A series of fortuitous events led Felicia Ferrone on an incredible journey that crossed the globe and ultimately led to the creation of a design house that melds form with function. Handcrafted home décor items meet everyday utility in Felicia’s brainchild, fferrone. Unlike a pair of Louboutin shoes, you only wear every so often, fferrone’s luxury kitchen products are built for daily use.
A Chicago native, Felicia moved to Milan after graduating with a degree in architecture and immersed herself in the architectural world of Europe. Ever an artist, she routinely sketched objects or ideas that interested her, but never imagined design could be a career until she lived in Milan. It wasn’t until her last year in Europe that her collection solidified into a tangible and doable idea. Her passion for sketching and design was for so long only a hobby, but like everything Felicia does, she designed critically and with rigor.
Heading back to the States, Felicia worked in New York and Los Angeles before re-settling in Chicago. Like many things in her life, moving back to Chicago was a serendipitous decision that seemed to be preordained by the universe, as Chicago is a hub for high-end furniture manufacturers. Once back at home, Felicia quickly fell into step designing her collection and teaching at the Art Institute.
Focusing on kitchen and home decor, specifically glassware, accessories and furniture, Felicia and fferrone envision and create high-end, luxury, yet functional, furnishings. To achieve her desired high level of quality, Felicia collaborates with highly skilled artisans across the globe. Finding craftsmen to bring her sketches to life is “ridiculously seamless,” according to Felicia. She leaves the process up to the universe. “It’s like finding a good contractor. You call five, three respond, and one shows up,” says Felicia. The one that ends up showing up is usually a perfect match.
To Felicia, it is imperative that her fabricators have the vision and desire to embrace the challenge of utilizing unconventional materials and exploring form and material in a new and different light. Designed with usefulness in mind, fferrone collections are based upon the belief that nothing exists in a vacuum; everyday objects should co-exist with the environment.
Her architectural background allows Felicia to seamlessly integrate European and modern influences into timeless pieces that are both visually stunning and functional. This fluid and transformative style re-classifies her glassware and accessories into works of art. The simplistic elegance of her design is deceptively complex and adds whimsy and structure to any interior space.
Visual Dyslexia and Inspiration
Inspiration strikes Felicia at all moments and in countless ways. Reality and imagination combine in what Felicia describes as visual dyslexia. At first glance, an object will appear in one form, but upon further inspection, the object in question will re-appear as it was meant to be. Taking a cue from Felicia’s first impression, inspiration creates an object that once lived in Felicia’s boundless imagination.
Beyond her exceptional ability to re-define form, Felicia relies on her “gut,” an undefined instinctual epiphany, as a source of inspiration. Once she saw an ordinary 4×4 inch street grate, and a voice in head screamed, ”it’s a trivet, it’s a trivet!” She has the innate ability to erase the lines of the what is to create new rules, which translate into revolutionary works of what could be. More intentionally, Felicia looks for gaps in design and function. Asking herself “what hasn’t been explored,” she examines what assumptions we hold and tries to flip them to find a new spot in design theory and history. Hearing Felicia describe this process not only inspires you to find unexplored spots but also draws you closer to her designs.
Critically and With Rigor
Just as her work demonstrates her philosophy of interdependence in art forms, she sees herself as a part of the larger art community. Not limiting herself as a renowned artist and entrepreneur, she gives back to the art world through education and views teaching as her biggest contribution to the universe. Creating critical thinkers who look at problems thoughtfully and rigorously give her joy. She is the Director of Graduate Studies in Industrial Design and a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago and has been a lecturer at School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Incorporating fferrone’s collections into your kitchen adds style and a sense of originality, what Felicia hopes her line will be remembered for. Felicia’s pieces make the everyday elegant. Bring fferrone into your home today. Browse fferrone.