How does a biopharmaceutical executive from Verona end up becoming Cincinnati’s sole purveyor of luxury Italian kitchens?
Good question. For Agostino Fede, owner and founder of NOLI, it went something like this: After retiring from corporate life, Fede moved to New York City, where he began, as he puts it, a sort of grand “rewiring.” The question, he says, was simple—if a bit belated at age 49. “What do I want to be when I grow up?”
With a knack for interiors and a background in laboratory design, kitchens felt like a natural fit. “It’s very analytical—very much for engineers like me,” Fede says. “A kitchen needs to be precise.”
The average homeowner probably doesn’t think of a kitchen as a lab. But at Fede’s showroom, located in a stylish corner storefront at Findlay Market, you can easily get where he’s coming from. NOLI’s particular style of kitchen is breathtaking in its minimalism. Clean lines, sleek materials, and modern sensibility abound. The appliances, if you can spot them, are typically tucked away, recessed into the cabinetry. Most of the cabinets don’t even have handles—at least not that you can see.
“It comes, I think, from the DNA and the history of Italy,” Fede says. “It’s really about timelessness. We have a lot of masters, a lot of architects who have worked out the timeless component, which is actually taking features away. It’s a subtraction. We’re trying to eliminate all the visual noise we can.”
Combined, NOLI’s Italian fabricators—which include high-end brands like MAISTRI, Olivieri, and Edoné—have more than 200 years of experience doing this kind of work. “Those relationships are very deeply built,” Fede says. “And the same with our installers and with stone fabrication and installation. We get the best. Our advantage is the ability to execute—so when we get customers to come into the showroom, they see what they get.”
The goal, Fede says, is to make each NOLI kitchen a setting for people and experiences. Minimal distractions and minimal clutter mean more time to gather and enjoy company and cuisine. “We’re just the canvas,” he says. “And then you can layer it with people, with food, experience, flavor, sounds. We’re just basically a background that needs to be functional, and typically quieting and pleasing. And then we layer it with experiences.”
Noli Modern Italian Living, 100 W. Elder St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 331-1548