Ibiza interview: Rolf Finkelbeiner & Manuel Lopez, NOVUM


Photography by Ana Lui

Unless you’ve been living under the shadow of Es Vedra, you’ll know the biggest buzz in Ibiza right now is all about NOVUM. A testament to the creative vision of two of Ibiza’s most influential gents – the very humble and modest Rolf Finkelbeiner and the energetic and unstoppable Manuel Lopez. At first sight, they may seem an odd couple, but after just one hour in their company, we were bowled over with respect at their rapport, mutual admiration and above all, their amazing new concept, which will be unveiled on May 21…

When did you first come to Ibiza… and why?
Rolf: I came in 1995 to open a restaurant with some partners, which became El Pato. I wanted a change and the opportunity came up at the same time. I’d never been to Ibiza before, but I just had this feeling that I had to come.
Manuel: I arrived in 2000 and at the time I was managing an event in Privilege. I worked there for the next few summers and then I was offered the job as director of Privilege, where I have been for the last 5 years. Until now…

So how did you meet one another?
Manuel: Well, we didn’t know each other at all until November last year. We were mutual friends of El Pato’s chef Steven Sinnwell, who knew we both shared a vision – the exact same vision – for a concept restaurant and bar like NOVUM, so he suggested we meet up … and here we are doing it, six months later!

So it turned out to be a perfect match?
Rolf: It’s like this – when the right combination comes together, it just works. We are the perfect mix of the modern person’s needs and desires like internet, technology, networking, understanding of music and what people want combined with a vast knowledge of gastronomy, wines, liquors, the freshest produce and how to get it and of course, how to deliver it to the people. Manuel and I both saw the potential to create something really good, something really special. It’s all about timing and doing it with the right people.
Manuel: I’m a very big believer in teamwork, and together, we add up!

What skills does each of you bring to the NOVUM table?
Rolf: I have always had a passion for gastronomy. I love great food and have a passion for wines. I’ve always worked in hospitality and have run and owned restaurants in Germany before the 15 years I was with El Pato. Then finally, I was ready to do something new. You have to be very professional in what we do.
Manuel: I come from the club industry and I know and understand the marketing, the promotion and I’m also our connection to the music industry, which is very important in Ibiza and brings many visitors to the island.

What do you love most about living in Ibiza?
I love how multicultural the island is. There are people here from everywhere. I love cities, I love spending time in cities and because Ibiza is so multicultural, I don’t feel like I’m ever missing out on anything. There’s no real explanation as to why I came here or what I love most, it just has that ‘something special’ like nowhere else in the world.
Manuel: It’s the constantly changing market, the weather and also just being in a very creative place. There are all these people coming here from all corners of the world and I love the ever-changing faces of the nightlife in Ibiza. To me, there is nothing more boring than seeing the same things each and every day…