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Resurrecting Painting as Intoxicating Design

Idda Studio, founded by Gabriella Picone, breathes life into her paintings with wearable works of art and delicate yet outspoken housewares.
Idda Studio, founded by Gabriella Picone, breathes life into her paintings with wearable works of art and delicate yet outspoken housewares.

In a Sicilian dialect, “idda” means “her,” and it is a word New York based artist and designer Gabriella Picone encountered frequently while growing up on the Eolian islands outside of Sicily. Now Idda Studio, founded by Picone, celebrates the feminine in wearable works of art, delicate yet outspoken housewares, objects that sing of the Mediterranean, and environments made gregarious with characters in both tile and wallpaper. A painter at heart, having earned her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, Picone’s work at Idda Studio incorporates original paintings that summon life along the sea, with shells, fruit, and dream-like figures making frequent appearances. Her exploration of materials combines contemporary art with the act of storytelling, capturing our minds with dreams of far off lands and fixing our eyes on pleasing motifs that soothe and enchant.  

The Sicilian lifestyle often acts as the muse for Idda Studio, with dining and the art of coming together for food, conversation, and communion made more delightful with a dance of colors and symbols on delicately crafted plates and tablecloths. Intentionally imprecise, asymmetrical, and intoxicating, the patterns that grace her work tell stories of Sicilian mythology and make reference to its history in the decorative arts, with one design alluding to Eolo, the god of wind for which the Eolian Islands are named, and another giving a nod to traditional ceramic Sicilian heads. Produced in Italy as limited edition pieces, her textiles themselves are bewitching and versatile, worn as a scarf or a pareo – a sarong-like skirt worn by Sicilian women in the summer months – or used as upholstery and hung on the wall as works of art. Produced in Italy with ultra soft silk and cotton, these pieces are enduring and designed to enthrall, with colors that vibrate with delight and a feel that is at once luxurious and welcoming.     

With numerous commissions from interior designers, Idda Studio has begun crafting environments that summon a surreal wonder, whether with pillows decorated with female figures, wallpaper with abstract and floral motifs, or mirrors with painted ceramic frames that toy with our visual landscape in colorful and surprising ways. Her whimsical, one-of-a-kind ceramics also speak to this sense of fantasy and awe, with jovial pieces like Mista and Bonu appearing as coral with abstract forms that one may find under the sea, and Salacia, with figures and forms that one may encounter in a dream. In a sense, the designs of Idda Studio are a vehicle for making paintings come to life and have them live with us in our homes and on our bodies in more accessible and freeing ways. By reimagining the traditions and decorative arts of Sicily, and sharing with us the stories that inspire them, Idda Studio ignites with us a passion for the bucolic and the brilliant, captivating our consciousness with strength, imagination, and caprice.

January 2024