Lifestyle icons: Anvil Motorcycles

Published: 02 August 2018

Road to Biarritz: a trip made of motorcycles, surf and lifestyle

Interview with Alessandro Phonz Fontanesi and Marco Filios aka The Anvils

The first thing you notice when you enter Anvil Motorcycles's HQ in Milan is the passion for whatever has a story to tell. A love for objects with that kind of allure that only time could gift. Their lifestyle perfectly matches with the mood of the city surrounding them, a glamorous one. But you can also trace a genuine love for "engines" which is inborn in people coming from Emilia Romagna, a region known as the Italian Motor Valley which is the birthplace of almost all Italian famous riders. Alessandro Phonz Fontanesi and San Marco Filios, the founders, decided to use the metaphor of an anvil transfixed by an arrow in their logo because it symbolizes their identity made of opposites. Light and dynamic as an arrow plus solid and tough like an anvil. 

Sembra che la formula per restare giovani sia stata inventata. E no, non è a base di una ferrea dieta, tecniche di fitness innovative o ritrovati farmaceutici costosissimi. È tutta nella nostra testa. Più ancora che nella testa: è nel cuore.

Anvil began like a motorcycle customization project which used spare parts from the 1970s-1980s. It's was a laboratory aimed to instill a "classic" vibe and a specific lifestyle to modern motorcycles and cars. Along the way the Anvils were also transfixed by the simplicity and primitivism of flat track. Next to Pakelo the Anvils in fact took part to one of the most glamorous flat track races in Europe called "El Rollo" which takes place during Wheels & Waves annual festival in Biarritz. Wheels and Waves is a famous venue combining surf, design, flat track ovals and lifestyle. The wanderlust is at the backbone of it all. A new kind of nomadism whose basic assumption is glamping with friends.

E proprio a fianco di Pakelo, gli Anvils hanno vissuto il brivido di una delle gare più intense e divertenti del panorama europeo: “El Rollo”, la flat track race che viene disputata a Biarritz, nel corso del leggendario Wheels and Waves, l’appuntamento di riferimento per chi ama moto speciali, tavole da surf, design e ovali di terra battuta per flat track. Alla base di tutto c'è sempre lei, la wanderlust. Essere nomadi e all'occasione fare glamping con gli amici. 

Marco and Phonz, how would you define your work?

Phonz: We define ourselves as designers in love with engines. Whatever we do has a strong lifestyle appeal.

You are long-time friends, when was your motorcycle customization project born?

Phonz: We attended the same High School in Parma, later on we both continued our studies in Milan. Only after we were 20 years old we understood that we could actually do something great and stylish together. And that "something" we called it Anvil, which is basically our way to see the world and motorcycles.

You were born in the Italian Motor Valley. Which memories do you have from your childhood?

Marco: Well, my first memory about motorcycles goes back to when I was 2 years old. My grandpa gifted me a small red electric Vespa. Whenever I received it I went down the stairs and broke it! Immediately!

Phonz: In the 1970s my father was a motocross rider. A true rebel. When I was a child, at my grandparent's home, I used to see my father's racing pictures hanging on the walls. That was my first indirect approach with motorcycling. 

Phonz: I miei ricordi più vividi sono legati a mio padre, che negli anni ‘70 era un pilota di motocross. Un vero ribelle. Quando ero piccolo, a casa dei nonni, amavo andare nella sua vecchia cameretta, e osservare le foto delle sue gare appese alle pareti…

You really look more like brothers than friends. Do you get along well together?

Phonz: Yes, on the outside we look pretty much similar, but indeed we are different like day and night. And this is one of our strong points because it lets us solve problems very fast. Despite of our differences we get along pretty well together.

What's the essence of your philosophy? How would you describe your customization projects?

Marco: Basically we are seekers. We chase stories, passions, inspirations... we like to re-imagine the past in a modern perspective. This is how our ideas actually come from.

Phonz: For us something has "style" if it possesses a legacy, functionality and uniqueness. For this reason we might say that we implant classic vibes in modern objects, giving them that warmth they lacked before.

Your work seems to go beyond the simple customization embracing whatever you can define lifestyle.

Marco: You got it. We like to convey a way of living, a way of seeing life, a style. Today being a rider is no more associated with a "rebellious" way of life. We take a lot from the fashion world which is a continuous source of inspiration. Anvils also signed many co-branding projects in fashion.

What's the most funny moment you experienced in your work?

Marco: Well, we were taking part to a tv customization context and we had to find out a motorcycle in no time to transform it into a special bike. In a couple of hours we found out this sidecar coming from Moldova.. with bullets on the bodywork! In this a kind of work you never get bored of! Phonz, do you remember when my bike caught on fire?

Phonz: Sure, it was my fault!

How did you start with flat track?

Phonz: We started like true pioneers would have done it. Without the right motorcycles, trying to drift on an open field!

What do you have in common with Pakelo?

Phonz: Values, to start. We both use raw materials which might seem "simple", but which allow us to create something unique in the end.

Marco: This affinity brought us to start a trip with Pakelo. A road that would brought us to Biarritz, to race in "El Rollo" flat track competition. 

What makes "El Rollo" so exciting?

Phonz: It's the "coolest" flat track race in Europe. We really could not miss that!

To discover more about The Anvils click here.

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