The Idda Studio founder’s urban abode is infused with Mediterranean touches.
Inside Artist Gabriella Picone’s Loft Apartment in New York City
The Idda Studio founder’s urban abode is infused with Mediterranean touches.
Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we’re celebrating innovators, artisans, and crafters of all types, taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this instalment, we tour artist Gabriella Picone of Idda Studio's loft home in New York City.
New York-based artist and designer Gabriella Picone always knew she wanted to be an artist. From an early age, she was an individual with a keen sense of observation and a strong desire to interpret the traditions and decorative arts of her Sicilian heritage. She graduated from The Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in painting before working in the art world at top galleries and museums like The Museum of Modern Art.
In 2019 she founded Idda Studio, an art and design studio specialising in textiles, paintings, and ceramics. 'Idda' means ‘her’ in Sicilian dialect and it’s a word she heard often growing up between New York City and Lipari – the Aeolian island off the coast of Sicily. "With Idda Studio, I wanted to bring the unique handmade quality of painting to functional objects for the home," she shares with Bed Threads Journal. Her creations are vibrant and playful, and pay a particular focus to the art of Sicilian dining and the female figure.
Like most apartments in New York City, Gabriella's loft space is small, yet the 14-foot ceilings and large windows make it feel spacious. She's lived in her home for eight years with her architect partner, and the pair have unsurprisingly transformed it into a creative and sophisticated hub.
This space serves as a canvas for not only her beautiful works but the works of other artists including Anna Weyant, Dolores Porras, and Maira Kalman. Art can be found in all corners of this home, even in the bathroom where Gabriella created a custom tile for the shower nook. "We have more artwork than we can fill on the walls so we are constantly rearranging," she shares.
The open-plan living and dining area is swathed in neutral tones that bring calmness to the space. "I also keep a very clean and organised space and that helps bring tranquillity into my home and life," Picone explains. In the loft bedroom, Terracotta and Limoncello linen nods to Picone's Meditteranean heritage and feeds warmth into the cosy space.
Her light-filled studio is also conveniently within the same building and boasts the same 14-foot ceilings as her apartment as well as a fireplace. "It is such an inspiring place to work with my team," she says.
We took a tour of Gabriella's art-filled home and spoke to her about her creative process, her advice for someone looking to pursue a similar line of work, and how she's styled her light-filled home.
Hi Gabriella! This series is called The Makers. What is it that you make?
I have a design studio called Idda Studio based in NYC and in Sicily where I make a range of textile designs and ceramic objects for interior spaces. I make pillows, tablecloths, napkins, mirrors, vessels, murals and also work on special creative projects. I am a painter at heart and the basis of all my designs is in painting. I love being able to bring my paintings to life with a multidisciplinary practice.
How does the act of “making” relate to your personality and who you are?
I grew up between NYC and Sicily and have always been “making” art and appreciated craft. My designs all start handmade and I value the act of creating an artwork. I grew up in a creative household, where my father was a chef and we cooked pasta from scratch and my mother was a textile designer and we made our own costumes. I have always carried those creative values and the act of making throughout my life and practice.
Tell us about your career journey to date. Did you always know you wanted to pursue this line of work?
Since a young age, I always knew I wanted to be an artist and after going to art school and studying painting, I worked in the art world at the top galleries and museums. I learned a lot about the business side of the industry but always felt the urge to start my own studio.
I launched Idda Studio in 2019 as a way to combine my fine art background with the design world. With Idda Studio, I wanted to bring the unique handmade quality of painting to functional objects for the home. Since starting Idda Studio, the work has expanded into many custom projects and collaborations with brands. I love the ability to work on a range of projects.
Talk us through your creative process. Where do you start?
Research and travel are the foundation of the practice. It is always important that the design has a story and purpose. When I start a specific project I will work with my team to research and then will work on a series of paintings and writings then depending on the project will translate those designs into the medium. I love the balance of intention and spontaneity in my process.
What’s been the single most crucial tool or strategy you’ve used to further your career?
Say “yes”. Opportunities will always lead to more opportunities, it’s important to diversify the practice (at least at the start of a new business).
What’s been the best thing that’s happened to you since you started your career?
The best part of Idda Studio is being able to work on collaborations. I have had the opportunity to work on projects with people and brands I’ve admired forever. I love the ability to collaborate with a fashion brand that can bring a new function to my work or a hotel brand that can bring my designs to life in a space. I value working and learning from brands that are experts in their relative fields.
Do you have a single piece of advice you’d give to your younger self or someone looking to pursue a similar line of work?
Follow your passion and put yourself out there. Ask for what you want, don't fear or get discouraged if you don’t get it right away, just ask again.
Now, the home stuff. How long have you lived in your home?
I have lived in my home for nearly 8 years with my husband.
How did you initially know this was the space for you?
NYC is notoriously difficult to find a living space so we were lucky that we found a unique lofted space in the East Village. Although it’s a small apartment, the 14-foot ceilings and central location make it very special. I also have a separate studio space in the building.
Did you do any renovations or make any big changes after moving in?
My husband is an architect and I do a lot of work with interior design so we renovated our space right after moving. First, we opened up our kitchen, to make it part of our living space and then we lowered part of our loft, where we sleep. Last year we finished a renovation of our bathroom and I made custom tiles and light fixtures for the space. We collect art (many from our friends) and I make interior objects so we have decorated our home in a special way.
What was the thought process behind the way you’ve styled the interior?
The decoration has been organic, a combination of artworks we have collected over the years from friends and travel and custom designs I have made for the space. We have more artwork than we can fill on the walls so we are constantly rearranging.
What are your favourite pieces in the home?
I have so many favourites! A vintage unique Gaetano Pesce resin vase, a vintage ceramic head vessel we brought back from Sicily, an illustration by Maira Kalman, a figurative handmade plate by Oaxacan artist Dolores Porras, a painting by Anna Weyant, a Jenny Blumenfield ceramic vessel, a secret custom tile I made for our shower nook.
Do you have any special décor pieces you’re looking to add?
I am always collecting new artworks and designs. Our apartment is quite full right now but we are currently renovating a weekend home in Long Island and can’t wait to add new pieces!
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Which is your favourite room in the house?
I love my studio, I have amazing light, a fireplace and 14-foot ceilings. It is such an inspiring place to work with my team.
What are your top tips for a well-styled bedroom, and home generally?
I love going to the flower market weekly and pulling together a selection of flowers and plants in season. It always brings me joy and inspiration to have colourful arrangements in my home. I also keep a very clean and organised space and that helps bring tranquillity into my home and life.
Do you have any projects coming up you want to talk about?
I am working on a print collaboration with a fashion brand, I am really excited to see my designs come to life on garments. I am also working on a special luxury hotel project in Sicily for next summer and can’t wait to see the designs come to life in the gorgeous space.