The Fasano family's restaurants, bars and hotels are the hotspots of Brazil.
Rogerio Fasano is the head of a family passionate about fine dining and luxurious living, whose restaurants, bars and hotels are Brazil's hotspots.
In the Brazilian cities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the name Fasano is a byword for sophisticated dining, elegant surroundings and South American cool. Fasano-branded restaurants, cafes, bars and hotels are renowned for their charm, buzzing atmosphere and beautiful people. These are the venues for fashionable gatherings and stylish parties. In terms of profile, this is a mini-empire that rivals the Paris cafes of the Costes brothers and the iconic American hotels of Andre Balazs.
Behind the brand is a family steeped in gastronomic history that began when Vittorio Fasano arrived in São Paulo from Milan in 1902 and opened Brasserie Paulista. It was Vittorio's great grandson, Fabrizio, who understood São Paulo's increasing taste for fine food and luxurious dining and invited the fourth generation of Fasanos, Rogerio, to enter the family business.
Now at the head of the company, Rogerio Fasano is a pioneer who, in the last ten years, has expanded his family's operations exponentially and moved into the realm of hotels. Indeed, it was the 2003 opening of the Fasano hotel in São Paulo's upmarket Jardins neighborhood that launched his name into the international arena. Designed by Isay Weinfeld and Marcio Kogan, the boutique-sized hotel is distinctly styled "in the spirit of the '30s and '40s," with a modern Brazilian edge. It won numerous accolades and is often touted as a favorite hotel by travel aficionados.
Rogerio's most recent project was the late 2007 opening of the Fasano Hotel in Rio de Janeiro, which instantly updated the city's tired hotel scene. This time designed in collaboration with Philippe Starck, the hotel shares the same retro-Brazilian aesthetic and resonates with atmosphere from the ground floor lobby to the rooftop swimming pool. Rogerio's intimate understanding of luxury is demonstrated in exquisite details – he handpicked some of the furniture – and discreet service.
As the Fasano family finalizes plans to expand out of Brazil, Rogerio Fasano shares with LuxuryCulture his thoughts on travel, Brazilian style and the best restaurants in the world.
Rogerio Fasano's definition of luxury?
I don't think there is only one way to define luxury. It depends on each individual's vision of the world. For me it is paying attention to the smallest details.
If luxury were...
My grandfather's old cashmere.
To be kissed by my son.
Your father began the Fasano empire of restaurants. How has your family's original vision influenced you?
It was my great grandfather who started the business, his lifestyle and of all that followed him is still my greatest influence.
What makes for an outstanding hotel or restaurant that achieves fashionable, cult-like status as yours have?
Lots of hard work. People can see me there working and paying attention to everything every night.
The sophisticated styling of your projects is a signature. How important is design to you?
More important than design itself, the right design for the right place is the key to everything. The right mix is what gives a unique character to a place like a restaurant or a hotel.
You have worked with Isay Weinfeld and Philippe Starck. Which other designers would you like to work with?
If I could I would have worked with Mr. Philip Johnson. Nowadays I would like to work with Mr. Tadao Ando.
Your most recent project is the Fasano Hotel in Rio de Janeiro. Do you approach your projects in São Paulo and Rio from different angles? How do the cities differ?
They are totally different. Rio is an outdoor city, whereas São Paulo is indoors. That makes for totally different approaches, but with the same philosophy and attention to detail.
Do you have a favorite out of your extensive portfolio of restaurants and hotels?
If I said no, I would be lying, but I prefer not to say. The opening of the Fasano hotel in São Paulo was my greatest emotion.
Who is the typical Fasano guest and customer?
We don't have a typical guest, and that is the whole point. What makes a place special is to have a great mix of all kinds of people.
What inspires your new projects? Do you have any new venues in development?
The location is what inspires me more than everything else. I must love it in order to do something at a place. We are currently working on a small hotel to open in Punta del Este in Uruguay.
Music and dance are very important to Brazilians. How have you incorporated this into your projects?
For me, Bossa Nova is the best genre of music in the world, it is so simple and sophisticated. My places are more about Bossa Nova then about samba, for instance. In both my hotels we have jazz bars - Baretto and Londra.
Do you hope to expand out of Brazil into other countries?
I would love to. But I would never reproduce anything that is already done. Each project should try to understand the soul of the place where it is located. This is the best part of not being a chain hotel. We can change and adapt to each place as we please.
The trend in travel is towards servicing the absolute top of the market. How are you reacting to that?
Service for me should not be noticed, it must be understated. Over service is the opposite of this - it annoys you. It is difficult to get right but incredibly important to do so.
Who do you see as Brazil's most promising emerging talents?
In art Luciana Martins, Gerson Oliveira, Vic Muniz and Fabio Cardoso. In design, the Campana brothers.
My Favorite Places
Where do you go for your own vacations?
All over Italy, and Venice in the winter.
What are you favorite restaurants?
Da Fiore in Venice for its amazing food, J Sheeky in London for the fish, Four Seasons in New York for its beautiful room, La Tour d'Argent in Paris for Mr. Claude Terrelle (the most charming restaurateur ever, who unfortunately is not with us anymore), Quinze Gabrielle in Rome, Harry´s Bar in Venice, Wiltons in London and L'Ami Louis in Paris for chicken and fries.
Which other hotels and restaurant groups do you admire?
The Ivy and J. Sheeky restaurants in London. All the Aman resorts are great. And you can´t go wrong with Four Seasons hotels. I also admire a lot what Giuseppe Cipriani has done with the Cipriani restaurants.
What are you favorite hotels?
Splendido in Portofino for the view, the Conaught in London, Edgerton House in London, Toriba in Campos Do Jordão, Brazil, because it reminds me of my youth, the Algonquin in NY for the Oak Room and its lobby.