Here, we ask designers to take a selfie and give us an inside look at their life.
Occupation: Interior, furniture, and textile designer.
Hometown: Los Angeles.
Studio location: West Hollywood, CA.
Describe what you make: Fashion-forward luxury design essentials.
The most important thing you’ve designed to date: My namesake furniture collection. It was the first body of work I produced for myself with total creative freedom, after 15 years of client requests for custom furniture through my interior design practice. My debut line came out in 2014, and was inspired by my mother, who is a jewelry designer based in Milan. The designs of my first pieces played on the art of jewelry making, which I learned to appreciate from her. Being in complete control of my creative process was a rebirth for me as a designer, and it has influenced the way I approach my interior design work ever since. I found my true voice through making furniture.
Describe the problem your work solves: From the start, my collection has been an exploration in materiality as much as it is focused on creating new forms. I believe in the power of touch and feel, and how certain materials can enhance a sense of calm in your home. The upholstery fabrics we create through the textile arm of my practice complement the sculptural feel of many of our pieces. For my latest collection, NB Essential, which was designed during lockdown last year, I became even more focused on the idea of home as haven, which is why the collection has so many upholstered pieces. There’s really nothing more comforting than curling into a plush sofa that has been designed to hug your body. I’m always thinking about how fabrics feel against the body, as well as functionality, durability, and ease of cleaning within a luxury design context.
Describe the project you are working on now: NB Essential is my latest furniture collection. I believe every collection is an evolution from the last one. But in another way, NB Essential was a departure for me creatively. Since I started my line in 2014, many of my inspirations have come through the wanderlust of travel. But in the midst of a pandemic, when I found myself stuck at home, I began to rediscover Los Angeles through fresh eyes… My own home and the Southern California lifestyle became my muse. The more I looked inward, the more I discovered a vast ocean of inspirations all around me. NB Essential is a love letter to L.A. and is some of the most personal work I’ve done to date.
In the midst of a new world unfolding, the design process for my furniture collection became a clean slate, and with that came a newfound freedom to move in a different direction, to evolve with the moment. I love sophisticated refinement and a touch of glam in my work, but with this collection the energy of the moment pulled me to create pieces that are a little more relaxed, comfortable, casual. Pieces in my last collections often found themselves in formal living rooms and dining rooms, whereas these pieces feel at home in more intimate spaces like your den, breakfast room, and bedroom.
A new or forthcoming project we should know about: NB Essential is rolling out through the country now and through fall. We have some of the best showroom partners in the country that I’m honored to partner with on representation. Following this release, I’ll be launching the NB Essential textile line that will complement the furniture pieces. It’s a devoted line of new textiles that are all about fabrics that make you feel good. I’m most excited about a super soft indoor/outdoor performance velvet that I’ve been developing and tweaking with our mill for months.
What you absolutely must have in your studio: Music and laughter.
What you do when you’re not working: Flamenco.
Sources of creative envy: Azzedine Alaïa. My visit to his atelier a couple of years ago inspired the launch of my first textile collection. His ability to take something like lace that’s traditionally perceived as delicate and reenvision it as something bold and strong is what I strive to do with the textiles I create. I love the tension between fragility and strength.
The distraction you want to eliminate: Useless self-doubt.
Concrete or marble? My time in Milan and as a child has left a lasting impression on me in how I design. I love how marble is used so freely in Italian design, in all colors, and in all parts of life, from the streets, statues, and in furniture. I love to work with marble as an essential material, rather than looking at it as a luxury material.
High-rise or townhouse? Growing up in L.A. and even now, we live in a house culture, which is why I fantasize about living in a townhouse. I associate townhomes with urban settings where one really feels a part of the city. I love the idea of being able to walk right outside your door and be in the mix. In L.A., we’re all living on our own islands in a way.
Remember or forget? It’s always an exercise of remembering important things and trying to forget things that don’t matter as much.
Aliens or ghosts? Ghosts.
Dark or light? Lightness is very important to me in my home and in my studio. For me personally, darkness stunts my creative process. L.A. light has its own characteristic, which serves as a filter in all that I put out in the world.