FERNANDO TELLS THE STORY OF HOW HE MET ROSSANA ORLANDI AND WHY THEY JUST CLICK
IGC - How did you and Rossana Orlandi first meet?
FM - The first time I met Rossana was after she had seen my work at LDF and asked me to come show in her gallery during Salone in 2015. I flew out to Milan, was introduced to Rossana, and it was like a movie moment for me. She had her trademark huge sunglasses on and she saw me, took off her sunglasses, and just said, “bravo!” That was my first introduction to her and it’s so appropriate because that’s how she truly is; she’s this character with so much flair and drama and a one-liner for every moment.
IGC - How did your relationship continue from there?
FM - After that showing Rossana asked to represent my work in Milan and Europe and of course I said yes right away. I was extremely honored. She’s discovered some of the greats and is something of an icon in European design so honestly just the fact that she was giving me the time of day was incredibly humbling. I don’t typically work with galleries. In fact I’m kind of known for advocating self-representation, but you don’t say no to Rossana Orlandi. And I’m glad I didn’t because that partnership has turned into a very real friendship.
IGC - Yeah you two have really grown into quite the dynamic duo. Why do you think you guys get along so well?
FM - I think we have a similar energy, meaning we both have A LOT of energy. She always tells me she loves how energized I am and I call her the Energizer bunny because she just never stops going. In that way we are kind of cut from the same clothe. Also, it’s impossible to have a bad time with Ro. She makes everything fun, is always teasing people, even strangers, and is truly down for anything. I’m really lucky she’s taken to me. We’re also both big advocates for climate change reform so we connect on that level as well. In fact, my media company, FMS Presents, has collaborated with Rossana to promote her Guiltless Plastic campaign through content on YouTube and Instagram.
IGC - Why did you ask Rossana to be a part of In Good Company 3?
FM - Rossana is the Anna Wintour of design in Europe and even globally. She’s so influential and has made such an amazing career out of her taste, style, and ability to spot great innovative design amongst all the noise. I’ve been trying to get her to participate in In Good Company for years. Because she’s so busy basically ruling the design world all the time, it took a little while to get her here but I’m so glad it’s come together the way it has. The exhibition has finally fully arrived on the design scene in New York in a way that is worthy of her time and talents.
IGC - How has your relationship grown through the In Good Company collaboration?
FM - It’s grown immensely. We’ve always been friendly, but there’s a certain relationship between a gallerist and designer that is unique; it’s akin to that of a mentor and mentee. Rossana is definitely and will always remain a mentor to me, but working together on In Good Company has elevated us into collaborators, into partners. There’s a mutual respect for each other when it comes to taste, work ethic, and a shared genuine interest in fostering the design community. That bond over a true desire to want to give back is what has made our relationship even stronger and is why we work together so well. Our mutual goal is the same and it’s strong on both sides.
IGC - Can we expect any more FM/S x Ro collabs in the future?
FM - I’ll work with Rossana as long as she’ll put up with me so yes hopefully you’ll see more of our teamwork in the future.
IGC - Any funny anecdotes you can share with us?
FM - Well when I picked Rossana up from the airport she’d brought three suitcases and a carry-on for only four days in NY. I think one is entirely shoes.