304 Hudson Street  FL 3   New York, NY   10013   |   212.431.4242
Monica Missio
How did your early exposure to Italy influence your work?
Italian culture played an important role in my creative formation. From my early years in Rome, I cultivated an unshakable aesthetic sense. I learned to appreciate the nuances and the details in everything that surrounded me, from the way people interacted with one another to the smell of Jasmine flowers that permeated the air in my grandparents’ neighborhood in Rome.

How do you express that today?
To this day, I still find inspiration from the same kinds of everyday discoveries.

How did your year in Florence open new possibiities for you?
In addition to giving me a deeper understanding of painting from a historical perspective, it was the daily life of Florence. As a young adult I experienced my own connection to Italy, separate from what I had known through my family as a child. I discovered a personal meaning in the indistinguishable boundary between art, craft, design, and architecture. Living in Florence was synonymous to living in style. It spilled over and woke up every sense.
And then what happened?
There was a growing desire to expand the creative process and have it relate to other creative disciplines as well as to life in general.

When did you discover you had an innate sense of design?
I remember as a teenager redesigning my entire bedroom as a "mod pad" for friends to hang out in and also creating a pretty groovy closet storage system to keep things in order. Eventually my creative focus turned to fine arts and painting.

Where do we see the influence of Venice in your designs?
CX Design embraces a Far East serenity and Western European elegance culminating in Venice; coming full circle. Elegant Moorish motifs add a touch of worldly allure and regal sophistication to our Scavo and Cristallo collection.

Why did you design your first line in Scavo?
Maybe because my sister is an archeologist! Translated from Italian “scavo” means “excavated.” The glass has a subtly weathered finish achieved by an ancient technique handed down from generation to generation of Murano glass blowers. After the glass is blown, but still hot, it is quickly dipped into a mixture of minerals, ash, and fine sand. Because each step is done by hand, no two pieces are exactly alike. Scavo glass is very flattering when illuminated.

How has your collection evolved?
CX Design has consistently produced appealing lighting for a wide range of interior applications. Over time my designs have evolved from rustic, warm elegance to minimally cool classics and continue to move between the two - redefining what is contemporary. The collection is the culmination of a work in progress - constantly refining and evolving.

You say your designs are at the same time contemporary and classic. How can this be?
I don’t strive for "cutting edge" or design "cleverness" or overt "designy-ness" or even masculine "bravado." I try to be original but not trying to re-invent the wheel.

Your designs are so warm. Why is this so?
Design should reveal something human. The slight 'imperfections' that are evident in the hand craft process of glass blowing coupled with small scaled manufacturing are not only accounted for in the design process but are expected and desired.

How can I tell if a piece is hand-blown?
Hand-blown glass is a fluid medium. Subtle variations are to be expected; no two pieces are ever exactly alike. It is these distinguishing features that are your guarantee that the glass has been handcrafted.

How have you evolved as a designer?
My understanding of what people want and how the lighting is used and my own self-discovery as a designer has deepened over the years. This has produced a range of aesthetic directions that reflect my different creative periods as a designer. I'm still intrigued by colors, hues, and exotic shapes yet I have also developed an eye for luxury and refinement. The products are an expression of a very personal design perspective and will continue to evolve.

How do you work with the Italian glass blowers?
I find them a joy to work with because design and innovation seem to come so naturally. Even a new, complex idea is always understood. They value aesthetics and the creative process so highly, I couldn't dream of a better working relationship. One of the most satisfying aspects of the collaboration occurs during our annual visit to the Murano factory. A good deal of planning and dialog occurs and we send drawings in advance so that samples are ready when we arrive.

Traditionally, the Muranesi have had a reputation for being secretive and very difficult to work with. I’m very fortunate to work with the factory owner, a gifted maestro himself, who isn't weighed down by old Venetian folklore or dogma but is always open to new ideas and carefully explains the techniques involved and what can and cannot be achieved. We share mutual respect and he has made me feel like a member of his team, which, as an "outsider" I consider to be a great honor and a privilege.
Are you planning another collection?
Although I have no immediate plans for a new collection, I consider my design approach a work in progress and open to all possibilities. I am always evolving creatively and thinking about new products and new directions. I’m sure I will be introducing new products or even a whole new collection some time in the near future.
Are you planning to expand beyond lighting?
When I first started CX design, my product line included home accessories and furniture. However, I focused my creative passion on lighting design. Eventually, I would love to expand my repertoire to include other collections in areas such as textile and furniture design and explore and experiment with new materials.