Cecilia Bordarampe, Highland Park LA
Words by Elisha Kennedy
Images by Carissa Gallo
The personal space of a designer is often analogous to their work. In the home of Cecilia Bordarampe, things are pared-back and considered, and just like the products she designs, the focus here is on the honesty of raw materials. Her brand displays a reverence for leather bags and objects that know simply how "to be" - the conjugation of which she has named her label, Are Studio. In your own words, tell us about what you do.
I design leather bags and accessories. Until very recently, I also had a small clothing line complementary to the bags, but I've decided to simplify life a little and focus on bag design, which honestly has felt very liberating. What is it about the material of leather that appeals to you?
It holds memory and evolves. I tend to be quite nostalgic about things and I love the idea of carrying something with you daily that takes on wear and experiences alongside you. I tend to mostly use a naked finished leather that is not meant to stay stagnant in appearance. It's a material that develops a patina and no one bag is ever going to be exactly the same, simply based on personal routines, habits and mannerisms.
I tend to be quite nostalgic about things and I love the idea of carrying something with you daily that takes on wear and experiences alongside you.
What are you currently working on?
I’m designing a few new pieces for the next collection and playing around with smaller shapes. There’s always a curiosity I have to be able to transform a piece into something else with the addition or subtraction of a detail. On the flip side, having something only ever be one type of thing has equal weight for me, conceptually, so I try to have a mixed representation of design complexity in my collections.
Can you tell us about some of the objects in your home that bring you joy?
A pair of identical cylindrical off-white granite bookends - they seem to converse nicely with one another, no matter the orientation. Two white porcelain vases found on a recent trip to Paris - one exists in a way the other can never be / a hexagon shape vs. one with sensuous curves and asymmetry. My bed and the light in my bedroom - it's a space within my home that has the best light all day long / the room and the bed inside of it feel like a cozy haven-like sort of place and I miss it when I'm away.
What are some of the things you love about where you live?
I live not far from a busy street, but the second you step foot inside the house, it’s easy to forget about all the commotion. There are equal parts good hiking and food nearby. My garden has, at times, been like a farm and orchard – there’s always something to harvest.
Can you share with us a bit about what your childhood was like?
I grew up around a lot of art and music and was one of those kids that always had a class to go to; ballet, cello, print making, etc. Being exposed to so many options made it easy to figure out what felt like a right fit. My parent’s house was, and still is, decked out in antiques and textiles from around the world. It was hard to appreciate it all as a child, so it wasn’t until high school that I starting taking real notice of things around the home and wanting to investigate textile and fibre processes/techniques more.
IN BED linen bedding featured in Cecilia's home
My parent’s house was, and still is, decked out in antiques and textiles from around the world. It was hard to appreciate it all as a child, so it wasn’t until high school that I starting taking real notice of things around the home and wanting to investigate textile and fibre processes/techniques more.
More recently, I’ve started a routine of making tea for myself each morning. Right now it’s a combination of earl grey and milk in my favourite clear glass mug. I love sleeping in, more than anything, when I have the luxury, and I’ll enjoy my tea plus a good read to start the day.
Do you have a bedtime routine?
It’s pretty simple, but always involves washing my face; something that instantly feels like a reset. I try to stay away from screens right before bed, but can sometimes savour a good movie too. I like a bit of reading before falling asleep, since it can tire the eyes sometimes and make for really peaceful rest.
Can you share with us something you recently read/listened to/watched that stuck with you?
I recently saw a clip from a social protest film called Redes directed by Fred Zinnemann and Emilio Gómez Muriel from 1936 about exploited fishermen in Mexico. It’s a black and white short film, void of much dialogue, that has these great cinematic portrait moments with each of the men, highlighting the drama and effort in casting a net in the ocean and the physical coordination it takes to make a catch. It was incredibly mesmerising and moving.Tones of Grey: IN BED duvet set in Dove
What are you currently looking forward to?
I’m craving getting wrapped up and layered (as much as you physically can, being in Los Angeles) in some cooler months ahead. A purging of things around the house also feels likes it’s coming on, so I’ll stew in that for a while until the moment seizes.
See more from Cecilia here.