Sitting down with Fabio and listening to his stories is like playing a highlight reel of any wanderlust’s adventures in your head. Only multiply it by one hundred. Honestly, we are just waiting for a Hollywood producer to capture his life as a coming-of-age film featuring a free-spirited, creative, no bullshit young man who stops at nothing when he wants something.
Friends, meet Fabio.
He claims it’s the South African in him–that people are raised with a spirit of entrepreneurialism and are encouraged to take risks. And that’s exactly what he did and continues to do on a daily basis, all for the sake of individual contentment. You may recognize Fabio from a number of places depending on how far back you date as a Lausanne local, and which establishments you frequent. We first met Fabio at our Christmas Cocktail Party where he graciously came behind the bar and worked it (and also taught us how to make a mean Old Fashioned). But his time behind a bar preceded our party by many years.
After years of traveling, learning various trades, and meeting people from all around the globe, Fabio decided to spend some extended time (we won’t use the word “settle” because that doesn’t seem to exist in his vocabulary) here in Lausanne. He ran into Alex (of Great Escape, Buzz, and The Lacustre) who gave him a job washing dishes in The Great Escape, where he would eventually rise in the ranks and become head chef. He bounced from job to job, just to keep afloat, but in his heart he felt a need for two things: to surf and to create.
Walking into his workshop you’re immediately greeted with the aromas of fresh-cut pine and coffee. Perhaps it because our own father is a carpenter, but the sight of sawdust and the scattering of tools, paired with the scent takes us home. It’s comforting. When asked where he learned how to build furniture, he casually recounts his teenage years of traveling to the coast to surf and meeting up with a friend at the half-way point. His friend’s brother built furniture and Fabio’s interest piqued. He watched, he analyzed, then gave it a go. And soon enough, his small tinkering became a full-fledged hobby. Fast forward to now, and he has some pretty impressive work displayed all throughout Lausanne.
So where can you find his work? Furniture at Caffe Bellini, Blackbird, Caftaya, Tramezzni, Pavillon, The Lacustre, (the soon to be newly re-opened) La Grappe d’Or, Bravo in Vevey, Lido San Domenico, and La Buvette Lugano are just a few. And his work for private clients is an art in itself–all bespoke, and all beautifully unique. Fabio sees the imperfections in a piece of wood and finds ways to highlight them–this is where art and nature collide, and Fabio has mastered this union perfectly.
And if custom-made bespoke furniture isn’t enough, Fabio is also a master of coffee. With roots in Good Life Coffee (he was one of the founders), he now has his own line of roasted coffee beans that he often partners with small businesses like coffee trucks (or coffee bicycles!) to bring top quality and delicious brews. He casually made us a flat white in his workshop and no over-exaggeration, it was one of the best coffees we’ve tasted.
Overall, we felt incredibly inspired by our chat with Fabio. His casual vibe paired with his appetite for adventure is extremely contagious. Thank you Fabio for giving us a peek into your workshop, and serving up a wicked Flat White. We cannot wait to see what else you’ll create, because let’s face it: a person like this doesn’t ever stop…and these are the kind of people breathing more life into our little town of Lausanne.