and then fixed on each single opening: the front is completely decorated. The lacquered wood structure is internally divided into compartments and drawers that allow the sideboard to be used indiscriminately in the living or sleeping area. A sculptural object, a piece of furniture that approaches the world of contemporary art while remaining anchored to one of the most deeply rooted craft traditions of the Sicilian territory.
Sicily is not only classical and baroque architecture, but also modern and contemporary art. The futurist movement, in addition to some works by Fortunato Depero inspired by the main Sicilian cities, has left some masterpieces such as the incredible frescoes by Benedetta Cappa Marinetti in the halls of the Palazzo delle Poste di Palermo.
Enna is a series of containers, both horizontal and vertical, with a totemic presence, which can be placed freely thanks to the finish on the five visible sides.
A polychrome wooden inlay that recalls the avant-gardes of the early twentieth century but also the decorative language of radical design or the early Eighties covers, thanks to a work of very high cabinet-making, all sides of the cabinet. The refined woodworking is therefore declined in an example with a minimal design which, as an expressive means, uses the chromatic/material language of natural or aniline-dyed wood.