We’re back with a new guest tastemaker for some quick-fire questions and a mini-curation of some fab Chairish finds!

This week, we’re speaking with Nicole Ficano, design director of interiors at the New York-headquartered firm Workshop/APD. A dynamic studio, Workshop/APD works on interiors and exteriors for both residential and hospitality spaces. With a resume that includes working at Amy Lau Design and Birgit Klein Interiors, Nicole has developed an eye for sophisticated interiors.

Read on to hear about the intersection of interior and exterior elements and interdisciplinary perspectives in Workshop/APD’s work. Nicole also delves into her admiration for Alexander McQueen and her favorite pieces in her apartment.

Workshop/APD is known for having a multidisciplinary team. How does the intersection of so many different perspectives influence the firm’s interior design work?
Collaboration is at the heart of everything we do. Having both interior design and architecture teams collaborate from a project’s inception creates a holistic vision as opposed to competition between the two disciplines. We work together to determine hard palettes, room layout, functionality and more. We figure out how to bring that original, unified design intent into every aspect of a space—down to furniture, lighting, and even landscaping.

What is the most outstanding design element the firm has ever incorporated into a space?
In a recently-completed duplex on Central Park, we wanted to draw the leafy green park into the dining room. We hung a Studio Drift dandelion chandelier from a moss-filled architectural split in its ceiling. We then set a custom dining table with “fallen” gilded dandelions in its surface beneath it.

What is the coolest vintage piece in your home? What makes it the coolest?
I have a huge, antique apothecary cabinet from Italy that was handed down from my grandparents. It has so much character and history, including the original medicine plaques in Italian. I love the way it contrasts some of the other pieces in my apartment, like a Le Corbusier dining table and lounge.

Who is your ultimate style icon, and why?
Alexander McQueen is a huge inspiration. The label’s runway looks are unique but somehow still understated. There’s a structural, textural quality that’s compelling without being graphic or loud. The level of execution and craftsmanship is also impeccable. There’s an emphasis on modern design, but a tremendous respect for history and traditional technique.

What is the most memorable career moment the firm has had so far?
We like to think of design as a continuum. You are constantly learning from your last project and moving the work and the practice forward, so ideally that moment is always yet to come. That being said, Workshop/APD’s first monograph (from Rizzoli) will be out this September. That will be an incredible moment for all of us to celebrate the last 20-plus years of architecture and design at the firm through a huge range of projects.


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April 1, 2022

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