The Heroine’s Journey of Serena Fanara

What is the best thing that I love about my workI’m an architect and a designer, I invent and create objects and lighting ranging from small furnishing items to big installations. I love being surrounded by my creations: suffused and romantic lights or delicate furniture inspired by natural shapes. “The great thing about being an architect is that you can walk into your dreams.” These are the words of Harold Wagoner and that’s exactly what I love about my job.

What is my idea of perfect happiness? I think the concept of happiness changes throughout the course of one’s life and according to their age. Finding a balance between priorities such as work, love and leisure is a key ingredient to leading a happy life. At the same time, realizing one’s dreams, whatever they may be, is surely the best way to achieving happiness.

What is my greatest fear? What I probably fear the most is that, one day, I will look back on my life and realize I wrongly picked my priorities. Sometimes, when one falls in love with his/her job and his/her art he/she sets aside things that for others are a natural part of his/her life. Knowingly choosing to give something up does not mean one will not regret his/her choices in his/her future.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? I’m a stubborn person but as usual, I’m often the victim of my insecurities. What I definitely least like about myself is the fact that I sometimes give up and then regret doing so. That subtle insecurity that turns into laziness and is justified with fatigue. However, I’m working on this!

Which living person in my profession do I most admire? I do not admire anyone in particular, sometimes I fall in love with people’s journeys, ideas and, above all, shapes. The thing I like the most about people is the passion they do things with, the kind that makes their eyes glisten and creates a lump in their throat when they talk about what they love. I admire all those people who, despite difficulties which may arise, manage to keep their passion fierce and alive.

What is my greatest extravagance? This is a tricky question! I do not think I’m particularly extravagant. Perhaps among my few extravagances, the most curious thing is clothing. I only wear two colors at a time and I’m almost always wearing black and white (which makes my boyfriend sad because it reminds him of a soccer team he hates!)

On what occasion would I lie? When I spend money on clothes! I’m joking, I do not often lie. I just speak half-truths at times.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? Freelance work is very tedious, there is no economic certainty and in Italy, if one falls ill or cannot work for some reason, he/she does not receive assistance. This is definitely the worst aspect of this type of job and I think it is also why many people give their creativity up. They believe this would eliminate their chances of leading a normal life and fail to be economically stable.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? The moments I remember with greatest enthusiasm are, without a doubt, the inaugurations of exhibitions and fairs. I’m filled with pride and joy when everything is perfectly set up, the first few people arrive and I see their surprised expressions and the light of my works reflected in their eyes (and cell phones!).

If I could, what would I change about myself? Luckily, I’m quite happy about how I am. I recognize I have many defects, and more than changing something I try to improve on them. For example, my way of reacting sometimes is a bit outspoken, a typical trait of Southern Italians. I therefore try to correct this side of me, but I do not want to change it because it’s part of who I am, it differentiates me and is part of my roots.

What is my greatest achievement in work? One of my trademark lines is Desert Light, a line of lamps inspired by five different cacti. Before I started working with 3D printing, I tried creating lamps in every way I could think of but was successful only by using this new technology. The prototypes were selected after just a couple of months and exhibited at an interior design fair in China, where I returned last year to expose my products in two more fairs. After so much effort and hard work, seeing the finished products exhibited across the other side of the world is a great satisfaction.

Where would I most like to live? I love every part of Italy. It is a wonderful country full of history and culture. In my travels around the country I have visited extraordinarily fascinating and astonishing places. Therefore, I would not want to live in a different place. As everyone knows, unfortunately, Italy is a very corrupt country and this problem forces many people to move to other countries where in search of social justice and merit-based career opportunities. I hope to never be forced to leave for these reasons because this is the country where I want to live.

What is my most treasured possession? My most treasured possession are the dogs I have had and have. I have spent all my life accompanied their passionate companionship and I could not have managed without it. There is no better antidepressant. One never feels alone because they’re always there when you need them. If this is not a blessing I do not know what is.

What is my most marked characteristic? I believe that my main characteristic is being curious. I’m interested in knowing the details of things, I ask a lot of questions, probably too many. I often get told I sound like a child in his/her “why” stage. I believe that being curious is an important requirement for my job because it stimulates creativity and imagination. Curious people do not copy what others do but rather nourish their minds through new suggestions and give life to something original.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? The city where I live is Milan. Despite what people believe Milan is a very beautiful city. I love to wander about and admire the beautiful architecture of Milan but I must say, nature inspires me the most. The townships of Milan offer wonderful areas surrounded by greenery. I live in the countryside, just a short distance from the city. I find my ideas here, inspired by the different characteristics that come with the turning of the seasons; the change of scenery in the fields and stunning colors and smells give me a creative charge.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city? One of the most popular places in Milan is “Bar Luce” inside the Prada Foundation. Bar Luce was designed by movie director Wes Anderson. Through an accurate selection of products, we are brought back to the elegant Italian Ambrosian cafés. A special place where one goes back in time and is brought to a movie set. One is surrounded by elegant formica tables, wallpaper and pinballs inspired by his most famous movies. Anderson also imagined how the bottles would be showcased with the same care he puts in his setting.

What books influenced my life and how? Of all the books I’ve read, I definitely choose “Guns, Germs and Steel” an essay that opened my mind to the complexity of the history of mankind. The enlightening information it portrays goes beyond scientific knowledge. The moral and philosophical implications enthrall the reader. It is one of those books that frees the mind from commonplace and false myths revealing surprising facts about mankind’s oldest and most recent history.

Who are my favorite writers? For some time my favorite writer is Alicia Giménez Bartlett. I’ve read many of her books and almost all of a breath. I’m a lover of thrillers, and those written by her I’m especially excited about

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? This is a really tough choice for me, I love music, and for seven years in Florence I have been conducting a radio broadcast, thanks to which I have discovered beautiful artists. There are many albums that I love and I have listened to endless times. I would probably like to hear for my last day these artists: The Cinematic Orchestra, The Herbalizer, Four tet, Matmos, Amon Tobin, Bonobo, Thievery Corporation, Fugees, The Cardigans, Morcheeba. Surely I will listen to Solum by Matteo Bennici, my companion, so that he could be with me on this last journey, as he did during these years.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? I do not admire any character in particular, nobody I can define my hero. In movies I like more strong characters who get what they want, without shortcuts and tampering. I wish there were more people like this in real life, than the many sharks we have around.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? I do not think I ever considered someone a hero. I really appreciate people who spend their lives for the greater good, animals and environment, because it’s a job that does not pay you back right away, and that’s why you should admire it.

Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime? More than a single movie I would recommend directors. I love, Sorrentino, Tim Burton, Wes Anderson just to name a few.

What role plays art in my life and work? Art has always been very important to me, ever since I was a child I wanted to be an artist. As I grew up, I found in the art field the nuance that belonged to me and satisfied my creativity, which is design and design of light. Visiting exhibitions, fairs, art cities is one of the things I love to do. Immersive installations are, among all the artistic expressions, the ones that engage me the most, and fill me with enthusiasm.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? Thanks to my work I have several fans who write to me and encourage me, but the people who helped me and supported me more than anybody else, are my mom and my partner. Thanks to their support, I overcame even the hardest moments.

Whom would I like to work with in 2017? I would really like to be able to design objects for some of the major brands of Italian design. I do not know if I can make it in 2017 but I hope so much in 2018! I am not going to name them, but there are several historical and young brands I would like to collaborate with.

Which people in my profession would i love to meet in 2017? Unfortunately the professional I would have loved to meet, died last year.. I am talking about Zaha Hadid, the woman architect who has changed the history of architecture, and for the first time began to undo the inhuman and rigid rules of minimalism. Among the professionals in my field, I’d like to meet Rossana Orlandi and Marva Griffin. I think a chat with two special women like them could be a great growth experience for me.

What project, in 2017, am I looking forward to work on? 
Since last September I am working on new lines of products made of marble, onyx and other natural stones. In collaboration with PETRAM, a marble Italian company, I started using CNC numerical control machines, with multi-axis robotic arms. This new creative possibility motivates me a lot because using the machines of the so-called 4th industrial revolution, we can actually achieve complexity in shapes and use of materials that were unthinkable before.

Where can you see me or my work in 2017? With my products I attend to many fairs and exhibitions, both in Italy and abroad. Following me on social media is the best way to know where I will be.

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? I fully agree with this statement, for me it would be unthinkable to set aside my creative desire. In my life there has never been a line of separation between work, hobbies, passions and leisure. This sometimes brings a negative side, because I realize sometimes I never stop working. At the same time, however, I never stop imagining, creating new forms and developing new ideas. “Daydreaming” is definitely a skill of mine that I will never retire.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story? The first person who comes to my mind is Eva, my photographer friend, this her site 

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