Fabien Cappello (France, 1984) is a furniture and product designer. He studied at the University of Art and Design (ECAL) in Lausanne, Switzerland, and in 2009 obtained a Master’s degree in Design Products at the Royal College of Art of London under the tutelage of Martino Gamper and Jurgen Bey. Based in Mexico City from 2015 to 2020 he has now radicated to Guadalajara, Jalisco. Through his active design work but also through his published investigations on Mexican material culture, his design studio has become an influential reference for international contemporary design. His work is part of major international Museum’s permanent collections such as the SFMOMA in San Francisco California, The Denver Museum of Contemporary Art in Colorado, and the National Centre for the Arts (CNAP) in Paris, France.
His body of work makes the design strategies of Fabien Cappello tangible: “My work is trying to propose a non-aspirational aesthetic, that relates to a new order of values” Cappello states. “It means using elements of vernacular culture, and material that are overlooked or little considered, but that are relevant solutions. It’s never about mimicking but about trying to make durable and culturally significant objects and places for people”.
The design studio he runs has been commissioned by Mexican clients such as the Material Art Fair or the Lago Algo Cultural Centre to develop temporary and permanent but also by international brands such as HEM with whom he collaborated on developing mass consumer products and accessories for the home. His work is also represented in Mexico by Ago Project, a design gallery and agency with whom he developed many of his major interior design projects and privately commissioned furniture.
In 2021, he launched a concept brand called -Objetos de hojalata para el hogar- (Tin goods for the home) utilizing a network of tin makers in downtown Guadalajara to produce re-designed common objects such as watering cans, buckets, and vases to generate additional economical incomes for makers that have a technique that appears completely overlooked by the industry today but still feel really relevant to our needs. “I find the scale of the hojalata industry really valid. A simple artifact is connected to huge systems that produce it. A simple watering can have implications on how we understand a defined trade but also can lead to question the role that manufacturing plays in the development of an area, of a city, of its identity” he says. The brand’s goods launched in Jasper Morrison Shop in London, UK, and are now retailed in Japan, Taiwan, Australia, the USA, etc.