Meet the Designer: Daniela Fantini

Inspired by Lake Orta, Fantini maintains a balances and thoughtful outlook.
Daniela Fantini

Photograph by Santi Caleca

Leonardo da Vinci’s declaration that “water is the driving force of all nature” could be adapted as a motto for the firm led by Daniela Fantini. Headquartered on a bucolic Italian lake–its factory is linked to its own waterside boutique hotel–the company creates and manufactures cutting-edge bath fixtures. It also supports humanitarian water projects. “Lake Orta is the ‘genius loci’ of Fantini, a great inspiration for our work,” Daniela explains. “We are surrounded by the rhythm of the lake which allows us to be more balanced and thoughtful.”

In her 20s, Daniela, then a law student, joined the business which her father and uncle had established in 1946. Sharing their “great passion” for perfection, high quality and social responsibility, she worked her way up from procedural tasks to management, expanding Fantini’s commitment to innovation and sustainability.

In addition, she launched a plan to work with different international designers for a wide range of products and collections. Learning that clean water was scarce in the Masango region of Burundi in Central Africa, Daniela promoted construction of an aqueduct and neighborhood wells through its “100 Fontane: Fantini for Africa” project.

Profits from the firm’s iconic Balocchi line help fund the project which now provides freshwater access to 30,000 people. With a fondness for cooking and gardening, Daniela resides with her mother and sister in Pella, the small lakeside village where her home, the factory, the hotel and the harbor are harmoniously integrated through gardens and the green environment.

Casa Fantini Lake Orta Italy

Serene Lake Orta is Fantini’s setting and inspiration.

What do you consider the cornerstones of Fantini’s philosophy of sustainability?

Safeguarding the consumer’s health and using energy-saving techniques in the product and production process.

Why are your manufacturing methods so important?

The production process must always be up to date using the most advanced technology. We work on the product and the production process at the same time.

What are the essential characteristics of a well-designed faucet?

Function is a prerequisite, but there is no magic formula. For us, it must have something special and innovative both from the formal and aesthetic points of view. And a visual balance too.

Fantini Icona Classic Washbasin Mixer

The Icona Classic nickel faucet.

You produce the AboutWater collection in partnership with the distinguished Italian kitchen and bath firm Boffi. What is it like to work together?

We have a lot in common, sharing ideals, ideas, aims, and attitudes, and it has been natural to join in a partnership based on the concept of creating faucets and shower systems with a modern and elegant design.

What lessons are gained from hotel clients at the Casa Fantini?

I learned that taking time for yourself is a common need. The possibility to do it in a beautiful place, surrounded by an amazing natural landscape with the slow rhythm of the lake is even more joyful.

What is meant by “lake time?”

It’s the slow pace that the mystical aura of the lake and the silence suggest.

Modern White Sink And Tub

A Casa Fantini guest bath in a signature sleek modern design.

Why was it meaningful to sponsor the “100 Fontane” project creating over 100 local wells in Burundi?

Children had been missing school to walk two hours a day to fetch water. Now it is within 10 minutes of every neighborhood. The issue of water is really connected to what Fantini does, our main theme.

Do you prefer flat or sparkling water?

I usually drink plain water, but I also like sparkling.

What is your favorite water sport?

I love swimming—in our lake or by the sea.

And I have to ask your thoughts on director’s Guillermo del Toro’s film “The Shape of Water?”

A poetic movie about the magic of water and the beauty of any form which is connected to water itself.

The print version of this article appears with the headline: Meet the Designer.
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