Inside the Invite-Only, Most Jet-set Design Event in the World, Nomad
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Inside the Invite-Only, Most Jet-set Design Event in the World, Nomad

MILAN — The world’s most discerning art collectors will descend, once again, on Capri’s Marina Piccola and Marina Grande during the first week of July for the 14th edition of the Nomad Design Fair.

The invite-only itinerant art and design showcase takes over unexpected, glamorous locations and brings emerging and established galleries, as well as unique projects, together under one roof — think creations from New York’s Friedman Benda, David Gill Gallery from London, Nilufar Gallery from Milan, and Etage Projects from Copenhagen.

“It’s not a little group,” says Nomad cofounder Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte. “It is a massive yacht show basically happening in Marina Piccola and Marina Grande. You have like 100 of them. It’s crazy. From the U.S., from Qatar, all around the world. They’re all there that week.”

From July 4 to 7, Nomad will unfold in Dolce Vita-style at the oldest historical building on the island of Capri, Carthusian Certosa di San Giacomo. Perched on a verdant cliff, it was built in 1371 by Count Giacomo Arcucci, secretary to Queen Giovanna I, overlooking the azure blue of the Mediterranean and central square La Piazzetta.

Nomad art fair

Nomad Capri

Mattia Parodi, Piergiorgio Sorgetti and Federico Floriani

Nomad’s first edition took place in 2017 in Monaco at La Vigie, a villa renovated and occupied by the fashion legend Karl Lagerfeld in the ’80s and used during key moments for Monaco’s ruling family, including Charlotte Casiraghi’s wedding. For Nomad, three floors of the 6,458-square foot villa (plus terrace) were open to the public for the first time in 100 years.

The fair’s 2019 edition was held at the similarly stunning Palazzo Soranzo-Van Axel, a Gothic church constructed by the Soranzo family in 1473 on the southernmost tip of the Cannaregio quarter in Venice. Nomad Saint Moritz 2024 hosted guests at Hotel Eden, which boasts sweeping lake and mountain views. There, Ginori 1735 presented an exclusive collection remake from a Gio Ponti apprentice, complete with a party on the veranda of palatial chateau Badrutt’s Palace.

It’s events like these and the ultra-exclusive villas, hotels, mansions and palaces where the fair takes place that make Nomad what it is — intimate, cozy and private. Guests, including interior designer Chahan Minassian, founder of Chahan Gallery in Paris, say no summer is complete without Nomad Capri. “Nomad has captured the perfect time, the perfect attitude and way to greet their ever so interesting fans and followers,” Minassian says.

Nomad Capri photo

Nomad Capri

Mattia Parodi, Piergiorgio Sorgetti and Federico Floriani

⁠Bellavance-Lecompte, a design curator and architect who founded the Carwan Gallery in Beirut in 2011, stands as a significant figure in the global art and design scene, forging cross-cultural dialogue within the design community. Having curated more than 65 exhibitions across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, he has established collaborations with designers, companies, museums, and art centers.

Since Nomad’s inception, Bellavance-Lecompte and his cofounder Giorgio Pace, an avant-garde curator, have seen the fair resonate in the fashion world, while drawing chief executive officers from the sector’s biggest conglomerates. Gucci was one of the first luxury brands to catch on to the fair’s charm, and collaborated with Nomad for “Artists in Flux,” a project that unfolded in Milan and took place during last year’s Design Week in a private home designed by the late architect Luigi Caccia Dominioni.

“Artists in Flux” revolves around the notions of mobility and the exploration of contemporary vision and culture through a global lens.

Its second chapter pivoted around the dynamic New York creative scene, selecting multidisciplinary art collective CFGNY, comprising Tin Nguyenand, Daniel Chew, Kirsten Kilponen and Ten Izu; Design studio Objects of Common Interest, formed by Eleni Petaloti and Leonidas Trampoukis, and New York artist Rebecca Ness. The project first kicked off in Saint Moritz and later traveled to different locations, including Dubai in March, attracting between 70 and 80 collectors from the Dubai scene for a “very successful” day, Bellavance-Lecompte says.

“It was a one-day presentation in a beautiful villa in Dubai and we selected three artists — a preview in the morning and afternoon for collectors to discover the artists, a talk and roundtable conversation and then a cocktail and a dinner hosted by Gucci,” the Montreal native says, reminiscing about the pool and the intimate garden dinner that helped connect Gucci with an elite, diversified clientele.

“This combination worked very well, and we’d like to explore more of this in the future, maybe to go to destinations like Palm Beach or Aspen or different other destinations,” he says, noting more fashion brands have followed by hosting events surrounding Nomad.

Guests at Nomad Capri

Inside Nomad Capri

Mattia Parodi, Piergiorgio Sorgetti and Federico Floriani

The real estate crowd has gotten involved, too, seeking to capitalize on the potential for vacation homes. Sotheby’s International Real Estate Italy is one of this edition’s sponsors, and Nomad now has its own concierge service partners, too.

The fair is growing, with revenues lifted by the buoyancy of the collectable art and design market, says Bellavance-Lecompte.

“Collectible design has experienced huge growth in the past five years. Finally, the market arrived to a sort of maturity. In the past, art collectors did not even consider the idea of having a design collection. Now collecting design has become way more broad and important, especially in America,” says Bellavance-Lecompte.

guests at Nomad Capri

A cocktail event at Nomad Capri.

Mattia Parodi, Piergiorgio Sorgetti and Federico Floriani