Her blood is Norwegian, her inborn class Parisian and her sense of timeless beauty was raised among the wonders of the eternal Rome: meet Fanny Bauer Grung.
Fanny’s art is a wonderfully inspired synthesis of opposites resulting in a feeling of balance and poise.
After studying in London, she completed her educational route in Milan, where she graduated in Architecture presenting a final thesis supervised by Aires Mateus. During her two years spent working at Lissoni Associati design firm, she met David Lopez Quincoces: the very cool duo of brilliant personalities established and started making beautiful things happen.
When and how did you figure out you wanted to pursue a career in design and architecture?
Growing up in Rome definitely played an important part, I reckon: being constantly immersed in all that beauty enhances your sense of aesthetics and triggers your creativity. I remember my father would take me around the city to show me the most spectacular Roman buildings and ruins…I used to find it really fascinating. Plus I’ve always loved art and that’s why I decided to study History of Art before pursuing a degree in Architecture. Art is still a main source of inspiration for me, something I always look at when working with designs and interiors.
You’ve been living in Milan for quite a while now: what do you love the most about the city?
I think it’s a combination of a series of things: Milan has got an international appeal and it’s also very Italian at the same time; plus it’s quite small, which makes it very comfortable and easy to handle, without feeling claustrophobic. I’ve lived many years in London before and after a while I started suffering its dimensions: living in such a big city can be draining, you know, tiring. In Milan you can walk around pretty much everywhere without feeling like you are trapped.
Since the very first Design Week in 1961, Milan has become one of the most appealing and exciting destinations for art and design lovers coming to visit from all over the world. As an insider, what do you believe are the most inspiring galleries and museums?
There are many. There’s a very good selection of galleries in the city, from the very famous ones like Nilufar – that’s been a true pioneer in the business – to new up and coming ones, or others like Dimore Gallery, which is always very interesting especially if you come from the outside and you want to live a very Italian interior experience…they make it so personal! Talking about museums, I always love to go to Fondazione Prada, where I never miss a coffee break at Bar Luce. I also really enjoy exploring La Triennale, which always features very interesting exhibitions…plus there is its beautiful rooftop restaurant: I live right across the street so it’s a nice and easy stop for me.
Imagine you had a friend coming to visit you in Milan for the first time…what would be your most exclusive tips for a truly unforgettable, very Milanese weekend?
Eat a lot for sure! Milan has so many good places to go eat. Then you should also walk around Parco Sempione, which, I know, may seem touristy, but I believe it’s very beautiful…and kind of unexpected with the castle in the middle. Then you should go explore the neighborhoods, like Sant’Ambrogio, Brera…that’s how you really get to live the city. I think Sant’Ambrogio has recently become one of the most interesting areas of the city, due to its aesthetics and also due to the transformation the 5VIE district experienced during the past few years. I love going shopping in Via Santa Marta, for instance: for great fashion finds, you should head to Wait and See and meet my friend Uberta; if you like jewelry, check out Madina Visconti for very unique and elegant pieces or her mother Osanna’s beautiful bronze furniture; if you’re looking for interiors, BDDW is a must visit, together with Apparatus; another cool spot in Via Santa Marta is Arjumand store, selling wonderful homeware and textiles that come from all over the world. Whenever you feel like taking a break, just enjoy a pit stop at Bar Borromeo or grab aperitivo at Chiosco Mentana.
“If you’re looking for a very good Italian meal, Latteria San Marco is a winner, especially for lunch: it’s got such a cozy homely feel! ”
Wandering around the city among markets, concept stores and exhibitions may make you feel hungry. Where are your favorite places to go eat in Milan?
If you like Japanese food, Sakeya is my favorite one: the food is lovely and the interior makes you feel like you’re dining in Japanese restaurant in NY or something. If you’re looking for a very good Italian meal, Latteria San Marco is a winner, especially for lunch: it’s got such a cozy homely feel! For a good breakfast bar, I choose Pasticceria Cucchi: a classic you can never go wrong with, and it’s also close by…for an intimate dinner, I recommend Sixième, for sure: the atmosphere is special and the chef, Giacomo, cooks really good, authentic food. Fioraio Bianchi is my top choice for a drink instead.
Norway, France, Italy: your background is an authentic melting pot of cultures. We believe that plays a very important role in inspiring your creations…what do you think is your strongest source of inspiration?
I definitely think it’s a privilege to grow up with many cultures: I believe it’s something you always bring with you. There are no boundaries. When we opened the gallery, people always used to ask me: “Are you going to do Italian design, French design…or what?” and to me it’s a boundary that doesn’t exists. You know, it’s much more about creating atmospheres and setting and whatever works, works. The approach to everything we do is very much limitless: we don’t stick to tradition, we admire it and we admire the different cultures. I think it’s important there’s always – “fil rouge”, that’s your vision. That becomes something you always follow, the purpose you have, your inspiration and your gut instinct. Then you can always bind everything together afterwards: you can take anything from anywhere and put it together as long as you stay coherent with the vision you have.
Here at The Maptique we believe traveling is a truly powerful source of creative inspiration. Tell us something about a journey you’ll never forget
Before studying Architecture I studied History of Art for three years and, once I got my bachelor’s degree, I left for Colombia with two girlfriends for a month. We were quite young (I was about 20) and I didn’t really realize where I was going until I got there! It turned out to be quite an adventure and a life changing experience. We trekked almost the whole country and it was really beautiful. It was also the only time in my life that I went for such a long trip, which made it absolutely memorable. Cabo de la Vela and Punta Gallinas are just amazing…it feels like standing at the edge of the universe. We went all the way towards La Guajira along the Venezuelan border and saw flamingos flying upon remote lagoons, right where the desert meets the sea. I don’t know how safe that was, but it was definitely a memorable experience! Cartagena – with its history and architecture – and Parco Tayrona – with the crystal clear water and the sandy beaches facing the jungle – are also top destinations: they’re for sure more touristy but it’s absolutely worth including them in your trip. Taganga is a very special spot too: it’s a small fishing village, pretty wild and rundown, but with an incredible atmosphere and great vibes coming from all around.
If you had to mention one Italian artist you look up to for inspiration…who would you name?
I’d name Luigi Ghirri. His photographs have deep character and brilliant personality.
Where do you generally go browsing for curious design pieces and eclectic homeware in Milan?
In Milan, markets are always very good. It may sound trivial but it’s true. If you go to Sunday markets you happen to find really good things. For instance, the Canals’ market, taking place on the last Sunday of the month, is always very sweet: you may find lots of styling objects and curious trinkets. Plus there are underground dealers: we work a lot with them here in Milan. They go into houses that have been abandoned or sold to collect a lot of interesting pieces of furniture; then I go to their warehouses and find things through there. For sure you’ve got to know them and that’s part of our job…it’s the merchant part of our job, I’d say. Through them you can get some really unique pieces you wouldn’t have the chance to catch anywhere else.
What’s the most exciting project you’re currently working on?
Milan Design Week – Salone del Mobile – for the Gallery is always a very exciting time because we do a new set up, we bring in new pieces…and creatively there’re no clients except from ourselves, there’s no brief but our own. When we do interiors or architecture we are always working with clients, which is really stimulating, but sometimes it’s nice to work freely and do whatever you feel like doing.