An award-winning architect, housewares designer, and professor, Felicia Ferrone is the definition of a jack-of-all-trades. Born and raised in Chicago, she graduated from Miami University, Ohio, and then moved to Milan, where she worked under some of the city’s most prominent design luminaries, including Antonio Citterio and Piero Lissoni. It was there that she first began to develop her own unique style. Ferrone describes the experience of living in the Italian city as one where she “began to realize how the different disciplines of architecture and design overlap, how the roles of commerce and design history are intertwined, and how the artistic process and the final outcome must be in balance. Milan taught me how to see and be inspired.”
It’s this global attitude that has led Ferrone to become one of the visionaries of the design community, as well as the director of graduate studies in industrial design and a clinical associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Never one to settle on a single career path, she has also created a thriving glassware and furniture business. “I try to give my creations both qualities of form and function without insisting that one overshadows the other,” she says. “I also make pieces that live in the present. While we see a lot of design referencing past eras or riffing on particular vintage details, I try to keep my focus on the form as an expression of today and the future.”
This desire to serve up function but also make that object aesthetically pleasing is what first drew Ferrone to designing housewares. “I long to capture and inspire these special social moments where friends come together to celebrate, and do so with extraordinary pieces to enhance the experience.” No collection from her tremendous body of work showcases this more incisively than her May line. Designed around her favorite month, it reflects a time when the season transitions from spring to summer, and longer days mean more gatherings around good food and drinks.