Arthur Arbesser, born in ’83, is what you call an all-round creative spirit. Viennese by birth and training, he has lived and worked in Milan for 12 years, but has spent long periods in London where he graduated from Central Saint Martins, the prestigious British university of the arts.
Eclectic and visionary, his activities range from fashion to furniture and theatre. “For a creative and curious mind, it is inevitable that the barriers between different artistic disciplines disappear and one goes in search of new horizons,” he says. “My constant dedication to prints in the fashion world naturally opened the door to applying these graphic visions to carpets, furnishing fabrics and laminated surfaces.”
In Milan, immediately after graduating, he worked for Giorgio Armani for seven years. In 2013 he presented his first clothing collection and in 2015 he succeeded Alexis Martial as creative director of Iceberg; since 2017 he has been creative director of Fay. In the same years he taught Fashion Design at Iuav in Venice and developed a rimless eyewear model for Silhouette. So much for his work in fashion.
In design, his work is colourful and with geometric references, he prefers linearity, formal rigour and ornaments that recall the architecture and art of his hometown, Art Nouveau, the Wiener Werkstätte, Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka, Koloman Moser and Otto Wagner.
His debut in the world of design came in 2022, when he proposed his first tablewear collection: tablecloths and textiles to dress the table, which took him back to his childhood memories when his mother, a pharmacist, took special care in mise en place, using lots of flowers, colours and fantasy.
That same year, he began collaborating with the Austrian high-end textile brand Wittmann, which, in turn, worked closely with the historic Italian brand Rubelli: Flowers was born, playful and floral, based on hand drawings by the creative, and this year is joined by the Icona Fabric Collection.
During Milan Design Week, Arbesser was the protagonist of two projects this year. The first with two collections of textile floor coverings created for the new Radici brand and presented at the Salone del Mobile.Milano: Tartan Doodles, inspired by the famous Scottish pattern but revisited in the form of ‘doodles’, and Sponge, a sort of black & white chessboard characterised by a sponged effect.
The second concerns the exhibition at Galleria Oxilia of a re-edition of the Pemo chair, presented by the designer last year at Triennale Milano together with Abet Laminati and re-proposed in stripes in nine colour variants. Only two examples are produced for each colour.
Also on the occasion of Design Week, Arbesser was chosen for Ten, an installation created by the Gubi brand and curated by Marco Sammicheli, curator for the design, fashion and craft sector at Triennale Milano and director of the Italian Design Museum, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Beetle, a chair designed by Gamfratesi: ten designers were called upon to reinterpret this project. Arbesser presented ‘Oca Chair‘, a tribute to the late master of Italian design, Enzo Mari. Arbesser transformed Beetle’s seat and backrest into the beak of a goose, while the base refers to Mari’s cement panettone scattered throughout Milan’s urban landscape.
Winner of Vogue Italia‘s ‘Who Is On Next’ competition in 2013 and nominated as a finalist for the Prix LVMH in 2015, the designer has always pursued another passion: that for the theatre, born in his university days when he and a friend would attend up to three shows a week. He has made costumes for ballet and opera for theatres such as the Wiener Staatsoper, Staatsoper Berlin, Bayerische Staatsoper (Munich) and Teatro Valli (Reggio Emilia).
In 2018, Arbesser was invited by the Vienna Philharmonic to design the costumes for the ballet interludes at the 2019 New Year’s Concert. Broadcast in 95 countries, it usually reaches 50 million viewers worldwide. Arbesser’s predecessors in this role include Vivienne Westwood and Valentino Garavani.