I’m Andrea Panico, a designer bridging the two worlds of industrial and jewelry design.
My design process is the same no matter what I am working on: I am inspired by the transformative power of architecture, the beauty in industrial buildings and objects, and the mechanics of things. I develop concepts each year around which my jewelry (or products – more on that later!) is thematically centered. I then sketch and prototype each design before creating technical CAD drawings for each piece. I create my designs with a keen eye toward production. While I love making jewelry, the industrial designer side of me wants to make sure I can create all the pieces with care AND efficiency!
I have my Master in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. I went back to graduate school as a “mature student,” having worked for almost eight years at an architecture firm before deciding to further my education. While I was at Pratt, I did a Furniture Design program at Danmarks Designskole in Copenhagen that instantly made me feel like I found my home. I fell in love with the simple, minimal approach to design and the ubiquitousness (is that a word?) of good design in Scandinavia.
After grad school I worked for retailer West Elm in Brooklyn. I was fortunate enough to be there during a growth period and was able to have a part in designing tabletop, hardware, bath accessories, lighting and furniture. While I was at West Elm, I had the chance to travel pretty extensively all over the world and spend time in every type of manufacturing facility you can imagine. I learned that even though you may not speak the same language as someone, you can still communicate with a good drawing.
I learned that even though you may not speak the same language as someone, you can still communicate with a good drawing.”
My next job was as Director of Product Design for Clodagh, a world-renowned interior designer who pioneered the ideas of wellness and design, incorporating natural materials and the idea of “life enhancing minimalism”. We created licensed collections of furniture, lighting, flooring, textiles and more – all in Clodagh’s signature aesthetic.
Around this time, a friend and former colleague in Bali asked me to create some jewelry designs for him. The request touched a nerve and created this coalescence of all of my prior experience. I found out I was truly excited to change the scale of my design work, to create products that were intimate and personal in a way furniture or dinnerware could not be. Interestingly, around the same time I gave birth to my daughter.
When I sat down to create that first collection, it was like I was channeling a crazy, minimalist spirit! While I loved the places I had worked, it was still about helping someone else create their vision. When it came time to be me, it wasn’t hard. I’m inherently simple, minimal and un-fussy. And as a new mom, I wanted to maintain my tomboy minimal style, but didn’t have the time to put together nice outfits. Unique accessories made it easier to feel instantly like “me”! I guess between the birth of my daughter and embarking on creating smaller things, I was thinking little – hence the name Pico (short for Piccolo, an Italian word that means small). Over the ten years I’ve been doing this, I’ve been fortunate enough to discover that there are quite a few of us out there – busy moms and dads trying to balance family, work, friends, exercise and fun. As a parent myself I know that life is complex and ugly at times, serene and beautiful at times. We’re all trying to build something great for ourselves and our families.
And it may be just a little detail, but a special piece of jewelry can create a pocket of happiness.
Want to see what we’re currently doing at Pico? Shop here.