The work of architect Lorenzo Nassimbeni is unique in it’s focus on the area where the disciplines of architecture and fine art meet. The practical methodology which he employs is powerful, describing the essence of his primary inspiration, the ‘urban landscape.’ Across the media of wallcovering, fabric design, mural design and fine art, his portfolio of work is unified by a signature architectural style of drawing: a distillation of black line on white background.
In 2009, Nassimbeni received recognition for his work by being awarded the Elle Decoration Internatonal Design Award for Wallcoverings, South Africa [ EDIDA : www.elledecoration.co.za ]. In 2010, renowned South African design magazine, VISI [ www.visi.co.za ], selected one of his fabric designs to be included in their selection of top design items, in celebration of their 50th edition.
Nassimbeni’s mural designs have complemented the spaces of South African icons such as Neil Ellis Wines [ www.neilellis.com ] and the residence of Zolani Mahola, lead singer of Freshlyground [ www.freshlyground.com ]. Recently, he completed a series of 4 murals for a construction management company, CONECO [ www.coneco.ch ] in Zürich, Switzerland.
In the realm of fine art, Nassimbeni has exhibited extensively in South Africa, often with Salon Contemporary Art Collection, both in solo and group exhibitions. On the strength of the selection of his work by acclaimed critic, Vittorio Sgarbi, his work was exhibited at the 54th Venice Biennale , at the ‘Padiglione Italiano nel Mondo’ exhibition. In October 2011, he will participated in a group exhibition at the Museum for Applied Arts in Frankfurt [ www.angewandtekunst-frankfurt.de. ] The exhibition was entitled, ‘10th Triennial for Form and Content 2011 - Materials Revisited’.
‘Spire’-Sea Point Promenade, Cape Town, Lorenzo Nassimbeni, Indian ink on Hahnemühle paper, 60 x 36.5 cm [ 2011].
Mural at Neil Ellis Wines, Stellenbosch, Cape [ November 2010 ]
The mural is essentially a ‘site-section,’ showing the new winery building for Neil Ellis Wines in the context of its surrounding landscape. The mural depicts a distilled interpretation of the romantic process of winemaking. It is composed of three elements, which inter-relate to form an overall linear narrative. The mountain, representing the land or ‘terroir’ becomes the main facade of the new building, which itself is constructed of rammed earth. The building then points towards the bottled products displayed in a recessed enclave. The line is continued and becomes a site-specific vineyard, the source of the wine itself.
At a spatial level, the visitor is met at the entrance with an alluring representation of the mountain. The ‘vine-like’ line then leads them to the centre of the wine-tasting area, and directs them on to the entertainment area, which looks onto the vineyards beyond. In all, the mural is a directional device, which at the same time presents an iconic image, with which the renewed corporate identity of Neil Ellis Wines may be associated
Concrete relief mural : House Bergh, Newlands, Cape Town [ August 2011 ]
Architect Antonio Zaninovic [ www.antoniozaninovic.com ] approached me to conceptualize a mural which would both respond to and eventually form part of the overall composition of a house of his design. I had viewed and understood the architectural drawings for the building, after which I set the design process for the commissioned mural in motion, by visiting the building one day. I drew a site section of the house, understanding its relationship to the mountain behind and forest in front. The impressions and extrusions in the concrete mural tablet are derived from the geometry of the plan of the building, and reflect the fissures and folds of the mountain which forms the backdrop of the mural. Thus, the geometry of the building, and that of the contextual landscape are linked.
54th International Venice Biennale [ June 2011 ]
On the occasion of the opening of the Biennale di Venezia 2011 – ‘Padiglione Italia’, and in celebration of the 150th Anniversary of Italian Unification, Istituto Italiano di Cultura [IIC] [Pretoria] hosted a joint exhibition of the Italian-South African artists Severa Rech Cassarino, Marco Cianfanelli and Lorenzo Nassimbeni. The exhibition was opened at the Pretoria Art Museum, on Saturday 04 June 2011, and concluded 14 August 2011.
The exhibition formed part of a larger project initiated by the joint cooperation of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Italian Ministry of Cultural Activities and Heritage in realizing a project by the acclaimed critic, Vittorio Sgarbi. The project saw the selection of 219 artists of Italian origin, resident in the five continents, to exhibit their work at galleries via their respective Italian Institutes of Culture [ IIC’s ]. The various exhibitions hosted around the world by the 89 IIC’s converged in the form of a multimedia installation exhibited at the ‘Padiglione Italia’ on 4 June 2011, at the opening of the Venice Biennale. The opening of the joint exhibition in Pretoria formally acknowledged and celebrated the artists’ participation at the 54th International Venice Biennale.
10th Triennial for Form and Content: Materials Revisited - Museum for Applied Arts, Frankfurt. [ October 2011 ]
I participated in a group exhibition entitled, ’10th Triennial for Form and Content 2011-Materials Revisited’ [10 Triennal for Form und Inhalte] to be held at the Museum for Applied Arts Frankfurt [ Museum für Angewandte Kunst Frankfurt ]. In total, 100 designers and artists were invited to participate. Renowned fashion designer, Marianne Fassler [ www.mariannefassler.co.za ] and I made up the contingent representing South Africa, and Africa as a whole. The exhibition was beautifully curated. In the above image : wallcovering by Lorenzo Nassimbeni with sculpture work by Hwa Yoon Lee, felt design work by Mary-Anne Williams and fashion design work by Marianne Fassler.
To see the press release for this exhibition: http://www.angewandtekunst-frankfurt.de/mak_e/english/07_presse_011_triennale.html
Murals for CONECO building construction management, Zürich, Switzerland [ November 2011 ]
I was commissioned to design a series of 4 murals for the construction management firm, CONECO [ www.coneco.ch ] in Zürich, Switzerland. The brief was to depict the 4 most prolific buildings in the portfolio of the firm, and as such add to the interior of their office space. Another key objective of the project was to enhance the corporate identity of the firm via the iconic illustrations representing the buildings that CONECO have realized to date. The feature mural is positioned upon entrance to the office space. It depicts the building, ‘Prime Tower’, which is the tallest building in the Zürich cityscape. From large scale urban buildings, to residential dwellings and interior fit-outs, CONECO manages the full spectrum of possible construction projects. ‘Prime Tower’ was designed by renowned Zürich-based architecural practice, GIGON/GUYER [ http://www.gigon-guyer.ch ]
The 2nd mural in the series is inspired by a building designed by Zürich-based architecural practice, WERKHOF [ www.werkhof.ch ]. The building is a residential dwelling, sited in Sunnenhalden, Wildberg. A defining feature of the building is how it sits as a modern object in the snowy landscape, as represented by the diagonal line.