Erika Lancini: creativity knows no boundaries

March of 2014 signalled the beginning of a new and exciting life for the talented Erika Lancini, her husband Manuel, and their three daughters, Martina, Alexandra and Maya. After long discussions and reflections about what a future remaining in Italy would look like, they packed up their life in Brescia and moved to Melbourne; a move neither regrets.

“We wanted stability and a future for our girls,” Erika explains. “We want to give the kids more opportunities in life.” As Erika unpacks her experience of migration one thing is plainly clear; her family is the centre of her universe. Given recent economic challenges in Italy, the desire for a better quality of life and greater freedom, they took a risk; one which thankfully, has paid off.

Erika, an interior designer by trade, is settled and happy in Australia. “Life in Melbourne is full of rewards. We work hard and spend lots of energy, but Melbourne has lots of offer.” She is bubbly and positive, “It’s exciting and the girls are integrated now. Australia is such a multicultural country and living in Melbourne gives such an appreciation of other cultures.” Her experience over the past three years has taught her the importance of security and quality of life. “Things were becoming unsafe in Italy,” she states, but luckily her open mind and adaptive nature have helped her in this significant transition.

With their second youngest daughter, Alexandra, starting school this year, they are well and truly rooted in Melbourne. Erika gushes over her husband, Manuel, noting his incredible adaptability and how committed he is to their family. “We just balance each other so well, you know?” Speaking with Erika you get a real sense of partnership in her relationship with Manuel. She acknowledges the sacrifices he has made in helping raise the girls, and for the life they now lead in Australia. Their daughters have transitioned beautifully into their Australian lives, negotiating their now bilingual abilities with ease. Erika can’t believe how well the girls have been able to pick-up English given the complete saturation of English in their day-to-day lives.

Erika is a fascinating person. She describes herself as “creative” and “stubborn and determined.” The nature of her work lends her to think outside the box, and it shines through. It’s interesting to listen to Erika reflect on her character, “I am kind and soft, but also crazily passionate.” Likening herself to the opposing ‘sweet and sour,’ – dolce amaro– she understands that there are two sides to her personality. Erika says she is tender, kind and caring with her family at home, but allows herself to go crazy when designing in her studio on Gardenvale Road.

Refusing to adhere to trends of the moment and with no ‘distinct style’ of her own, Erika’s creative design work is all about the client’s needs. “Design is a journey, a new surprise. It’s a process that leads you to a new emotion. Design is not a copy process, it’s a creative process.” Erika notes the distinct differences between designing in Australia, as opposed to Italy. “It’s not as easy here in Australia, it’s a far more conservative context. Design is simple materials of daily life used in a new context; that’s where the beauty comes from.”

The next few years will certainly keep Erika on her toes, with a growing family and thriving business to keep her busy. Thankfully, this incredible woman’s determination, passion and creativity will ensure it’s an exciting and colourful journey.