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Meet Houston Artist Nicola Parente's Biggest Fan

A Houston collaboration with Big Ass Fans encourages design lovers to think of the ceiling (and the humble ceiling fan) as a new space for art.

By Amber Tong March 20, 2017

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Artist Nicola Parente in the Big Ass Solutions Houston showroom beneath his "Pelagico," design for the Haiku Home Artisan Collection.

It's never too early to start thinking about summer in the Bayou City. If you're trying to give your air conditioning a hand, check out Big Ass Fans’ artisan collection. It features visual work by Houston-based artist Nicola Parente, which proves that cooling machines can be beautiful, too.

As the name implies, the company started out by selling enormous, efficient fans for use in large spaces, like warehouses and the occasional industrial-style restaurant. But the company's Haiku series has set a high bar for eco-friendly fans that are as beautiful as they are efficient. That focus on gorgeous aesthetics has been taken one step further with the artisan collection, a series of collaborations with artists bent on making the ceiling as much as a haven as a room's other four walls.

Parente’s Haiku design boasts bold splashes of blue, green and yellow in different shades, a re-interpretation of his famous Pelagico series meaning “one with water." As for each artisan design, the fan's three white airfoils (don’t call them blades) were first hand-painted, then meticulously replicated and reproduced. The price tag for this functional piece of art? $2,495.

“The thought of having a piece of artwork—because people’s walls get filled up, especially if they are art collectors—the idea of having a piece of artwork that is part of the room’s architecture gives the person who’s buying it a little more satisfaction in knowing that there’s something original also hanging from the ceiling,” says Parente, an Italian-born artist who has been active in Houston for the past 20 years. “I loved the concept of Haiku Home being so innovative in the sense of really wanting to work with artists and letting them actually do something so original directly on the fan versus just doing a print of some sort.”

The collection includes a total of eight designs by five artists. Though the company is based in the South and has sold fans around the globe, Houstonians have the unique option to touch, see and hear the fans in the only Big Ass Fans showroom in the United States, which opened last year in Spring Branch.

“Houston has been the best market for Haiku Fans,” says corporate communications manager Scott Sloan. “It’s got an incredible design community of interior designers and architects—it’s just been a really good fit for us.” 

On April 21, the showroom is hosting an Big Art Fan event, where clients and art lovers will have the opportunity to meet Parente and view some of his artwork as well as his fans between drinks and appetizers. 

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The Big Ass Solutions showroom in Houston.

Image: Amber Tong

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