Transparent and free
Rotterdam, NL; Milan, IT

Openfabric is a young Landscape Architecture and Urban Design practice based in Rotterdam and Milan, founded in 2011 by Francesco Garofalo. The office operates, responding to the large variety of possibilities that the intersection of city, society and nature creates, our projects cover several fields of action, ranging from urban installations through public space design, to large landscape strategic plans.

Meeting by chance

There were a few competitions that we had won, proving crucial to the start-up phase of the office; namely one in Italy (Genova) another one in China (Shenzhen) and another in the Netherlands (The Hague). The three principals (Francesco Garofalo, Jacopo Gennari Feslikenian, Matteo Motti) of the office didn't have a common background and met by chance.


Scrutinising the way of practice

Openfabric's story witnesses a rather rare business model, especially during the first years of the company. Although we strongly believe that relying on open competitions in order to create an economically sustainable professional reality is unrealistic and therefore strongly discouraged, it is the way that Openfabric took its first steps. By winning in a few key contexts, the office created its own portfolio and that minimum turnover was useful to begin a process of growth.


Adapting to remote habits

Our daily/weekly routine is rather typical with a marked difference between deadline and non-deadline weeks. Openfabric has traditionally worked with staff based in the Netherlands and Italy, and such peculiarity is further enhanced by the current Covid-19 remote working new habit. Therefore, what is pretty peculiar of our routine is indeed the broad geographical distribution of the office members.


Transparency and informality

We don't believe in office spaces that look like showrooms, designed and organised in order to meet the expectations of possible clients. We believe in informality as a key part of the design process which is usually rather contradictory and non-linear, before reaching to the final outcome. Office hierarchy is constituted by three leading members, amongst which one is the founder, joined by a highly diversified international staff.


The office as an instrument

Openfabric is not what we 'ended up to do' but is an instrument to approach what we would like to do. We don't put limits to the scope of the company but, given a common interest in open spaces (inclusive of social and natural dynamics), we are able to investigate highly diverse projects and fields of action.


Safeguarding freedom

We don't see research as apart from realising projects, and we don't see a speculative attitude apart from a real engagement with clients. Openfabric’s challenge is to maintain and protect this freedom, that doesn't limit our work to a specific pre-packaged so-called philosophy, but moves freely following our research lines and interests.

OF  1 Francesco Garofalo
Photo by Roberto Gennari Feslikenian

JGF Openfabric BN small Francesco Garofalo
Photo by Jacopo Gennari Feslikenian

12.FG Francesco Garofalo
Photo by Francesco Garofalo

01 IntoTheForest Openfabric JGF Francesco GarofaloPhoto by Jacopo Gennari Feslikenian

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