Meet Emiliana Gonzalez and Jessie Young—the Uruguayan duo behind Estudio Persona, a Los Angeles based furniture and lighting design studio that brings female, Hispanic, minimalist design to life. In honor of Latinx Heritage Month, we spoke with Emiliana and Jessie about building a life and business in LA, Uruguayan design influence, and what motivates them to stay creative.
Shop Emiliana and Jessie’s favorites here.
Kinn: We love your work. Tell us more about how you met and later launched Estudio Persona.
Estudio Persona: Thank you! We met right after we moved to Los Angeles from Uruguay. We started working doing interiors, and a year into it, we started designing our first set of products. We absolutely loved the process of designing pieces and we clicked creatively in a way that we hadn’t while doing interiors. We designed a set of wood turned planters and later our first chair—the Nido chair, that caught the eye of a design show curator, and the rest is history.
Kinn: How do you incorporate your Latinx / Uruguayan heritage into your designs?
Estudio Persona: Uruguay is a very progressive country, first in legalizing marijuana, same sex marriage, abortion, women’s right to vote, etc.—but is also very melancholic. It’s heavily inhabited by Italian, Spanish, British, African, and French descendants. I think the strong and soft components of Uruguay, being socially bold in their political statements, but also very solemn, are reflected in our work. Our pieces are graphical and have a strong presence, but are also soft in tone.
Kinn: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced when you first arrived in Los Angeles?
Estudio Persona: Coming from a small country, where accessing providers and manufacturers is such an easy task, it was very difficult not knowing anyone in LA. It took us years to find the humans behind every piece we design. The long lasting, cherished relationships we now have with the best woodworker, upholsterer, and metal manufacturer were very challenging to build.
Kinn: Can you share how to keep each other creatively motivated?
Estudio Persona: There is a constant back and forth on each idea that makes us realize how lucky we are that we found each other. We think very differently and we are both strong headed women, so when we dissect an idea to the last crumb and manage to rebuild it again, the end result always feels pretty special.
Kinn: Do you have a favorite piece the two of you have created?
Estudio Persona: It’s hard to pick a single special piece—each one tells a different story of where we were at as a studio. Probably the O stool, the Bow lamp, or the UNA chair are the ones that resemble the ethos of our studio the most.
Kinn: Estudio Persona has such a beautiful meaning—the study of a person. What do you see as jewelry’s role in “estudio persona”?
Estudio Persona: The studio’s name is actually a play on words, but mainly it’s a hint at our love of cinema. We named the studio after Ingmar Bergman’s movie Persona. For us, jewelry is a synonym of heirlooms, of relationships, of functional elements. For that reason, we believe that conceptually there is such a strong bond between our furniture and your jewelry pieces.
Learn more about Estudio Persona here.