donna piacenza

July 18, 2014

“Work traded with other designers and artists–those are my favorite possessions.”

Where was your favorite place to live?
My first little studio apartment was on the north side of Chicago—plenty of inspiration and design ideas to test. But Woodside, California, is definitely the prettiest place I’ve lived. My husband and I go each summer to bike up our favorite mountainous roads, take in the unforgettable scent of eucalyptus and hopefully spot a banana slug among the redwoods.

What one item do you wish you owned?
I wish I owned fewer items.

What are your interests outside of design?
Running, cycling, yoga. Starting (not necessarily finishing) projects at home. Experiencing everything for the first time with my two girls.

Who are you design icons?
Hella Jongerius, Alexander Calder, Nina Tolstrup, Scholten & Biajings.

What are your sources of inspiration?
Travel. Just being outside on a hike or run—letting thoughts go and ideas flow. Plus found objects and industrial remnants have always inspired my work.

What is your personal decorating style?
Minimalist mixed with a dose of vibrant color in a vintage setting. I’ve been accused of being a chromophobe (afraid of color) but I love color (bold, pure, fearless COLORS). I typically prefer a neutral space with a pop that makes you take notice of something really special.

What’s your favorite possession?
Photographs. Work traded with other designers/artists.

What do you drive?
A Jorg & Olif bicycle complete with milk crate is my preferred mode of transportation. It was a gift (or is it borrowed?), is way too big for me, weighs a ton—but it’s so charming and takes me back to vacationing in Amsterdam. There’s no other way I’d rather get around town.

What was/is your biggest indulgence?
Time to myself. And chocolate.

Do you have one low budget decorating tips?
Take away until you can’t take away anymore. Then put your favorite thing back. Also, use stencils or masked areas in unexpected colors/orientation to create a large impact on a limited budget. And a little industrial charm goes a long way.

What’s the best career advice you ever received? Ever gave?
I have a few favorites from friends and colleagues that I find myself passing along:
When you can no longer work for someone else, it’s time to open your own practice. -s.t.
Be careful what you’re good at. -c.k
You get the clients you deserve. -j.d.
Best I ever gave: Be patient and persistent (and fake it ‘til you make it).

To see all of Donna’s current works for CB2, go here.