Lorenzo Nassimbeni

PHOTOS: Michelle le Grange and Dook | WORDS: Alma Viviers

Architect and fine artist Lorenzo Nassimbeni has ventured into the world of wallpapers and fabrics with his striking new designs.

Lorenzo Nassimbeni’s journey from architect to fine artist started with a physical journey. While completing his degree in architecture at the University of Cape Town, Lorenzo had the opportunity to study abroad at the Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia.

“That is where it really began,” Lorenzo recalls. “Being in a city and recording it through drawing became a way for me to understand and absorb my environment. From an architectural perspective, it also offered me a way to interface with the world of fine art.”

After eight months he returned with 15 sketchbooks filled with drawings, impressions, writings and photos. Many of the insights gained during this time became part of the way he practised architecture during his first years as a professional architect in Johannesburg. But the constraints and practicality of architecture left Lorenzo wanting another avenue for architectural expression.

Lorenzo began to explore other applications for his sketches, not only as fine art but also as a product – and wallpaper was a natural choice. He first used large-scale illustrations, which later evolved into the use of pattern.

The most recent body of work, Lovecity, was exhibited at the Salon91 Contemporary Art Collection Gallery earlier this year and some of the designs have been used for a fabric collection by Mavromac (as seen on the cushion and duvet cover on page 88).

Lorenzo sees his work in wallpaper and fabric design as an extension of his practise as an architect and artist and, in a sense, as the perfect medium through which to express his understanding of the relationship between the two.

• 073 462 4437, www.lorenzonassimbeni.com