Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani, Bulgari’s executive director of product creation, born in Naples and raised in Rome, is a man of many talents. A healthy obsession with the look and function of luxury items means that nothing more than a passing conversation with him is likely to be complemented by spontaneous visual embellishment, as he gestures broadly with a pen on paper while he speaks. Indeed, his sketches of watches, jewelry, cars and more spice up his Instagram feed (where, above all, he calls himself an “industrial designer”) and are constant companions wherever he goes.
Now in his early 50s, Stigliani began his career at the Fiat Style Center in Turin, and he joined Bulgari in 2001. One of his first assignments at the Italian luxury house at the time was to design a strap for Gérald Genta Octo complications. His most recent assignment was to design the Octo Finissimo Skeleton 8 Days, but earlier this year two 10th anniversary editions were released with dials designed to mimic his own sketches. And since 2014, the Octo Finissimo has set eight world records including the Ultra which, when released in March 2022, was the thinnest watch in the world at 1.8mm thick. (It was recently eclipsed by Richard Mille’s 1.75mm Ferrari RM UP-01, which debuted in July.)
Records aside, Stigliani also wins plenty of accolades for his sartorial flair, remarkable even by Italian standards, proving his eye for personal design is carefully polished from wrist to toe.
What do you collect and why?
I have a collection of pens. In the past, I used a lot of fountain pens because I was obsessed with the color of the ink. The ink is Iroshizuku, produced by Pilot in Japan and is absolutely amazing in terms of gradients and shades.
What have you done recently for the first time?
I was flying in Japan over Europe, and it’s not possible to cross Russian skies, so my plane had to fly over the North Pole. The sky was beautiful as you can see all the icebergs and all the snow. Honestly, we spent two hours with our faces out the window.
What apps do you use the most?
Outlook, WhatsApp and Instagram. I get so many messages on Instagram saying things like “We love the Octo [Finissimo]or “I would love to have this watch, which is a limited edition, which is completely sold out. “Honestly, I try to answer everyone, but wow.
What do you wear most often in your wardrobe?
The common blue blazer that every gentleman wears, and I often wear jeans and loafers. Most of the time, my jackets are made by my tailor, Giuseppe Carbone, in Rome. The last pair [of loafers] I bought from Barrett, an Italian company in Parma. And for denim, which is a little obsession, I even had shoes and three suits made. I used to wear very stiff and heavy jeans, often from Japan or Europe. I wear Lee, for example, and I have a lot of Levi’s.
What is the most impressive dish you cook?
I cook mostly for kids, but I’m not too bad at all’Amatriciana and dishes in Italy that we call calamarata. I would like to do a cacio and pepebut I’m still working on it.
How to find peace?
I love creating objects and imagining them in my head, so I’m lucky that my work is my real passion. But the only time the thoughts in my head stop is when I’m riding my motorcycle, because I have to fully concentrate on the road.
If you could learn one new skill, what would it be?
I would have liked to learn to play a musical instrument, like the piano or the guitar. I love music, but I’ve dedicated my life to drawing and learning to draw, and unfortunately I never took the time to really learn how to play.
What does success look like to you?
I never thought about it, because if you think about your successes, you focus on the past. You have to build on success.
Who is your reseller and what does he supply you with?
Honestly, I have so many pens, but the newest one I’m very fond of because a very good friend of mine, who is a journalist, gave it to me as a gift because it’s not possible to buy it. It is a ballpoint pen made by Dyson. It’s amazing because it’s made of aluminum and has a really impressive finish and detail.
How much do you trust your instincts?
It’s part of my DNA, my way of thinking. One of my bosses said to me: “Fabrizio, you are unique because you are instinctive, but you are able to manage things with your brain.” It must be a good mix because otherwise you are an artist, not an industrial designer. If you are pragmatic without any emotion, you are more like an engineer, so the designer is a bit in the middle of an artist and an engineer.
When was the last time you completely unplugged?
For holidays this summer in Sardinia and Capri. Ninety-nine percent of the time is when I’m in southern Italy.
What is your email etiquette?
I am not a slave to my email. I prefer to have a phone call.
Which car are you most attached to?
I am more attached to coachbuilders than to brands, because after the Second World War Italian coachbuilders produced amazing works of art. [Luigi] Gino Macaluso, the former owner of Girard-Perregaux, said: “The car in the automotive industry is one of the most important expressions of art of the last century.” I completely agree with him because Carrozzeria Touring, Pininfarina or even Bertone and Italdesign are doing an incredible job. I am also very attached to the cars of Franco Scaglione and Sergio Scaglietti.
What was your last streaming binge?
I love Pixar movies. I love the obsession with details, textures and light. The last one I saw was Light year. And I looked To go up on Netflix with my son Julio because he’s obsessed with basketball.
What music makes you happy?
I like jazz, instrumental music and Italian music from the 60s, 70s and 80s, like the songs played by Mina. But above all I listen to a little jazz and bossa nova, because my father was in love with it.