Francesca & Cathrine

OBO Firenze is a place of inspiration.

“THE STRANGEST AND COOLEST SHOP IN FLORENCE” 

The idea of Francesca and Cathrine, the 2 designers of OBO studio, one Tuscan, one Norwegian who loves the place where they live, is a place that grows.

They produce limited editions, unique pieces, that change with the time, made by people that loves what they do.

 

// INSPIRATION :/// TIMELESS / Modern yet timeless elements designed to create a balanced atmosphere at your home. Explore our minimalist and pop approach on latin culture, where every detail has a particular function, a lifestyle summed up with the saying “less is enough”./ MEDITERRANEAN / Mediterranean is the feeling of our summer weekend away at the sea or in the countryside. Discover the sensation of freshness transmitted by pure materials such as sughero and porcelain that coexist harmoniously with minimal or contrasting colors./ NATURAL / Clean and bright spaces for cozy living. Rich fabrics, natural designs and textures, clear tonalities are the essentials of a lifestyle where nature life turns into extraordinary life./ ITALIAN / The sheer scope of Italian culture, combined with the mythology surrounding many of its most famous players, has created a world that often feels impossible to grasp from the outside. Now you can take it!/ SCANDINAVIAN / Hygge (/ˈhjuːgə/ HEW-gə or /ˈhuːgə/ HOO-gə) is a Danish and Norwegian word for a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment. We put Hygge in all of our products.

 

INTERVIEW with Francesca & Cathrine by Joanna

 

1. @ Cathrine ..you are orginally from Norway &  you have been living in Florence now for many years tell me a little about why you decided to settle here in the heart of Tuscany?

I majored in art history so as soon as I got my degree I had to go to Florence! The first time I came here by myself to live and breath this renaissance city that I had been reading so much about!I off course fell completely in love with the city and for a couple of years I went back and forward from Oslo..Then I decided to start the University and I came over I.S.I.A here in Florence and 5 years later I graduated in Industrial & Communication Design.  By that time I was in love and I studied with Francesca so we soon found out that we worked really great together !! 

2. @ Both What were you doing before you opened the store – concentrating on design consultancy ? How long have you been open now ? 10 years …

Yes we had some separated work experiences for a couple of years but then we decided to open OBOstudio together.
OBOstudio is an independent creative agency. When we started we immediately understood the importance of communicating internationally as well as locally for our clients. Working together we create a unique creative axis, the north and south together mixing our skills and cultures, changing each others way of thinking and it all reflects widely in our work.

3. @ Both What made you decide to launch your own collections and create this design studio/store?

After working 10 years with the studio helping clients we decided to give ourselves this gift.. to finally start producing our own peaces, and it has been an incredibly fun experience. We actually never decided that our products would be inspired by Florence and itss Arts and Traditions, it just became this way.. I guess it was a natural process when you LOVE the city of Florence as much as we both do!
The need to express our personal view on everything we see and love.. just designing 😉

4. @ Both.. Tell us about your inspiration for the collections in your store …. @ Cathrine you blend your own heritage in some way too ?

Generally everything is inspired by Florence or Tuscany but off course my heritage is important,  Infact every design passes through the hands of both of us so that is definetly why we have this completely “new view” on Florence and the Renaissance, Italian lifestyle, tradition and cultureOur products are all designed by us, made in Italy and inspired by Florence or Tuscany in some way, every single object has it’s own story to tell..
Exactly, we don’t look for inspiration, for us it is just an expressive need. The need to express our love for art, architecture, culture and nature of this amazing city we have decided to live in. It all comes from what you ask yourself what you see, what you feel.For example when I designed the illustrations that then later became The Boboli Blooming garden line, it was in 2008, at night, just thinking about the natural growing and blooming process of a flower..

5. @ Francesca.. Tell us about this area of *your original store Oltarno /Santo Spirito ..best haunts coffee restaurants historical sites…

Well we love this area because of it’s rich combinations. It is so green, thanks to Boboli and the Torrigiani Gardens, The Oltrarno area then have lots of bar’s and restaurant’s a little “bohemian like” quarter Santo Spirito and San Frediano. Local people everywhere and during work days there is nothing like having a coffee break walking around the piazza.  For lunch “gnudi” (it’s a kind of pasta) at Tamerò or “crostini toscani” at the i’Raddi . We actually recommend just to walk around  getting lost.. have an aperitivo at Volume – this bar is unique inside it has wood sculptures of an artisan and a very special view of the Santo Spirito Church.

 6. @ Francesca.. How would you describe what you have created here ?

I describe it as a bubble in which everything could happen! Also beyond the well known city of Florence. Somebody said once: “The strangest and coolest shop in Florence”… I really like this way of thinking about OBOfirenze.  Maybe “strange” because our products are not usual here, “cool” probably because of our hidden designs and storiesI don’t know really what people feel entering our shop, but if it is this, I really appreciate it!

7. @ Cathrine What’s been the reaction of the locals to your store ? 

The Locals have been a real challenge for us! It is very important to us that what we do is appreciated not only by foreigners passing by Florence but also by who’s is born in the middle of all of this, our biggest compliments are when we do something that is admired by locals as well.

8. @ Cathrine What has been the biggest challenge in creating the store ?

Italian burocracy 

9. @ Both What is your vision for your business here in FLorence…or Italy ?

One of our goal is to have a OBOfirenze store in every important piazza in Florence, then you never know, our concept is massive..
But our main goal is to expand our way of thinking and designing in all mayor cities of Italy..

10. @ Both What is your advice to others thinking on embarking on the same business ?

Be patient and work hard!
And the most important thing: enjoy! 😉