"I am very visual; I need to see everything in front of me,” explains Maria-Elena Fieguth of her sun-kissed home. As a savant of words and creative direction, her abode reflects a dynamic lifestyle flitting between multiple outlets.
“Something that’s quite obvious in my space is that it has different energies and it looks completely different five times a day,” says Fieguth. “I have moved a lot, and so home is where I throw my carpets. It’s my instruments and art, photographs and books, and my son that transform my home.”
Fieguth was raised in the film industry, spending her school holidays on film sets and at her father’s workshop where she learned to become industrious. She went on to study makeup, art and prosthetics before working at Grandiflora Potts Point, and painting for the late Martin Sharp, a time in her journey she cherishes.
“I have adopted many creative mediums, in life and professionally. I have a unique skill set and I now work mainly as a creative consultant and coordinator on special projects with brands and artists. Writing and music have always been outlets for me; I like to play country music and I pen a pretty mean love letter.”
Her latest project is Buongiorno, a brand steeped in sarcasm selling t-shirts and accessories emblazoned with the Italian greeting and a portion of all sales going towards mental health charity, Black Dog Institute.
“Buongiorno is about being down and out and finding beauty, taking each day as a new beginning,” explains Fieguth. “I created it as an outlet and parody of life’s nonsense during a tumultuous chapter.”
“I became really passionate about mental health awareness and at the time used Buongiorno to divert my attention away from my own hardships. I never expected it to grow into the business it is today.”
Fieguth has bold ambitions for Buongiorno, hoping to one day take the humble brand into a worldwide operation with heart, while maintaining its unique character and subtle pastiche of life.
“I dream to build Buongiorno into a global charity project; I dream to give every child in the world who wakes up without breakfast a bowl of porridge. And, I hope to just keep posting memes and selling tees and other cool stuff until I can do that, or something as equally joyful and ambitious.”
While working on Buongiorno alongside other projects, Fieguth’s creative process is a combination of visual elements coupled with the tranquillity of stillness. She says she is “most creative” when the world is quiet, preferably in the evenings when her son is asleep. In order to stimulate her process, her abode is peppered with motifs often sparking creativity.
“Everyone’s spent more time at home than ever before. For me, it was about having things around me that made me feel inspired. I have a lot of instruments, and I do have a lot of books; I like to be able to pick up a book, read a page and throw it back down.”
It is clear from the shelves of her home, Fieguth is a bibliophile, which she explains may be due to having grown up with a vast library of books from her equally well-read mother. She is attracted to authors who convey a dark, subtle and honest humour through their work, similar to the same humour she shares on her Buongiorno Instagram page.
“One of the first books that I ever read was by Vladimir Nabokov – Lolita, of course. I was probably way too young to read such work and I don’t know what it is, but I like quite dark work.”
“I’m a huge fan of Charles Bukowski; there’s something about the rawness of his works that I’m attracted to. My mother used to read me Edgar Allan Poe when I was really little too.”
Ultimately for Fieguth, her space is a reflection of how she connects with the world and her work. A space that is constantly evolving, shapeshifting from the intricacies of daily routine to a bustling workspace. Incorporating elements of life, through energy and music, alongside cultivating an inherent warmth encouraging people to feel welcome is of most importance.
“In the morning, my house is where we eat and then I send my son to school and it’s where I work. It becomes this completely different place where I’ve got shit everywhere – Buongiorno stuff, and my other jobs – and then all of a sudden once he’s home, I clean up and prepare for dinner. My home is constantly morphing.”
“When people come into my home, it’s nice when they feel like they can sink into my couch and put their feet up, or make a cup of tea and leave the spoon out. My door is always open; there is always music playing and I always have flowers.”