| Alischa Herrmann

An interview with Silvana Azzi Heras from House of Heras

This year, it has been an absolute privilege to work with the beautiful Silvana Azzi Heras from House of Heras on our 2020 Christmas Range, as well as our 2021 Planner & Calendar Collection.

I originally found Silvana’s beautiful work via her collaboration with Designer Rugs. Flicking through a copy of Country Style magazine some time ago, I was stopped in my tracks by this stunning rug with striking graphics, with beautiful Australian references, and the most beautiful colour palettes caught my eye. It was beautiful and lush, and unlike any Rug I had ever seen before. It was pure magic, and I was smitten.

Like all designers we have worked with, there was something magical about Silvana's work that spoke to me as soon as I saw that Rug. It was that moment that makes me stop, my heart does a little flutter, and I dont know how to explain it, but something sparkles within me that tells me, this, this is what Bespoke Letterpress needs. This artwork, this designer, all of this, this is it, this is what we must make. And so the start of a beautiful collaboration began, and what a lovely journey it has been!

Today I sat down with Silvana to chat over design, letterpress and Christmas and her amazing career, We hope you enjoy!

 

Tell us a little about yourself? Your family and where you live?
I was born in Lebanon and came to Australia with my family when I was 2. My parents had actually lived in Australia before I was born but returned to Lebanon before having to flee the country when the Civil War began.

Family is everything to me and I’ve been lucky to be able to blend being raised in Australia with exposure to the beauty of Lebanese culture, thanks to my own large family and the Lebanese diaspora that has made Australia home. Not many people realise that Lebanon is in fact a mediterranean country and before the war Beirut was a global centre of political discourse, intellectual endeavors and art, often referred to as the Paris of the Middle East.

No wonder I am obsessed with ornate Australiana in my work!!

I am a Mother of two beautiful, energetic children - Ines, 8 and Rafael, 5. With the constant support of my incredible Husband, Kim, I'm able to balance my career with quality family time. We live in a beautiful 1880's home in Sydney which has been the perfect backdrop for my House of Heras homewares and the many wonderful objects I've collected during my travels over the years.

Working from our Sydney home is sometimes a challenge for productivity, but as a Mum I do love being here for the kids. I feel very grateful that my professional and creative life is supported by my family. Apart from living in Sydney, we have had the privilege of living in New York several times but most recently as a family whilst I was working on Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby. Travel is very important to us and we try to impart this passion on to our children.

Have you always been a designer? How did you start into design?
I was drawn to the art and design worlds from a very young age - always drawing, painting and seeking out beauty. I completed a Bachelor of Design in Visual Communications and have had the privilege to work with many incredible creatives over my career that still continue to inspire me. My first design job was assisting Marcus Hay at Vogue Australia while I was still studying. I then started working at Bazmark in my final year of uni while I was working at David Jones in the mens shoe department! I've worked on most of Baz Luhrmann’s films and stage productions from Moulin Rouge to Gatsby to Strictly Ballroom the Musical taking on really diverse roles such as Assistant Costume Designer, Senior Designer of CM’s homewares range and Title Designer.


What did working on the Bespoke 2020 Christmas collection mean to you?
It was such a natural collaboration and was great seeing my designs through Alischa’s fresh eye. Bespoke Letterpress has always been the most beautiful stationery company in Australia. I am just thrilled with the outcome of the collaboration!

Why is letterpress important to you?

I have always been obsessed with letterpress, the finished product is so beautiful. The combination of heavyweight stock, gold foil and pressed art make it feel handmade, luxurious and so precious.

I feel in an age dominated by digital work, letterpress imbues the work with a feeling for the artist's hand - a touch of humanity that we are in need of these days.


Favourite product from the collection, why?
I have to say my most favourite piece is the pocket notebook but the ornament and the calendar are a close second.

What is your favourite Christmas tradition?
Picking the fresh Christmas tree and dressing it with the kids is what I most look forward to every year. We have special ornaments that are fast becoming family heirlooms.

What are you planning for your gift wrapping theme this Christmas?
I am super excited for wrapping presents this year! House of Heras x Bespoke gift wrapping all the way mixed in with the gift bags and ornaments from the range of course!

How do you plan on spending Christmas day this year?
Christmas Eve celebrations always start with a long dinner at the Azzi household with lots of food and dancing and music, Santa Claus makes an appearance straight after dinner and then Christmas morning mass followed by a fun and long lunch at the Heras household.

Any dream projects coming up?
I am currently working as the Design Consultant in the Costume Dept on Elvis, Baz Luhrmann’s movie which is being shot right now on the Gold Coast. I have a few projects coming up through House of Heras and various collaborations that I can’t say much about yet! Stay Tuned!

You can see more of Silvana's work and shop her lovely collection on her website here.

Photography credits
Silvana Portrait: Julie Adams for the Grace Tales
Bespoke Letterpress products: Abbie Melle

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