Photography by Emily Howe

Today at LES, we delve into all things design and development with Amalia Graziani. Based in New York, Graziani has left her touch on projects in the Hamptons, Hudson Valley, San Francisco, and Manhattan- and this is only the beginning. Her most recent venture, Callisto, is a farm in Hudson Valley where she blends her passion for hospitality, agriculture, and design.  Read on for our talk with Amalia:

1. Tell us a little bit about your background and how you came to the world of real estate development design?

I came into real estate development and design accidentally, which seems to frequently be the case in this field. I was fortunate enough to observe a handful of talented, seasoned experts in this space, and was drawn to the ability to bring something creative to life that is tangible, long-lasting and can be experienced by many people. 

2. What made you get into developing? Do you see a lot of overlap between developing and design?

I studied philosophy and was certain I’d ultimately become a philosophy professor. I loved design and had experience renovating, but I had to see developers in action to understand that this was the right path for me. 

Yes. A developer touches all aspects of design–it’s very creative work. From initial vision through bringing a project to life, developers are right in it. Personally I oversee the architectural process and design/select finishes and furnishings, but some developers create teams for this. There’s a big design component, but  this work requires that you bifurcate your brain a bit, as you’re also  responsible for budget, securing financing and ensuring teams work together and that a project performs well once complete. You’re leading the vision but are also elbows-deep in accounting and project management. It’s frenetic but addictive.


Dark Coastal Cup Set


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Roman Taper Candles


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 Photography by Steph Mossey

3. What goes into the ideal space? How do you think about scale and dimension combined with location?

A space’s story begins with the land, surroundings and exterior architecture. It’s important to me to create structures that tell a cohesive story. I love to build on properties with land for this reason. The flowers, trees, light or shade surrounding a structure are closely tied to the interiors. 


4. What are some of the biggest challenges you find in your developing and design projects? 

This work is a puzzle. I’m driven to create the most beauty possible within the constraints of the space, and produce a well-performing asset that’s also functional and liveable. Balancing beautiful, high quality design with functional and financial considerations is the tension point in every decision. I think working with these constraints leads to more creativity.

Photography by Alice Gao

5. Do you consider yourself more of a maximalist or minimalist? How do you strike that balance?

Definitely more minimalist. I aim to create spaces that are both serene and warm. My brain is a busy place, and I find ease and calm in spaces that feel inviting but a bit restrained.

6. Let’s talk about your most recent project, Callisto, how did this idea to blend development and design with the culinary world artist

Callisto is definitely a dream project. It’s a regenerative farm and gathering space in the Hudson Valley that bridges hospitality, culinary and residential development.

We grow no-spray produce, have a young orchard and raise goats and chickens, so it felt natural to create culinary programming here. Last year we collaborated with incredible chefs to create dining experiences where guests can experience the land, local produce and a meal prepared over open fire. Because the dinners aren’t a fixed offering, there’s an excitement to them

I love hospitality, and Callisto is my first foray into that space. The space is a canvas for a variety of activations, including private dinners, retreats and workshops.

Photography by Alice Gao


Textured Acorn Vessel

by Ashley Joseph Martin

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by Tania Whelan

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7.  Do you have a last step in "finishing" a project you are working on? 

This is the hardest piece for me! Typically someone in my life has to say “ok, it’s great, you’re done. Why are there more lamps in your car?”. If left unchecked I’d rearrange and restyle indefinitely. 

8. Tell us a little bit about your personal style ? Do you have any specific design philosophies that you look to?

When it comes to clothing, I opt for clean and unfussy pieces. I’m profoundly fussy when it comes to my work, with hundreds of tiny decisions taking place on a job site. When it comes to clothing, I prefer high quality core staples that work together with as little thinking as possible.

 Photography by Steph Mossey


810 Tray in Cherry Gold

by Anastasio Home

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by Robert Farber

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9. What are your favorite sources of inspiration?

Traveling and exploring old structures of various styles. I consistently call on structures  built hundreds of years ago when thinking through proportions, scale and details. Even when building something modern, the principles of scale used in classic architecture are still reference points.


Photography by Alice Gao

Ribbon Vase

by Nathalee Paolinelli

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Stills Heirloom Blanket in Boa & Ivory Stripe

by Blacksaw

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